When hiring front-end developers, there are many ways to evaluate candidates’ skills and abilities. However, some assessment methods can be exclusionary, while others may not accurately reflect the type of work the candidate will do.
In this article, we’ll explore some efficient ways to test front-end developer hires without relying on coding puzzles and algorithms and how to be mindful of inclusivity.
I come from a self-taught background, a time when self-taught invited increased scrutiny because being self-taught in the early to mid-00s wasn’t as common as it is now. We have numerous online courses, boot camps and other resources. When I learned to code, these thick phonebook-like books that came with one or more CD-ROM discs with software and code examples were how many learned.
Pair programming is an excellent way to assess a front-end developer’s skills. This involves the candidate and an interviewer working together on a coding problem or feature. The interviewer can observe the candidate’s thought process, coding style, and communication skills while providing real-time guidance and feedback.
This method provides a more accurate representation of the type of work the candidate will do. It also allows the interviewer to understand the candidate’s problem-solving and collaboration skills. As long as the paired programming is relevant to the position and not made up coding puzzles, it’s quite effective.
With the rise of AI tools that can help candidates fake answers to algorithm questions and take-home projects, pair programming can accurately tell you a candidate’s skill level.
Code review is an excellent method for assessing a candidate’s ability to work collaboratively with others and can help you identify candidates who can deliver high-quality work.
Another way to evaluate a front-end developer’s skills is to ask them to review an existing codebase and provide feedback or suggestions. This can help you gauge their understanding of coding best practices, attention to detail, and ability to identify and fix issues in code.
Now, something to be aware of here depends on the complexity and structure of your codebase; it might be difficult for a candidate to provide feedback without the context or prior domain knowledge of how things piece together.
A discussion-based assessment involves asking the candidate about their approach to specific front-end development tasks, their understanding of various front-end technologies, or their experience with specific tools or frameworks.
This method can help you evaluate a candidate’s broader understanding of front-end development and ability to communicate their ideas effectively. Additionally, a discussion-based assessment can be done remotely, which can be a more inclusive evaluation method.
You can tell much about a person based on how they speak about a subject. It’s a red flag if you discuss with someone and they can’t provide you with at least one in-depth opinion on something related to their field of expertise, especially if you let them choose what to talk about.
Project-based assessments involve providing the candidate with a real-world project that aligns with the work they would be doing if hired. While project-based assessments can present challenges and barriers for some candidates, they can also effectively evaluate front-end developers.
This can give you a better sense of their ability to practically apply their front-end development skills. However, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential barriers to this assessment method, such as candidates not having the time or resources to complete the project.
Inclusivity and consideration
When evaluating front-end developer candidates, it’s essential to consider the impact of your assessment methods on different candidates. Some assessment methods, such as requiring candidates to spend their free time working on take-home projects, may be exclusionary. Therefore, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential barriers and to make accommodations for candidates with other responsibilities outside of work.
When designing your hiring process, it’s essential to have a clear set of evaluation criteria and a consistent process for assessing candidates. This can help ensure that you’re evaluating candidates fairly and consistently. It’s also essential to be open to alternative assessment methods that can be more inclusive and effective, such as pair programming or discussion-based assessments.
There are many ways to evaluate front-end developer candidates that don’t rely on coding puzzles and algorithms. By using various assessment methods and being mindful of how they impact different candidates, you can create a more inclusive hiring process that allows you to evaluate candidates effectively while supporting diversity and inclusivity in your workplace.
The upside to all of these ways of hiring is they are remote-friendly and more realistic. Unless you’re hiring the candidate to write algorithms all day, maybe don’t ask those questions, or you risk losing quality talent. Not all developers are equal. Some are academically minded, and others are more practical.