A Real Interview Result

We’ve been studying lemon markets lately. HR departments simply can not understand every role in the organization, so they hire recruiters.

But let’s be honest about the standard for recruiters.

A good recruiter knows that JavaScript is in the browser and “not compiled” and the Java is, well, different, and is compiled. Or whatever.

If recruiters are going to be paid to find candidates, they should add value. At Excelon Development, we claim to do this in three simple ways.

One. We are actually able to assess competence. That requires expertise in both assessment, and subject matter expertise in a discipline.

Two. We have access to a variety of candidates and candidate sources. While plenty of companies have this, we are unique in one way.

Three. Our candidates have heard of us and trust us.

That third one is a high bar.

If you are hiring manager, this is why we would like you to trust us.

A Real Candidate AssessmentAssessment

Do your recruiters provide you with this?

(Name) worked at (Client) where I trained their QA group (dates) (full time on site long term coaching). After (client) she later went on to work at (company) as a mobile tester, which has  a large (client) contingent. I know their test approach and style. In addition, she funded herself to take James Bach’s Rapid Testing Intensive (RTI) online course, which covers the kind of exploratory testing (name) tells me you are pursuing at (newclient). I assessed (names) skills using a web-based exercise that simulates testing under conditions of ambiguity, uncertainty, and time pressure.


(Name) did considerably better than most testers who take the exercise, I would put her in the 90th percentile. She found all the major problems quickly and also engaged well with the developer and product owner, who are deliberately designed to be confrontational and non-helpful – the person taking the test needs to discover the information on their own, negotiate effectively, and deal with conflict constructively. Most importantly, she showed an attention to detail. Her approach to solving problems that are deliberate confrontation was clear, plain-spoken, with good boundaries but collaborative. Most impressive was how fast she found the major problems, including minor typos, which some people miss or find late in the process. She found them as soon as they displayed on the screen, demonstrating attention to detail. She was able to describe and defend her process and approach in a way that stands up to scrutiny.


Asked to debug  a technical problem, she did not demonstrate expertise (secret sauce), but I didn’t think that would be required given her (platform) experience for an application that is (platform). She did not demonstrate expertise in load testing at scale,  but, again I didn’t think that was a requirement. She failed to clarify a deliberately ambiguous statement that could have led to a production problem. She /did/ notice it, ask for clarification, and perform a single push-back that I replied to in an ambiguous way. That is, she did three steps out of four, while I put pressure on her to stop. In our experience, less than 5% of the candidates taking the test continue to push to clarify the issue.

Minuses for the evaluator:

I failed to ask if you would describe your environment as collaborative, consensus-driven, or expertise/competency driven, as a I would have tweaked the test. I performed a test that addressed all three, but would probably be most instructive for a competence-based culture.

The Bottom Line

If the best interview is an audition, we just tried out.

At Excelon we’ve been finding the competent but under-represented for nearly a decade. If you are not currently getting this quality of assessment from your candidates and contractors, well, that’s easy enough to change.


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