No one can deny that recruiting tech talent is challenging. It can feel like there is a shortage of available programmers in the market, and the good ones get hired before you can get to them. That’s why it is so important to consider everyone you connect with, and the best way to optimize your recruiting efforts is by screening the best ones. It’s essential to increasing your overall candidate quality.

This is where coding tests can help your IT recruitment process. However, the tests have to be the right ones. The best approach is when coding tests resemble the “1st day at work experience”: where you replicate what a candidate would have to do at your company.

But here’s the key: If you choose the wrong programming test, it might not give you a good return on your investment, and even hurt your brand (where candidates won’t have a good apply experience because the test isn’t correct).

Based on talks with candidates, here are 5 essential tactics to recruit tech talent:

1. You cannot afford to miss a single valuable candidate

The war for tech talent is real. Given a shortage of programmers on the market, technical recruiters cannot miss a single valuable candidate. If recruiters have any hunch that a candidate will perform well in a role, it’s worth checking out. Find a way to do it intelligently, and not waste too much of your employee’s time. Your recruiters and engineers already have a lot on their plate.

That’s why more than ever, companies choose to test all of their applicants with online coding tests. It’s a fast and effective way of screening for technical skills. This way, you will not only identify the “pearls” of talent, but also the “diamonds in the rough” that you would miss otherwise.

2. Recruit fast, you don’t have time to lose

Because competition for tech talent is high, the best programmers are getting hired fast. So if your recruiting process is bloated with too many steps before you even make an offer, your candidate may have already moved on. So to not lose your candidate, make sure to streamline your IT recruitment process: screen fast and accurately. Don’t let others steal them from under your nose! Reducing time-to-hire matters a lot.

Usually, screening is the longest recruiting stage. Looking through resumes, conducting phone or video interviews, and arranging on-site interviews takes a lot of time. Although coding tests mainly support tech recruiters within a screening stage, using a test like DevSkiller streamlines the whole recruitment process, and brings positive returns to your other recruiting phases.

3. Knowledge of a programming language is not enough

For example: if you’re looking for a Java developer, and you think “if somebody knows Java then it should work out… right?” Not so fast! The reality is that just knowing a programming language is not enough. In fact, a knowledge of tools, frameworks, and libraries is often much more valuable than knowledge of the language itself. Without an understanding of the environment around a language, a developer will struggle to code everything from scratch and make the development time much longer. If a programmer is familiar with libraries and frameworks then they can use it like Lego pieces to make what they need, and write original code only where it is necessary. This is a much more efficient way to work.

Make sure to choose a coding test which will allow you to not only test the programming language you’re searching for, but also a candidate’s knowledge of frameworks and libraries that you use.

It is even more effective to create your own assessments using your own code base. This way, you can test candidate’s skills in a real workday environment.

4. Test developers skills in natural environment with real programming challenges

The best way to test programmer’s skills is to verify them in natural environment: by letting them solve a programming challenge in the way they would normally do at work. Prepare for them for an open-book exam: let them use external sources and their favorite IDE (integrated development environment), just as they would use on a daily basis. There’s no need to create artificial barriers here. The best programmers are not the ones that learn everything by heart, but the one that knows how to use the knowledge that is already available, and is able to build their best solution on the top.

A good way is to challenge a programmer’s skills with tests based on your company’s code base. Only then will you see if there is a fit between the company’s needs and the developer’s skills.

5. Use Code review challenges to evaluate a candidate’s familiarity of design patterns and coding practices

Coding tests can also include tasks with code review challenges. This is to verify programming skills that would be useful in working with the team. Code review tests give very accurate results about a developer’s experience, their approach to code quality, and efficiency of debugging and finding traps. Code review challenges should be obligatory when recruiting senior developers.

With these tips, and using assessments from sites like DevSkiller, you can send online coding assessments easily, imitate a first day at work experience, and get a faster time to hire quickly and easily.