We compare Multiple-choice questions to Take-home code challenges
When it comes to hiring software engineers, technical assessments are an essential component of the interview process. These assessments help hiring managers determine a candidate’s technical skills, problem-solving ability, and coding expertise.
There are two primary types of technical assessments used in the hiring process: take-home coding challenges and multiple-choice code challenges. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between these two types of assessments and the pros and cons of each.
A take-home coding challenge is a type of technical assessment that requires a job candidate to complete a programming task within a given timeframe. Typically, the candidate is given a problem statement or a set of requirements, and they are expected to write a program that meets those requirements. The candidate is typically given anything from a few hours to a few days to complete the challenge and submit their solution (more on how long a take-home code challenge should be here.)
One of the benefits of take-home coding challenges is that they give candidates a chance to showcase their coding skills in a more realistic environment. Candidates can use their own development environment, take their time to think through the problem, and demonstrate their ability to write high-quality, maintainable code.
Another advantage of take-home coding challenges is that they are less stressful than in-person assessments. Candidates don’t have to worry about performing in front of a panel of interviewers. This allows them to focus on the problem and put their best foot forward.
One of the potential downsides of take-home coding challenges is that it can be difficult to verify that the candidate actually completed the challenge themselves. Some candidates may be tempted to ask for help from friends or search online for solutions to the problem. This can make it harder for hiring managers to gauge a candidate’s true ability.
The best way to combat this is to use the solution provided by the candidate in the next stage in the hiring process and ask them to explain their choices.
Another issue with take-home coding challenges is that they can be time-consuming for both candidates and hiring managers. Candidates may need to spend several hours or even days working on the challenge, and hiring managers need to review each submission in detail. This can slow down the hiring process and make it harder to evaluate a large pool of candidates (which is where Geektastic can help with our expert team of reviewers to free up your internal resource).
Types of Take-Home Coding Challenges:
There are several types of take-home coding challenges that can be used to evaluate candidates:
- Algorithmic Challenges: These challenges focus on a candidate’s ability to write efficient algorithms to solve complex problems. Candidates may be asked to implement sorting algorithms, search algorithms, or other data structures.
- Design Challenges: These challenges test a candidate’s ability to design scalable, maintainable software systems. Candidates may be asked to design a REST API or a distributed system.
- Bug-Fixing Challenges: These challenges present a candidate with a piece of broken code and ask them to debug and fix it. This type of challenge is useful for assessing a candidate’s ability to debug and troubleshoot code.
- Code-review: The candidate is presented with some code and asked to review it. This could be a few take-home code challenge solutions where the candidate is asked to review the submissions and grade them for things like code quality, solution design and problem solving skills.
Multiple-choice code challenges are a common type of technical assessment used to evaluate the skills of software engineers during the hiring process. These assessments consist of a set of questions with multiple-choice answers that candidates must complete within a given time frame. While multiple-choice code challenges can be an effective way to test a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of fundamental programming concepts, they also have their own set of pros and cons.
- Easy to administer: Multiple-choice code challenges are relatively easy to administer and grade. Hiring managers can quickly evaluate a candidate’s responses and determine whether they have the required knowledge and skills for the job.
- Standardised: Multiple-choice code challenges are standardised, meaning that all candidates are evaluated on the same set of skills and knowledge. This makes it easier to compare candidates and ensure that everyone is evaluated fairly.
- Efficient: Multiple-choice code challenges can be completed quickly, making them an efficient way to evaluate a large number of candidates in a short amount of time.
- Objective: Multiple-choice code challenges are objective, meaning that there is only one correct answer for each question. This eliminates the potential for subjective grading or bias on the part of the hiring manager.
- Limited evaluation of skills: Multiple-choice code challenges only evaluate a candidate’s knowledge of fundamental programming concepts, and don’t provide insight into their problem-solving abilities or coding skills in a realistic environment.
- Lack of creativity: Multiple-choice code challenges don’t allow candidates to use their creativity and problem-solving skills to come up with their own solutions to problems, as they are presented with pre-defined problems and solutions.
- Potential for cheating: Multiple-choice code challenges can be prone to cheating, as candidates may be able to find answers online or get help from friends (at Geektastic we have a few safeguards in place to combat cheating)
- Unrealistic environment: Multiple-choice code challenges don’t simulate a realistic work environment, where engineers must work on real problems in a team setting.
In conclusion, while multiple-choice code challenges can be a useful tool for evaluating the skills of software engineers during the hiring process, they should be used in conjunction with other assessment methods to provide a more comprehensive evaluation of a candidate’s abilities.
Hiring managers should consider the pros and cons of each type of technical assessment and tailor their approach to the specific needs of their organization.