The technical interview process is crucial for identifying qualified candidates in the tech industry. One increasingly popular element of the interview process is the take-home assessment. This type of evaluation allows candidates to complete a project, problem, or coding challenge at home within a specific time frame, which is then submitted for review. Like any assessment method, take-home assessments have their pros and cons. In this blog post, we will explore the advantages and drawbacks of using this technique as part of the technical interview process.
Pros of Take-Home Assessments
- Real-World Scenarios: Take-home assessments allow candidates to showcase their skills by working on real-world problems or projects, similar to what they might encounter on the job. This provides valuable insight into their problem-solving abilities, creativity, and overall practical coding abilities.
- Reduced Pressure: In contrast to whiteboard coding challenges or live coding interviews, take-home assessments can help reduce the pressure and stress associated with the interview process. Candidates can work in a familiar environment and at their own pace, which often leads to better performance.
- More Accurate Representation of Skills: Some candidates may struggle with expressing their technical abilities in a high-pressure interview setting. Take-home assessments can provide a more accurate representation of their skills, giving employers a better understanding of their potential.
- Flexibility: Take-home assessments offer flexibility to both candidates and employers, as they can be completed outside of working hours. This can be particularly advantageous for those with other commitments, such as current employment or family responsibilities.
- Scalability: Utilizing a take-home assessment for technical interviewing makes it easier to scale, as companies can evaluate hundreds of developers simultaneously, unlike live interviewing which is limited by the number of interviewers and hours in a day.
Cons of Take-Home Assessments
- Time Commitment: One major drawback of take-home assessments is the time commitment they require from candidates. Depending on the scope of the project, it may take several hours or even days to complete. This can be especially challenging for candidates who are already employed or juggling multiple job applications.
- Plagiarism and Cheating: With take-home assessments, there is an increased risk of plagiarism or cheating, as candidates have access to online resources and may collaborate with others. Employers must have measures in place to ensure the authenticity of candidates' work.
- Limited Interaction: Take-home assessments do not provide the same level of interaction between candidates and interviewers as traditional interviews. Employers may miss out on valuable insights into a candidate's communication skills, teamwork abilities, and cultural fit, as well as the opportunity to sell applicants on the company and the role.
Take-home assessments can be a valuable tool in the technical interview process, offering several advantages for both candidates and employers. However, they also come with their own set of challenges that must be carefully considered. Ultimately, it depends on what you wish to prioritize as a company. If scaling and capturing real-world signal is your goal, then a take-home assessment could be the right choice. On the other hand, if you are looking to provide a high-touch experience, while limiting the amount of work that needs to be done by the applicant, then a live interview may be preferable. Unsure of what is right for you? Check out our troubleshooting guide on how to enhance your recruitment pipeline now.