How to Test Candidates’ Coding Skills Using Hatchways

You are reading the inaugural article unveiling the distinctive features of our technical assessment partners. These partners are part of the YouTeam Ecosystem—a curated catalog of powerful apps and solutions for engineering managers, CTOs, and finance executives.

Today, we delve into the challenges of technical interviewing, criteria for selecting the right candidates, and testing developers’ coding skills using Hatchways.

Short summary:

To choose the best candidates, our marketplace conducts technical screening of developers, assessing their behavior in a working environment, not just their theoretical knowledge. We have tested several platforms and adapted them to meet the specific needs of our clients. This article discusses why we chose Hatchways as one of our coding test platforms.

Part 1: Selecting a tech skills screening platform

When our clients request experienced candidates, our partner agencies may submit numerous developer profiles for a specific role. Our task is to curate a shortlist of those who best meet the requirements before showing these profiles to the client.

youteam vetting process

Image caption: YouTeam vetting process: Verifying the quality of our partner agencies and their talent.

Given the increased availability of candidates in the market, clients have become more selective, prioritizing developers who are fluent in English and have a product-oriented mindset. However, the main criterion is that the developer must fulfill all the technical requirements for the project. Our clients can test candidates’ technical prowess using their own tools. However, some companies don’t have pre-made tests.

This is where YouTeam uses tech skills screening software.

How does YouTeam choose a platform for technical screening? We contact them, request a demo, and have our internal development team test the platforms, tailoring the coding tasks to their experience levels.

We partner with platforms that provide real-world tasks. In the next section about Hatchways, you’ll learn more about these tasks, which include code review, finding bugs, adding features, and composing work-related communication.

We don’t use algorithmic and mathematical problems commonly associated with academic competitions. While these problems can showcase a developer’s IQ and theoretical understanding of a specific technology stack, it is hands-on software projects that truly uncover their behavior in a real work environment. In the next chapter, we’ll take a look at the Hatchways platform, which we found to be a good fit for our requirements. 

Part 2: Hatchways

Hatchways offers two types of tasks: submitting a pull request and code review, with no time limit for completion. The key advantages of using Hatchways include automated tests and human review options. In addition, their customer support assists in selecting tests that match your requirements. Most importantly, Hatchways assessments accurately reflect developer behavior in a real-world environment. However, the primary drawback of Hatchways is its comparatively small library of pre-built tests. Let’s dive into more details.

What are the advantages of using Hatchways?

Hatchways helps to find tests that best match your inquiry

It features Slack support, where you can ask for help to find the assessment based on specific parameters, such as technical stack, developer seniority level, and experience. In response, Hatchways support offers a selection of tests that match your request. Even non-technical people in our team can make such queries, and it proved to be effective.

If there is no matching pre-built assessment in their catalog, you can add your own test or ask Hatchways to build one for you.

A more practical and time-efficient alternative to lengthy assessments

Most candidates are not ready to spend time on complex, hours-long tests when they haven’t even talked to the hiring company yet. Hatchways offers code review tests that take up to 1 hour to complete. Moreover, in addition to an exhaustive description of each test, Hatchways points out common pitfalls candidates face in the assessment.

Performing a code review is much easier than writing code from scratch, and more importantly, it’s a typical task for senior developers, whom our clients are looking for most often. Developers of this level often need to immerse themselves in the existing codebase, looking for bugs, errors, and areas for improving code efficiency and system functionality.

Automated tests and human reviews

At Hatchways, code tasks undergo automated testing, which is already included in the subscription price. For example, if a developer successfully passes 11 out of 12 automated tests, the hiring company doesn’t need to manually check the code. However, if the results of automated tests are questionable, Hatchways offers a technical specialist for a manual code review at an additional cost.

Why opt for human code review when automated tests don’t yield the desired results? Developers might interpret tasks slightly differently, and even with correct logic, automated checks may not capture nuances. Therefore, companies should not disqualify a developer solely based on automated results. Instead, they can further clarify the task requirements and expected outcomes.

Developers use tools they are comfortable with

The Hatchways practical assessment philosophy implies being as close to the real-world scenario as possible. The platform creators believe that when developers use their own environments, it allows them to use workflows they are familiar with and provides a more accurate representation of their abilities and behaviors.

A standardized grading system

Hatchways has a consistent, standardized grading system that helps companies eliminate subjectivity in hiring and compare different candidates more fairly.

What are the drawbacks of using Hatchways?

A limited library of pre-built tests

The main drawback of Hatchways is its small library of pre-built tests. If you can’t find a suitable pre-built test, you need to compile your own tasks and use the Hatchways environment and functionality solely to organize the assessment process. Alternatively, you can ask Hatchways to help you build a custom test.

Hatchways lacks an online coding environment

Developers may need more time to set up the environment on their own computers. This can be inconvenient; for example, installing a database can take several hours if the developer doesn’t work with that particular database regularly. Companies should take this into account during the interview process.

Final thoughts

Hatchways is an affordable, customer-friendly solution for screening candidates’ coding skills that allows both automated tests and manual reviews. Their support representatives help hiring companies to select tests that best match their requests, while the platform’s standardized grading system eliminates subjectivity in the hiring process. Most importantly, it offers real-world tasks, uncovering developer behavior in a work environment.

Hatchways is a technical interview platform that provides real-world coding assessments with the following features:

  • Pre-built and custom code assessments, covering code reviews, feature additions, and bug fixes.
  • Automated tests and the option to have tasks checked by a technical specialist.
  • Assessments run through GitHub repositories, allowing applicants to use familiar tools.
  • Integration with applicant tracking systems (ATS) such as Lever, Greenhouse, and Ashby.

Hatchways is a member of the YouTeam Ecosystem, a community of trusted partners. Explore exclusive offers and discover other partners in the Technical Skills Screening category.

“Having Hatchways to conduct contractor interviews was massively helpful. As a startup founder, my time is already deeply constrained. Having a set of high-quality assessments to choose from along with a quick overview on how to evaluate solutions was really useful. On top of this, Hatchways does a great job of consolidating candidate progress through the submission process and uses existing tools like GitHub to make submission reviews a breeze”.

Arvind Sontha, Co-Founder & CEO at Kyber, a conversational AI for insurance

Written by
Rita Bodnarchuk

IT outsourcing industry executive with 9 years of experience in tech recruitment. Previously — Lviv branch manager and Poland recruitment manager at Ciklum, a global Digital Solutions Company for Fortune 500. Specialization: technical recruitment, HR, IT outsourcing management. Currently, Rita is Chief Executive Officer at YouTeam.

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