I work sporadically as a programming contractor for a company that wants to hire its first full-time programmer. I was asked by the Director of Operations for guidance in the hiring and vetting process.

The recruitment services that they've used in the past have offered supposedly well-vetted candidates that couldn't hold their own in simple programming tasks (I have done several code-reviews for them in the past).

As I am unable to help in the hiring process, I would like to recommend a professional candidate vetting service of some kind, assuming such services exist.

The only thing that I've come up with through my Google searches is automated testing, like that offered by DevSkiller. While it looks like it's better than nothing, I'm sure that they would rather pay a real person to vet their candidates.

Do such services exist? Can anyone point me in the right direction?

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    Hey downvoter, this is my first question on this site. Any feedback on your downvote so I can learn to ask better questions here? – James Hill Dec 8 '16 at 13:47
  • Not the fownvoter, but: Requests for pointers to resources elsewhere are usually considered off-topic on SE. – keshlam Dec 8 '16 at 15:50
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    Isn't a recruiter or a service like this ultimately a conflict of interest? No one is going to put the personal touch into vetting someone like you will. The job of the recruiter is to find you candidates that meet your filters such as experience in C++, OpenGL, and delivered at least one game. Your job is to make sure this person fits your company's culture and demonstrates the skills you deem necessary for the position. Of course a recruiter can help you a bit with the last parts, but they get paid if you hire someone so they are going to send everyone over that fits most of those criteria. – The Muffin Man Dec 8 '16 at 21:26

I'm one of the founders at Devskiller. I don't want to promoted here, just wanted to help you with your question.

The problem that we found on the market is that there are a lot of companies that want to help you to source candidates, but have problems with checking their technical knowledge. Most of them just look through their CVs and call them to ask some questions about their previous projects. To vet candidates in the way you would like them too they would need to have a SME in each technology that they would check their skills and that would be very costly.

Devskiller was born out of frustration. we had actually the same problems as you mentioned because what was available on the market just verified algorithmic knowledge. We wasted a lot of time vetting people if they are real programming problem solvers in certain technologies. IMHO we achieved our goal, but off course, you would have to try it yourself to see if that is the thing that you are looking for.

If you have any questions just let me know.

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    I hope your company is dev-skiller and not devs-killer :-( – gnasher729 Dec 10 '16 at 22:18

I was actually hired using a coding test from Codality. From my perspective as a entry-level developer, it was actually a huge boon, as solving the test questions accurately gave me a huge confidence boost going into the interview. It also gave my interviewer questions to ask about the one error I did make--I was able to look at the submitted code and quickly suss out where I probably went wrong now that I had the more detailed reports on the errors (the initial test only makes the percentage score visible to candidates).

The other jobs I interviewed for focused more on technical definitions of terms, and the only whiteboarding problems were almost insultingly simple (write a for loop that counts from 1 to 100, fizzbuzz). I found that most of the people involved in the interview process in the other places asked questions that were too specific to their particular implementation used at their shop.

So, in summary I would say coding tests seem to be a great help to interviewer and interviewee alike. It allowed me to highlight my real world approach to coding (Codality includes a neat feature where the interviewer can watch a recording of the interviewee actually write the code, so you can get a good idea of the initial approach and any edits and refactoring they do along the way) while giving the interviewer plenty of specific questions to ask about why I chose a certain approach. It certainly showed what type of programmer I was better than just being asked to regurgitate what "SOLID" stands for. It gave me a huge boost of confidence both entering and exiting the interview, and I was called back the next day with an offer, so I assume it made their decision much easier.

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    Fizzbuzz is supposed to be insultingly simple - if you're competent. However, I've seen a lot of self-proclaimed "experts" fail that test. – Dan Pichelman Dec 9 '16 at 15:36

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