Your Complete Guide to Technical Assessment Tests

Your Complete Guide to Technical Assessment Tests

The hiring landscape is ever-evolving, and with the increasing demand for skilled professionals, traditional methods of candidate evaluation are no longer sufficient. Resumes can be misleading, and interviews can be subjective.

Technical assessments have emerged as a key tool in the hiring process, offering a structured and objective means to evaluate a candidate's skills and potential in the organisation. Unlike traditional methods, technical assessments provide a more comprehensive view of a candidate’s capabilities, helping organisations make more informed hiring decisions.

What is a Technical Assessment Test?

A technical assessment test is a standardised evaluation tool designed to measure a candidate's knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to a specific job role. These assessments can take various forms, including online quizzes, coding challenges, and simulations. Designed to objectively measure a candidate’s ability to perform job-related functions, technical assessments provide clear insights into their skill proficiency.

By presenting candidates with realistic job-related tasks and problems, these assessments offer valuable insights into their technical proficiency, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking abilities. Employers can use this to identify qualified candidates who possess the necessary skills to excel in the role, ultimately leading to better hiring decisions.

Why Do Organisations Use Technical Assessments?

Technical assessments have become a crucial part of the hiring process for many organisations, especially those in data-driven industries. Traditional methods like resume screening often fail to provide a comprehensive picture of a candidate's capabilities.

Organisations that have recognised the downsides of traditional hiring methods, especially as their workforce demand have grown, have begun to assess their candidates to assist with:

Automating & Refining the Hiring Process

Traditional hiring methods, which often rely heavily on CVs and interviewing larger pools of candidates, can be time-consuming and subject to bias. Technical assessments on their own help hiring managers identify whether or not a candidate is capable of key job functions. Technical assessment platforms, like Alooba, streamline this process by:

  • Automating Initial Screening: With instant scoring upon completing the assessments, companies can quickly identify those with the necessary skills and qualifications. This reduces the need for manual CV screening, saving valuable time for HR teams.

  • Improving Efficiency: Automation allows only the most qualified candidates to proceed to the next stages of the hiring process. This minimises the likelihood of interviewing unsuitable candidates, thus speeding up the hiring process.

  • Making a Fairer Environment: Automated assessments focus on candidates' actual abilities rather than subjective factors such as the presentation of their CVs or their interview performance. This creates a fairer hiring process, reducing the influence of unconscious bias.

According to ClearCo, 76% of companies say hiring automation has freed up their hiring manager’s time to focus on more important tasks. This efficiency not only saves time but also allows them to invest in strategic areas like candidate engagement.

Supporting Strategic Planning & Workforce Decisions

Technical assessments provide valuable data that can support strategic planning and workforce decisions. By understanding the skills and capabilities of both current employees and potential hires, companies can:

  • Identify Skills Gaps: Regular assessments can highlight areas where employees may need additional training or development. This information is crucial for creating targeted training programs that address specific needs.

  • Guide Succession Planning: Identifying employees with leadership potential through assessments can help companies plan for future roles. This ensures a pipeline of capable leaders ready to step into key positions as needed.

  • Make Data-Driven Decisions: The insights gained from technical assessments allow companies to make informed decisions about talent management. This includes everything from hiring and promotions to training and development strategies.

Just as it is important to attract new talent into an organisation, it is also important to retain and grow talent. According to Mercer, 79% of organisations focus on developing and promoting talent from within.

Eliminate Bias & Promote Diversity

Diversity and inclusion are critical components of a successful workplace. According to Forbes, teams are better at making decisions when it includes people of varied ages, genders, and backgrounds. Technical assessments help promote these values by providing an objective measure of candidates' skills, especially when given the option to allow for blind assessment submissions – which has shown to reduce the gender-disparity by increasing the woman’s chances of being hired by 46% according to the UNDP.

  • Objective Evaluation: Unlike subjective interviews, technical assessments provide a standardised way to evaluate all candidates. This ensures that decisions are based on skills and abilities rather than personal biases.

  • Improving Diversity: By focusing on skills, technical assessments can help companies attract a more diverse pool of candidates. This is especially important in fields like tech, where diversity has historically been lacking.

Diverse teams are more innovative and better at decision-making, as highlighted by Harvard Business Review. Companies with diverse workforces are 70% more likely to capture new markets, showcasing the tactical benefits of inclusive hiring practices.

Identifying the Right Talent & Reducing the Chances of a Bad Hire

Hiring the wrong candidate can be costly, both financially and operationally. Technical assessments help mitigate this risk by ensuring that companies can gauge a candidate’s suitability for the role. This is particularly important in fields requiring specific technical expertise, such as data science and software development, where proficiency in certain tools and technologies is essential.

  • Accurate Skill Assessment: Technical assessments test candidates on the actual skills they will need in their job, thus provides a clearer picture of their capabilities compared to traditional interviews or CV reviews.

  • Reducing Turnover: By hiring candidates whose skills and abilities are well-matched to the role, companies can reduce the likelihood of turnover. This is crucial, as a high turnover rate can disrupt operations and incur significant costs.

According to Forbes 38% of new hires leave within 90 days, often due to mismatched expectations and job requirements. By using technical assessments, companies can better align candidates' skills with job demands, reducing early turnover.

Creating a Positive Candidate Experience

A positive candidate experience is essential for attracting top talent and maintaining a strong employer brand. Using a technical assessment platform, like Alooba contributes by providing a transparent and efficient evaluation process.

  • Clear Expectations: Candidates appreciate knowing exactly what is expected of them during the assessment. This clarity helps reduce anxiety and allows candidates to perform at their best.

  • Fair Feedback: Automated assessments often provide immediate feedback, helping candidates understand their performance. This transparency is valued by candidates and can improve their perception of the company.

Companies like Canva, have seen improved candidate satisfaction by automating their screening by Alooba's skills assessment technology. Not only have they reduced their time-to-hire by eliminating the bottleneck of manual screening, they’ve seen their candidate satisfaction score boost to over 90%.

Read more about Canva’s success story here.

What Can Technical Assessments Cover?

Analytical Reasoning

Analytical reasoning is the systematic and logical approach employed to evaluate information, identify patterns, and uncover connections within datasets. This skill is essential for transforming raw data into valuable insights, enabling informed decision-making and providing a competitive edge in today’s data-centric world.

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning, or inductive thinking, involves deriving general principles or conclusions based on specific observations or patterns. It is a foundational cognitive ability used extensively in science, mathematics, and logic. This skill is crucial for hypothesis generation and problem-solving in complex scenarios.

Numerical Reasoning

Numerical reasoning is the ability to understand and draw accurate inferences from numerical information, including numbers, statistics, probability, and mathematical patterns. It encompasses various sub-skills such as numerical computations, logical reasoning, pattern recognition, data analysis, and quantitative interpretation. Strong numerical reasoning skills are vital for roles that require financial analysis, forecasting, market research, and strategic planning.

Spatial Reasoning

Spatial reasoning refers to the cognitive ability to mentally visualise and manipulate objects and their spatial relationships. This skill is crucial for understanding and interpreting visual information, solving puzzles, and navigating physical spaces. It is particularly important in fields like architecture, engineering, mathematics, and the sciences.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning involves the skills to comprehend, analyse, and interpret information presented in written or spoken forms. This cognitive ability is essential for understanding the meaning of words, recognizing relationships and patterns, and drawing logical conclusions. It encompasses a range of linguistic capabilities such as vocabulary, grammar, critical thinking, and comprehension.

What Types of Questions are in Technical Assessments?

Objective-Type Questions

Objective-type questions are a staple in technical assessments due to their straightforward nature and ease of automated scoring. As these are designed to test a candidate's knowledge and understanding of specific topics through concise, predefined answers, objective-types questions can include multiple-choice questions, checkbox/multiple-response questions, fill-in-the-blanks, matching, and list ordering. They are ideal for assessing factual knowledge and basic skills in a time-efficient manner.


  • Automated Scoring: Provides instant results, saving time for hiring managers and candidates.
  • Standardisation: Ensures consistency in the evaluation process.
  • Efficiency: Allows for the assessment of a large number of candidates quickly.


  • Limited Depth: May not fully capture a candidate's problem-solving abilities or creativity.
  • Potential for Guessing: Candidates may guess answers, leading to potentially inaccurate assessments.

To ensure candidates have the foundational knowledge necessary for their role, companies can use objective-type questions like in the Concepts & Knowledge Test to assess a broad range of topics from English to Systems Architecture.

Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions require candidates to provide detailed responses, allowing for a deeper assessment of not only their analytical skills, but also their written and verbal communication. Questions are designed to evaluate a candidate's ability to articulate thoughts, demonstrate comprehensive knowledge, and solve complex problems, with formats that can look like essay-type questions, audio/video responses, or personal projects. They are particularly useful for assessing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.


  • Depth of Insight: Provides a deeper understanding of a candidate's knowledge and analytical skills.
  • Flexibility: Allows candidates to express their ideas in a more detailed and nuanced manner.
  • Real-Time Skills Assessment: Evaluates communication skills and confidence in a real-world context.


  • Technical Requirements: Requires candidates to have access to recording equipment and stable internet.
  • Time-Consuming: Requires more time to answer and evaluate, potentially slowing down the assessment process.
  • Subjective Evaluation: Scoring can be more subjective compared to objective-type questions and be susceptible to bias.

For in-depth evaluation of a candidate's thought process and communication abilities, companies should consider more open-ended formats, like the free response essays, one-way video interviews, file submissions, or diagram test.

Case Questions

Case questions present candidates with real-world scenarios and ask them to solve problems or make decisions based on the information provided. These questions are often used to assess problem solving, inductive reasoning, and analytical thinking skills. Case questions are designed to simulate job-related challenges, requiring candidates to apply their knowledge and skills to solve specific problems.


  • Real-World Relevance: Provides a realistic assessment of a candidate's ability to handle job-related tasks.
  • Comprehensive Evaluation: Tests a wide range of skills, including analytical thinking and practical problem-solving.


  • Complexity: Can be challenging to design and administer effectively.
  • Subjective Scoring: Requires careful consideration to ensure fair and objective evaluation.

Organisations can use business problems to evaluate their candidate’s practical problem-solving abilities comprehensively. Particularly with testing for analytical roles, candidates can be given data analysis tests that provide them with a specific data set for a business case, allowing them to demonstrate their ability to interpret data, identify trends, and derive actionable insights.

What Types of Technical Assessments are There?

Take-Home Assessments

Take Home Assessments are tasks completed by candidates at their convenience, outside the employer's domain. Candidates will receive a set of problems or projects to solve within a specified timeframe, often ranging from a few hours to several days. These assessments test candidates' problem-solving skills, creativity, and ability to work independently. The candidate will submit their work via email or a shared drive, and hiring managers manually review and grade the submissions. While flexible, these assessments can be time-consuming to both complete and evaluate and may raise concerns about authenticity.

Project-Based Assessments

Project-based assessments involve assigning candidates a project or a real-world problem to solve. This type of assessment is ideal for evaluating a candidate’s ability to work independently and apply their skills in practical scenarios. For example, candidates might be asked to create a small application, analyse a data set, or develop a predictive model.

Case Studies

In case study assessments, candidates are presented with a business problem and asked to provide a detailed solution. This type of assessment is particularly effective for roles that require strong analytical skills and business acumen. Candidates might need to perform data analysis, strategic planning, or develop business insights.

Online Assessments

Online Assessments are conducted through digital platforms, providing a structured and often automated way to evaluate candidates' skills. Candidates complete these assessments in real-time or within a set timeframe, with results often available immediately due to automated grading systems. Online assessments offer scalability, consistency, and reduced bias in the hiring process. They are ideal for both remote and on-site hiring, allowing candidates to demonstrate their skills without the need for physical presence, saving both time and resources for both parties.

Timed Quizzes

Timed quizzes are multiple-choice or short-answer quizzes that cover specific knowledge areas. These quizzes are usually time-limited to add an element of pressure and test how candidates perform under constraints. They are effective for quickly assessing foundational knowledge across various topics. The Concepts & Knowledge Test is an excellent example of this type of assessment.

Coding Challenges

Coding challenges require candidates to solve programming problems in their preferred language. These problems typically vary in difficulty and test the candidate’s problem-solving and algorithmic skills. Coding challenges are ideal for assessing programming proficiency. The Analytics Coding Test is designed to evaluate these skills effectively.

Simulation Tests

Simulation tests involve performing tasks in a simulated environment that mirrors real-world scenarios. Candidates might be asked to work with virtual machines, set up databases, or write and execute scripts. These tests are effective for assessing practical skills in a controlled, realistic setting. The Data Analysis Test provides a thorough platform for these kinds of assessments.

Technical Interviews

Technical interviews are structured interviews focusing on specific technical skills. Interviewers ask questions related to the candidate’s expertise and problem-solving abilities, making this format ideal for assessing depth of knowledge in specific areas and critical thinking. The Free Response Questions in video format can mimic the technical interview process, allowing candidates to articulate their thought processes.

Pair Programming

In pair programming assessments, candidates work collaboratively with an interviewer on a coding task. This method is suitable for assessing coding proficiency and collaboration skills in a team setting. It provides insight into how candidates interact and solve problems with others, which is critical for team-based roles.

On-Site Assessment

On-site Assessments are conducted at the employer’s physical offices, having candidates interact directly with the hiring team. On-site assessments provide insight into the candidate's problem-solving approach, communication skills, and cultural fit within the organisation. They provide real-time interaction but require significant scheduling and logistical coordination. This additionally may add additional stressors to the candidate, potentially enabling them to perform more poorly than they would in everyday scenarios.

On-Site Coding Tests

On-site coding tests are conducted in a controlled, monitored environment. Candidates might be asked to write code, debug programs, or optimise algorithms. This ensures the authenticity of the candidate’s work and assesses their coding skills in a controlled setting.

Whiteboarding Sessions

Whiteboarding sessions involve candidates solving problems on a whiteboard in front of interviewers. This typically includes coding, designing systems, or solving algorithmic problems. This allows hiring managers to observe problem-solving approaches, coding skills, and the ability to articulate solutions clearly.

Group Exercises

Group exercises involve candidates working in teams to solve a problem or complete a project. This assesses their ability to collaborate and contribute effectively in a group setting.

Presentation Tasks

Presentation tasks require candidates to prepare and deliver a presentation on a given topic. This might involve explaining a technical concept, presenting analysis results, or demonstrating a project they have worked on. Presentation tasks are great for roles that require strong communication skills.

Technical Panels

In a technical panel assessment, candidates face a panel of interviewers who ask in-depth technical questions and present scenarios or problems to solve. This can be useful for roles requiring deep technical leadership and the ability to handle complex questions under pressure.

What Does a Great Assessment Look Like?

A great assessment not only evaluates the necessary skills but also communicates clearly with candidates, offers flexibility, provides feedback, and includes realistic job tasks. Great assessments need to offer the following:

Clear Expectations From The Start

Great assessments begin with clear communication. From the initial application to the final feedback, candidates should understand each step of the assessment process. Providing instructions and expectations about timelines can not only enhance the candidate's experience, but can also allow candidates to perform at their best.

Providing clarity is as simple as providing instructions and examples of what is expected in the candidate’s assessments, or providing regular updates to keep your candidates informed about their progress and next steps. By ensuring clarity in your assessments, you can create a positive candidate experience.

For more tips on maintaining clarity and effective communication, check out our full guide here.

Job-Relevant Tasks & Assessments

The content of the assessment should closely mirror the tasks and challenges that candidates will face in the actual job. Realistic tasks provide a better gauge of a candidate's abilities and how they will perform in the role. This not only allows for the assessment to be relevant but also engages candidates by allowing them to demonstrate their skills in a practical manner.

When crafting your assessments, prioritise designing tasks that reflect the day-to-day responsibilities candidates will encounter in the role. Additionally, tailor the content to test the specific skills required for the job.

Presenting candidates with real-world business problems like in the data analysis tests gives them a chance to showcase their approach in a context that directly translates to the job.

Testing Accessibility

Flexibility in assessments is key to accommodating the diverse needs and preferences of candidates. Candidates should be able to complete assessments remotely and use their preferred environments.

Allowing candidates to take assessments from anywhere, at their convenience, removes barriers and attracts a wider talent pool. Additionally, candidates can leverage their preferred tools and focus their energy on showcasing their skills, rather than getting acclimated to a new environment.

Coding tests have often been great examples for this remote environment.

Actionable Feedback for Growth

Providing feedback to candidates, regardless of the assessment outcome, is an important aspect of a great assessment.

Constructive feedback helps candidates understand their strengths and areas for improvement, which is valuable whether they advance in the hiring process or not. This valuable information helps candidates learn and grow, making them stronger applicants in the future. Furthermore, ensure feedback is given promptly. Timely responses demonstrate respect for their time and investment in the process, maintaining their engagement and interest throughout the hiring journey.

While providing detailed and timely feedback can be time-consuming, remember, these individuals have invested their time and energy in your hiring process. Showing appreciation through constructive feedback strengthens your employer brand and fosters positive relationships with potential talent. The good news is, this process can be streamlined with platforms like Alooba, with automation features that can help deliver detailed feedback to candidates.

Why Are Technical Assessments Important in the Hiring Process?

Verify Candidate Claims

A key reason for using technical assessments is to verify the claims made by candidates on their resumes. These assessments provide insight into both hard and soft skills, qualifications, and education. For example, a candidate might list proficiency in SQL or Python on their resume, but a technical test like a SQL test or Python test can confirm their actual skill level. Additionally, technical assessments can reveal skills that candidates did not highlight, offering a more comprehensive view of their capabilities.

Determine Alignment with the Role and Company

Technical assessments help in evaluating whether a candidate's skills align with the job requirements and the company’s culture. Beyond technical abilities, assessments can also gauge soft skills. For instance, including personality profiling questions provided insights into a candidate’s work style and how they might fit within the company culture. Employers can make a more informed decision about a candidate’s potential fit for the role and organisation.

Expedite High-Volume Hiring

In scenarios where employers need to fill multiple positions quickly, technical assessments aid the hiring process by swiftly identifying key talent from a large pool of candidates. Instead of spending hours manually reading through resumes, these assessments serve as an effective screening tool, allowing hiring managers to focus on the most qualified candidates and reducing their workload.

Ensure Objective and Data-Driven Decisions

Objective assessments help reduce unconscious bias in the hiring process. By focusing on data and performance metrics, technical assessments promote fairer hiring practices.

How Could You Choose a Technical Assessment Test?

Selecting the right technical assessment test highly depends on the role, company culture, and organisational needs. For example, hiring for a junior machine learning engineer versus a lead business intelligence developer requires vastly different skill sets.

Role-Specific Selection

As different positions demand different skill sets, your assessment should reflect these needs. For instance, a data analyst role may require proficiency in SQL and data visualisation, making an SQL technical test an ideal choice. On the other hand, a data scientist role might necessitate advanced coding skills and machine learning knowledge, for which the Python or R technical tests would be more appropriate.

Junior vs. Senior Positions

The level of the position also influences the choice of assessment. For junior roles that typically have a higher volume of applications and a less experienced talent pool, quick screenings can efficiently filter out candidates who lack the basic required skills. These can include multiple-choice quizzes or basic coding challenges that test fundamental competencies.

For senior positions that have greater responsibilities and some level of management, more comprehensive and personal assessments are necessary. These include more in-depth testing, which could look like advanced coding tests, project-based assessments, and free response questions that allow candidates to demonstrate their depth of knowledge and problem-solving abilities.

Company Culture & Size

Your company's culture and the size of your organisation should also guide your choice of assessment. For instance, if your company values innovation and creative problem-solving, assessments that additionally include personality profiling may help assess cultural fit.

For larger or rapidly growing organisations that handle high volumes of applications, automated assessments and scalable solutions are crucial. This was the case for Personio, who were seeing high increases in applications. After switching to use short technical assessments as a method for first-step screening, they were able to automate that first screening step entirely and overcome the bottlenecks that traditional resume screening creates.

Our 2024 Candidate Assessment Software Guide offers insights into tools that can help streamline the hiring process and manage large-scale assessments efficiently.

What Ways Can Candidates Prepare for a Technical Test?

Review the Role

Candidates should thoroughly review the job postings and descriptions to identify the technical requirements and skills needed. This will provide a clear direction on what areas to focus on during their preparation. Knowing what is expected allows candidates to tailor their study efforts to meet those specific requirements.

Know Your Limits

Candidates should be aware of their knowledge gaps and be transparent about them. If an assessment includes areas where they are not proficient, it’s important to communicate these gaps to employers. Transparency can be viewed positively as it demonstrates honesty and a willingness to learn.

Strengthen Your Knowledge Base

Candidates should reinforce foundational concepts, study complex topics, and learn technical terminology relevant to their field to ensure a strong grasp of core principles while staying updated with industry advancements.

Take Practice Tests

Practice tests are an excellent way for candidates to identify areas that need more study and to refresh complex strategies. Practising specific assessment formats and platforms helps candidates become familiar with the test environment and reduces anxiety. We offer a variety of free practice tests to help candidates prepare thoroughly.

Technical assessments have become an essential component of the modern hiring process, demonstrably improving outcomes for both employers and candidates. The Aberdeen Group found that organisations using technical assessments are 24% more likely to hire high-performing employees, experience a 39% lower turnover rate, and report 36% greater satisfaction with their hiring decisions.

These benefits translate to a competitive advantage in retaining top talent. For candidates, technical assessments also provide clarity on job requirements and allow them to showcase their skills in a relevant setting. Ultimately, technical assessments play a crucial role in ensuring a successful match between skilled professionals and the right job opportunities.

By carefully selecting the appropriate assessment format and ensuring a positive candidate experience, organisations can benefit from the power of technical assessments to build high-performing teams.

Technical Assessments with Alooba – What Do You Get?

  • Alooba: Tests are graded automatically using predefined test cases, ensuring consistency and objectivity. This eliminates human bias and errors, providing a fair assessment for all candidates.

  • Your Own Test: Manual grading can be subjective and time-consuming, leading to inconsistencies and potential biases.

  • Alooba: Includes advanced cheating prevention mechanisms, such as AI text detection and proctoring features, to ensure the integrity of the test.

  • Your Own Test: Cheating can be harder to detect and prevent without specialised tools.

  • Alooba: Easily scales with your hiring needs, allowing you to administer tests to multiple candidates simultaneously without any additional administrative burden.

  • Your Own Test: Managing and grading tests for a large number of candidates can be overwhelming and resource-intensive.

  • Alooba: Offers extensive customisation options, including the ability to choose question difficulty, test duration, and feedback settings. You can also select from a vast library of expert-written questions or add your own.

  • Your Own Test: Customising tests can be more challenging and time-consuming, especially if you need to frequently update or modify questions.

  • Alooba: Provides a built-in, user-friendly coding environment where candidates can write, execute, and test their code seamlessly.

  • Your Own Test: May require candidates to use their own development tools, leading to inconsistencies and potential technical issues.

  • Alooba: Offers detailed analytics and insights into candidate performance, helping you identify strengths and weaknesses and make data-driven hiring decisions.

  • Your Own Test: Gathering and analysing performance data can be cumbersome and less comprehensive.

  • Alooba: Streamlines the entire hiring process, from test administration to grading and feedback, saving you time and resources.

  • Your Own Test: Manual processes can slow down your hiring pipeline, leading to longer time-to-hire.

  • Alooba: Provides a smooth and professional testing experience, with immediate feedback options and a clean, intuitive interface.

  • Your Own Test: Candidates might face technical difficulties or inconsistencies, leading to a less positive experience.

Make Assessments a Part of Your Hiring Process

Integrating Alooba’s assessments into your hiring process ensures that you accurately evaluate the candidate’s skills in a structured and unbiased manner. With our testing platform, you can automate your hiring efforts, save valuable time, and make data-driven hiring decisions.

Start using Alooba’s assessments today and elevate your hiring strategy.

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