As experienced technical recruiters that are certified in ability and personality tests, we have taken the predictability of different assessment types into consideration when designing our pre-qualification process. We wanted to build a pre-qualification process that would assess the most important factors for a candidate to succeed in a technical role, and that would offload a lot of work for the employer. The ultimate goal with our pre-qualification process is to take care of the most important assessments in advance, filter out the best candidates and give employers an opportunity to jump straight to final interviews with their favourites. 
 
So how are we achieving this? 
 

Assessing problem-solving skills through standard technical tests 

Today, our assessment or pre-qualification process consists of two steps. Step one is a technical test built on the concept of assessing cognitive abilities and problem-solving skills. We have used our developer community in combination with our network of advisors and CTO’s to design the set of technical tests that we are currently using. When selecting the type of tests, we have focused on tests that resemble real-life problems that software engineers will face on the job. We wanted to avoid the hardcore computer-science related tasks that software engineers get faced with daily during their studies. 
 
When going through our technical test, candidates are typically faced with an algorithmic challenge that they need to solve using a programming language of their choice. The type of questions/challenges that the candidates are faced with differs a lot from standard work sample tests or take-home challenges in the sense that they don’t request the candidate to build something visual or usable with a certain programming language. Our test gives candidates the freedom to choose which language they want to use and how they want to approach the algorithmic challenge based on the instructions given. 
 
The test can be completed online at the candidate’s convenience. We have designed the test to fit all types of experience levels, and we currently provide candidates with an opportunity to choose between two different tests: Front-end or Back-end. Both tests consist of 2-3 tasks on different levels of difficulty (easy, medium, and/or hard). 
 
Our technical tests are designed in a way that allows us to objectively assess software engineers in a standardized way.  We have set a passing threshold for the test at 67% which allows us to filter out the high potential candidates. Only 30% of candidates pass the technical test and are invited to further assessment in the behavioral screening interview. This allows us to confidently match-high qualified candidates with clients in a quick and easy way. As a result of our work, we help to streamline and shorten the recruitment process for our clients.

Izabela Budzyńska
Technical Recruiter at Nixa.io
 
The automated scoring of candidates’ tests is implemented to reduce biases. Although it might be frustrating for some candidates that no humans are involved in assessing their results, we believe that this is the best way to ensure objective assessment and to avoid discrimination of specific candidates. 
 

Assessing competencies and skills through structured screening interviews

The second step of our assessment/pre-qualification process is a structured screening interview. Only the candidates that pass the technical test will be invited for this interview, and only some of them will move from this interview and into our talent pool where we start to match them with remote opportunities. 
 
The screening interview is built with inspiration from structured personality test reviews, behavioral interviews, and generic screening interviews. The goal of the interview is to assess the candidate’s communication and language skills, work ethic, remote work experience, in addition to competencies such as teamwork, independent decision making, and initiative and responsibility. The screening interview is built up with a set of different questions and all candidates are asked the same questions. Below you can see some examples of the questions we focus this interview on. 
 

Examples of screening interview questions:

 
  • What are your professional goals? 
  • In which areas would you like to develop yourself? 
  • Can you give me an example of how your strengths come to life in a work situation? 
  • Can you give me an example of how you overcome your weaknesses in a work situation? 
  • Can you give me an example of a situation where you had to make an independent decision? 
  • Can you give me an example of a time where you took initiative to change something? 
  • What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of working remotely for you?
  • How do you structure your work to maintain efficiency when working remotely? 
  • In which situations do you prefer working alone, and in which do you prefer working as a part of a team? 
  • Do you have any specific preferences when it comes to a new job (company size, industry, type of product, and so on) 
  • What are your expectations when it comes to compensation and benefits? 
 
Going through these questions with each candidate gives us a great chance to get to know the person behind the CV and to get an impression of who they are - not just on a professional level, but also on a personal one. The latter is something we really value at Nixa.io as we know that our clients are looking for great people, not just great developers. The fact that we also specialize in remote hiring and only work with companies that hire remotely, makes it especially important to assess the candidate’s communication skills and how they would cope in a remote environment. 
 
We conduct all of our interviews remotely in the form of a video call. The duration of the call is approximately 30 minutes, as we try to keep it as efficient as possible. We kindly ask all candidates to turn on their cameras so that we are able to connect properly and also assess their non-verbal behavior. 
 
After the screening interview, each candidate is scored on different skills/competencies such as communication, English level, remote work readiness, and independence. The total score decides if the candidate will be rejected at this stage or if they will be invited to join our talent pool. If the candidate demonstrates communication and English skills that are considered to be lower than full working proficiency, the candidate will be rejected and offered free coaching to improve their skills.  When scoring the candidates after the screening interview, we are using established scorecards such as CEFR for English level to reduce biased decision-making. 
 
Our notes from the screening interview will be crucial in the next step where we are going to start matching the candidate with remote companies that are hiring on the platform. When doing matchmaking, we make sure to compare the candidate's skills and preferences with the requirements coming from the client.  
 

Curious to learn more or to see this in action? 

We have designed a structured and well-tested candidate assessment process at Nixa.io with the goal to objectively assess candidates and secure the best fit for both candidates and clients. The fact that this assessment is completed in advance of the first meeting between the candidate and the client enables both parties to save time - and to move faster to the final interviews and offer stage. No more wasted time interviewing for irrelevant job opportunities or assessing unqualified candidates. 
 
If you want to learn more about how we assess candidates at Nixa.io or discuss how you could benefit from using our platform to improve the speed and quality of your hiring process, drop us a message on Linkedin or reach out to our CEO Kristine Angeltvedt on kristine@nixa.io
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