Whether you are just starting out or you are a high calibre candidate, you are bound to be asked to complete a pre-interview skills test at some point when you are applying for jobs. If you’ve read the other blog post in this series, you will be well informed as to the benefits of pre-interview testing to companies, but what do you get out of it? They take time and energy, which we are all running short on, but contrary to popular belief, there are actually are several benefits of completing pre-interview skills tests.
Getting on the Same Page
Developers know all too well how easy it is to get lost in translation when it comes to technology. If you have to discuss your skillset and the tech stack of the company in question with anyone who isn’t technical in an interview; you are at great risk of either losing a potential job offer or being hired for the wrong job. Whilst this is unlikely to happen as most companies tend to have their ducks in a row when it comes to interviewing developers; mistakes do happen. If you have written and passed a test, there is less pressure on the hiring manager to understand 100% of the technology and you can be at ease knowing that you have already made it through the first stage of screening and you are most probably in the right place.
The Pre-Interview Skills Test Tells You More About the Company
A job description alone may only give you part of the picture, most often you apply for a job with little idea of the specifics, so when the test arrives you have another piece of the puzzle. Many, if not most companies create their own custom test for candidates based on their tech stack and current projects in order to ensure that your skills align with the requirements of the position. At this point you may well say; ‘this job is not for me’, or you start getting excited about the challenges this new position may bring, should you get and accept the job offer.
Where Words Fail, Your Test Will Speak for You
When you have taken the time to complete the skills test, there is less pressure during the interview. Everyone gets the jitters before an interview, that’s just the nature of the beast. If you tested well however, you already have a better chance of surviving the interview. Most hiring managers will take into account the fact that interviews make everyone nervy and so will they take into account the fact that you have proven your skillset and understanding of the tech stack in question – even if they don’t entirely understand it themselves. Your pre-interview skills test says, ‘I’ve got this’, even when you stutter.
Something to Talk About
More than announcing your arrival or simply serving as a barometer for skills and experience, your skills test provides a great point of departure for your interview. You can ask more questions about their tech stack or discuss why you answered certain questions the way you did. The more comfortably you can talk about the skills test and your performance in it, the more at ease you will appear with your abilities and the better an impression you will be able to leave on your interviewer.
It Has Become the Norm
Globally the practice of requesting candidates to complete a pre-interview skills test has grown to the point where it is unusual for candidates not to be asked to complete them. Those with their finger on the pulse often complain that they feel South Africa lags behind in global trends, in this case however we do not. The practice has been widely used in other fields too and they help mitigate potential risks which may arise from hiring someone who isn’t quite the right fit for the job.
Use Them for Future Reference
No skills test is ever a waste of time or energy. You can refer to them for future job applications and even keep them as an extended part of your CV as proof of your skillset. This hard work says something about your determination and your willingness to share your knowledge with others, if only as a means to securing a job and proving yourself.
Whether you are fresh on the market or you are a seasoned pro you do still need to empathise with those who will be interviewing you and testing you. Tests are not going away and they act as an important motivator for a job offer for both you and the hiring manager. When you are asked to do one, do it and do it gladly, the benefits by far outweigh the effort and time taken to complete them.