The Mismeasure of a Professional Candidate?

TLDR: The canonical advice we give job seekers in I.T. is to develop testing-coding skills despite the fact that there are limitations to such artificial tests.

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How should a prospective I.T. employee be assessed? Ostensibly CodeFights, Codebyte, Codility, Coderpad, Devskiller, HackerRank, LeetCode, TestDome, and other coding ability test websites can help job seekers with limited professional experience yet considerable skills and abilities can prove himself or herself. Others disagree on the basis that productivity is subjective and online testing platforms try to quantify skill. Some people think the answer cannot be determined. An older article entitled "Beware of HackerRank" (at had 723 likes. Clearly there are many people, with legitimate reasons, who do not think websites can accurately measure the value of a candidate for a position.

Candidates that recruiters find often appear to score better on HackerRank (according to this site). This could be due to the recruiters helping the candidates who come in late in the recruitment process and after initial candidates failed; to read more about this theory, see this site. Here is an article that views HackerRank favorable.

These types of skill assessment websites can help job seekers deal with the reality of potential employers quizzing candidates and preparing them for technical interviews, phone screens or web-based testing prior to a job offer. Job seekers with years of experience may find that true productivity cannot be tested via these simulations, but they may be powerless to getting hiring managers to agree. Taking sample tests without the pressure of an employer rejecting a candidate can give you an idea of what you may face in a future job search.

The movie Moneyball was about the idea of looking at statistics exclusively when evaluating potential players. The website facilitates anonymous candidates for potentially real jobs. Real businesses have started to use this technique for hiring I.T. professionals. We are thankful for technology that facilitates equal opportunity among candidates.

We do not think every coding ability evaluation website/platform is the same. We do not think every job is the same either. When taken to an extreme, credentialism and preoccupation with certificates and test scores tends to be counterproductive toward a company's recruitment, retention, and promotion practices for long-term profitability.

When we started writing this article the freelance platform still had skill tests. But later they abandoned them for various reasons. To read more about assessing candidates, see this discussion or this Quora question.

"The ability to solve algorithmic puzzles does not correlate very well with the ability to engineer software." (This previous quote was taken from a separate Quora question.) This next corroborating quote was taken from "…being just a competitive programmer will not help you if want to build real life software."

Employers know that code exams are artificial environments. As of February 2021, many big technology companies rely heavily on the performance of a coding exam. The candidate's performance in the coding exam will signal the prospective value and will often affect the job offer's worth.

After getting through several coding tests, a candidate was offered a total compensation package of $381,000 per year at Facebook. To learn about the details, see these postings:

If you want to read about organizational and business competence in general, you may be interested in reading Laurence Peter's The Peter Principle. If you want to read more about factors that inhibit an employees productivity, you may want to read a book called Disabling Professions by Ivan Illich and others. If you want to prepare for an interview for an I.T. position, click here for categories of various technologies or read the article How Do You Prepare for a Job Interview as a Software Engineer?. You may want to read this external article too.

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