Testing is commonly done in interviews, but is it necessarily a good thing? Not particularly. There are many reasons as to why testing during an interview can come across to the candidate as a red flag. Requiring tests during an interview will not necessarily give you the best candidate and may turn some highly qualified candidates away. Keep reading to gain insight as to why testing may not be serving your recruitment efforts well and how you can improve your interview process to win top talent in the game industry.
Standardized Tests Limit Your Candidate Pool
Everyone has a different talent, specialty, or area of expertise. There are many things that people have in common, but there is always something to set one apart from the rest. When tests are given, they often are looking for a person that fits into a very narrow category. Tests do not capture variation, as people do not respond the same way to tests. Someone may have a different perspective on the question, and with a test, you are unable to see that. In the end, diverse teams produce better results. Hiring a team of people that think exactly alike will not help your business grow or flourish. Instead of searching for a candidate through a mold, it is more beneficial to hire those with unique abilities and views to set your overall business apart from others.
Testing Can Be Perceived as Disingenuous
Asking someone with mid to senior level experience in the industry to take a test may come off as disingenuous or disrespectful to the candidate. This is not only disingenuous to their time but can be perceived as disrespectful because it assumes they do not possess an understanding of the industry or knowledge from past experiences. 51% of workers who are currently employed are either actively seeking, or open to new job opportunities. Therefore, most candidates will start interviewing for their next role while still in their present one. These candidates will be working 40 or more hours a week, which means they generally do not have time to complete all of these tests. A portfolio of previous projects and capabilities should suffice, in addition to uncovering their involvement and technical skillset for each project during the interview.
Some employers have said that about 90% of their candidates dislike the take-home technical tests as an interviewing technique and would rather meet for a face-to-face interview as they believe it’s more practical and more time efficient. This shows the culture of the company and also shows commitment from the employer’s end.
Tests Do Not Represent Soft Skills like Adaptability
When looking for the perfect candidate, you want someone who is able to adapt to new and changing environments, especially in the gaming industry where things are evolving at rapid speeds. Yes, standardized tests can be good at assessing if someone is being truthful and that they have done their research, but this does not determine how able someone is to learn and grow in the future. The interviewer is going to need to do a lot more than a test to find out who their perfect candidate is and if they will be a strong contributor to your team in the long run. You may give the candidate the perfect test for the industry’s current state, but this does not determine how they react to a changing environment. With new advancements and constant evolution in the industry, you would most likely get better results with a standard, test-free interview. For a junior level candidate, a test may be worthwhile. But, for someone who has years of experience, asking them to provide an assortment of samples as well as asking specific technical questions should be sufficient.
Testing Considered Free Work
Some organizations have historically used these tests as a way to get free work on current projects and candidates have become savvy to this. Tests are often given to the interviewee before any sort of formal offer is made. So, if that specific candidate is not chosen, the company is now able to use the completed work without paying that individual.
If your organization is still relying solely on testing to find top talent, it is time for new, updated hiring processes. In the gaming industry, many companies have made the decision to move away from testing, and have their candidates work together to solve a mystery or puzzle. This is a less intimidating way of seeing how people work together and how they handle the situation. Instead of asking them to complete assignments and answer test questions, you could also ask them to play an online game for a few minutes. This is a very fun, short process, fitting for the job, and provides other benefits to the interviewer like helping build diverse teams and reducing the time it takes to hire.
Overall, standard testing protocols during the interview process may not give a full view of the candidate’s ability. Companies looking to hire, especially those that require creativity and innovation, should use testing sparingly in order to keep the focus on the potential of the candidate and their abilities.
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