Most staffing firms and hiring managers use a variety of technical evaluations to determine which contractors are most qualified for a particular project or assignment.
But lately, many traditional assessment procedures have come under fire for being ineffective, biased or overly time-consuming.
For instance, Google has abandoned its notorious brain teasers in favor of behavioral questions to help identify the best and the brightest. Given the recent questions on the legality of pre-employment tests, savvy companies are increasingly foregoing whiteboard interviews because they don’t reflect how developers actually work.
What’s more, the current thought is that employers who assign a take-home assessment or project that takes longer than four hours, should pay candidates for their code.
How can staffing firms, MSPs and their clients measure the technical skills of tech contractors effectively, without bias, and most importantly, without turning them off? Here’s a look at some ways to improve the technical evaluation process.
Use the STAR Method of Interviewing
Above all, hiring managers want to know whether a contractor has the ability to apply their technical skills and knowledge in ways that solve problems or create value. They want to predict how a contractor will perform in the role, fit in with the team and deliver products and results that meet stakeholder expectations.
Asking questions using the STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, Result – is the best way to see how a contractor has utilized the required skills in the past, the role he or she played on a project team and what he accomplished.
Because situational questions encourage storytelling and elicit examples, they are a great way for recruiters and hiring managers to evaluate a contractor’s communication skills and ability to handle pressure, scope creep, unrealistic deadlines and other obstacles. Best of all, in most cases, a thorough assessment of the top three to four required skills can be completed in less than an hour.
Involve Subject Matter Experts
To balance the evaluation of technical skills and cultural fit when selecting contractors, consider engaging a global team of technical subject matter experts (SMEs) to interview and rate candidates.
Having peers and subject matter experts (SMEs) interview candidates for tech skills is critical, according to the National CIO Review.
That way, staffing recruiters can focus on evaluating soft skills such as communication, decision-making, collaboration, teamwork, time management, creativity and so forth.
Even better, letting a prospect “talk shop” with a bona fide expert in a particular technology or specialty, encourages knowledge sharing and provides a realistic preview of an assignment while ensuring that the contractor is the perfect match for the job.
Integrate e-Interviewing Into the Hiring Process
Integrating e-interviewing technology into the hiring process has made it possible to record a candidate’s answers to questions at their convenience, creating a positive experience.
Hiring managers can also view the interviews at their leisure, enjoying reduced time-to-hire, improved selection efficiency and consistency and greater access to high-quality candidates.
Moreover, utilizing new technology, such as biometric identification and authentication, also makes it possible to match and verify an applicant’s voice and identity during video interviews.
While in no way comprehensive, hopefully the ideas presented here can help you reduce the time you spend on technical evaluations, improve overall effectiveness, and help contractors become better in the process.