As the recruiting season for new graduates and interns is fast approaching, now might be the perfect time to reassess the online testing platform you use for hiring entry-level and intern developers.
In the past, CodeSignal was a popular option due to its user-friendly interface and versatility in creating various types of assessments. However, with the emergence of ChatGPT, it might be worth reevaluating this tool. The new graduate and intern questions on CodeSignal are susceptible to cheating using ChatGPT, as they mostly consist of LeetCode-style questions with easily accessible answers. To address this issue, CodeSignal enforces strict proctoring, which may lead to a less-than-ideal candidate experience. Candidates must use CodeSignal's IDE (instead of their familiar local environment) and are closely monitored, potentially causing performance anxiety. We explore this issue further in this other blog post.
Another concern with CodeSignal is its reliance on a fully automated solution. Hiring junior engineers can be a time-consuming process, prompting companies to use automated screening for the initial step. However, based on our experience managing the recruiting cycle for companies like Airtable, this approach presents some drawbacks. It leads to a subpar candidate experience and is less effective in capturing meaningful signals. As a result, many diverse candidates with a broader range of skills may be overlooked. To create more challenging problems, companies often make them less realistic, focusing on a single skill (data structures and algorithms) instead of evaluating candidates holistically (such as looking at important factors like writing organized and testable code). Moreover, candidates can more easily exploit the system when using a fully automated solution.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives to CodeSignal that can tackle these challenges and offer a more personalized approach. Here are a few options to consider.
CodeSignal Alternative: Hatchways
Hatchways is the most customizable practical assessment platform on the market. With Hatchways, you can create a practical assessment where candidates are provided with a starting codebase, and they are tasked with completing practical assignments like writing a feature, refactoring code, reviewing code, or fixing a bug. The platform then automatically grades assessments based on a customized rubric tailored to your role, utilizing best practices from tech leaders at Dropbox, Plaid, and Airtable. You can learn more about how it works here.
In contrast to CodeSignal, Hatchways focuses on assessing a broader range of skills rather than merely evaluating how many automated test cases are passed by the system. Moreover, the assessments are designed with greater context by providing a starting codebase. This additional context and variety of skills make it more resilient against ChatGPT, as you can see here.
Hatchways utilizes both automation and human reviewers when evaluating candidate submissions. This helps keep costs low while scaling and improves the candidate experience and signal capture. It captures signals beyond just passing automated test cases. The greatest advantage of Hatchways is the ability to customize your rubric and challenge, ensuring the most accurate signal capture.
The drawback of Hatchways is its cost, as it can be more expensive compared to other competitors. However, by enhancing pass-through rates due to advanced signal capture, the expense is often justified. Learn more about optimizing pass-through rates here.
CodeSignal Alternative: HackerRank
HackerRank has a really similar feature parity with CodeSignal. It is probably one of the most full-fledge platform, as it can be used for live interviews, practical take-home assessments, technical screens and more.
However, the tool's primary focus is on administering LeetCode-style assessments, which exposes it to similar issues that CodeSignal faces. Although HackerRank can be used to create practical assessments, it demands a significant amount of customization to achieve this.
Additionally, its user interface and assessment creation experience fall short when compared to CodeSignal. Some companies even require "HackerRank engineers" to navigate the platform due to the challenges in setting up an assessment. Despite these drawbacks, HackerRank is more affordable than CodeSignal.
CodeSignal Alternative: Karat
Karat is a technical interviewing platform that specializes in conducting and evaluating live, structured interviews for software engineering roles. With Karat, you can replace your CodeSignal online assessment with an outsourced live interview with a Karat engineer.
Karat is undoubtedly the most expensive tool on this list, with costs around $400 per interview. This makes it an impractical option for most companies engaging in intern or new grad hiring, as the high volume of applications can drive costs up significantly. However, it has proven effective in replacing processes later on, such as live technical screens.
Karat excels at calibrating with your team's standards. They collaborate closely with your engineering team to ensure that their recommendations align with your team's expectations. The more human-centric approach makes Karat a suitable alternative to CodeSignal, albeit at a considerably higher cost.
CodeSignal Alternative: Byteboard
Byteboard can replace your CodeSignal online test with a practical asynchronous interview that concentrates on a range of technical abilities, such as writing design documents and code.
Like Hatchways, Byteboard evaluates practical skills and employs human reviewers to assess a more diverse set of competencies. The primary distinction, however, is that Byteboard provides less customization than Hatchways. This implies that if the Byteboard assessment doesn't align well with your team's needs, the product may not be beneficial. In contrast, Hatchways allows full customization of both the assessment and the grading rubric, ensuring the assessment is tailored to the role you're hiring for. Nevertheless, Byteboard is a more cost-effective option compared to Hatchways.
With new graduate and intern recruiting cycles fast approaching, it is crucial to reevaluate the online testing platforms used for hiring entry-level and intern developers. CodeSignal, although popular, has its share of drawbacks, including susceptibility to cheating and an over-reliance on automated solutions.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives to CodeSignal that address these issues and provide a more personalized and human approach to evaluating candidates. It's essential to consider these alternatives to ensure a better candidate experience and more effective talent evaluation process. By adopting a more holistic approach to candidate assessment, companies can confidently identify and hire diverse talent that best fits their needs.