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Testing and evaluating IT skills are essential for IT recruitment

18.03.2021 | Ilpo Järvenpää
Testing and evaluating IT skills are key in the IT sector recruitment.

In the IT sector recruitment, special attention should be paid to testing and evaluating the candidates’ practical IT skills. This should be done at the earliest possible stage in the recruitment process. No one wants to notice that the expected key competence for the recruited person is found to be missing. Partly or, in the worst case, completely. This would be problematic especially if the contract has already been signed and the work has been started. Investing in reliable testing of IT skills is in everyone’s interest.

Why are IT skills tested and evaluated in practice?

In many cases, the recruitment process follows the traditional path. Starting with the identification of the need and compiling an attractive job advertisement. And continuing then with comparing applications and interviewing candidates with the most potential. Then, the IT sector recruitment process is moving in a different direction with other, more traditional recruitment processes. In the IT sector recruitment, various technical tests clarifying the candidates’ practical IT skills step into the picture. After these, the different recruitment processes meet again and continue together towards selecting candidates with the most potential. In the best case, this leads to drawing up an employment contract and taking a common direction.

Subjective or objective opinion?

But let’s take a step back. The IT sector recruitment process differs from other recruitment processes. It is coloured by technical tests that shed light on the candidates’ practical IT skills. But why should a candidate’s IT competence be tested if the application states that the IT skills are good? For the very reason that subjective assessment of one’s own skills is always just that – subjective.

Many can certainly admit having mentioned in a job application having fluent English language skills. For some, this self-assessment can be based on good school grades or a successful small talk during holiday trips. It may not have occurred that for a recruiting company “fluent English language skills” might mean something completely different. For example, language skills required to understand very challenging twists and turns of the business world. Or, to interpret sections of law. Or, to present at conferences. So, in this case, pretty good is not enough.

Real competence?

The same holds when slightly applied to IT skills. When applying for IT sector jobs, it is already clear that genuine IT skills are required in the field. There still are all kinds of interpretations of this and everything in between. A beginner can be excited about the twists and turns of a programming language they have just learned. They may estimate their skills in their enthusiasm to the top edge. A senior who has been in the industry for a long time might instead suffer from impostor syndrome. They may estimate their skills greatly to the lower edge. On paper, therefore, both candidates are on the same line. At this point, technical tests step into the picture to reveal the actual level of the candidates’ competence in practice.

What should be taken into account when testing IT skills in recruitment?

Testing IT competence requires clear criteria and a skilled and knowledgeable recruitment professional. In addition to these, it requires a truly reliable and up-to-date system for testing IT skills. The key is equal testing for all candidates. Ensuring that each candidate has taken the tests from start to finish independently is also important.

For the last few months, we, ICT DIRECT, have had at our disposal an IT competence testing platform: Filtered. Our experiences with it are so far really positive. Stay tuned – we will soon tell you more about the service and our experiences in practice with concrete examples. You can also contact us if you want to hear more and try the service through us right away!

About the author
Ilpo Järvenpää
Customer Success Manager, CEO