Software Engineer Test

Software engineer tests are designed to assess candidates' knowledge of core software engineering principles, and identify whether they possess the level of skill required for the role.

  • What is a software engineer test?

    A software engineer is responsible for creating, maintaining and improving computer software. A software engineer's action is often guided by a company's internal and external deliverables.

    A software engineer test evaluates the strength of a candidate's understanding of critical software engineering principles. It also assesses their overall aptitude for the role, looking at skills including technical competency, knowledge of computer systems, linear and non-linear data structures, and their ability to determine the best algorithmic solution.

    The software engineer test will ask a number of multiple-choice questions based on these core skills to help employers identify the best applicants. By scoring highly on this test, a candidate demonstrates a proficient understanding of relevant software engineering skills and is likely to be a productive team member.

About the Software Engineer Test

Software engineers work in constantly evolving environments, taking technological advances in their stride to meet the strategic needs of a business. The role covers writing diagnostic programs, as well as designing and writing code to ensure efficiency within systems and processes.

This test assesses a candidate's competency in core skills required to perform in a software engineer role without being specific to any one computer language. This will ensure the most qualified candidates are shortlisted.

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  • Why should you use a software engineer test for recruiting?

    Shortlisting candidates based on resumes is difficult, as many applicants may claim similar skill levels, and you can't validate their listed experience. It's a challenge to decipher who the strongest candidates would be in practice – but you can't personally interview every applicant.

    A software engineer test removes this obstacle and gives employers the ability to distribute skills tests to any number of candidates. The comparative data you receive will give an insight into how suitable each candidate is, making the hiring process more efficient.

    The test will highlight the level of understanding a candidate has of core software engineering principles and computer science while measuring their logical thinking, problem-solving, technical expertise, creativity, and communication skills using a series of multiple-choice aptitude questions.

    A software engineer test could be useful for the following roles:

    • Software development engineer
    • Front-end engineer
    • Back-end engineer
    • Full-stack engineer
    • Systems engineer
    • Product engineer
    • Machine learning engineer
    • Quality Assurance (QA) engineer
    • DevOps engineer
    • Security engineer
    • Software integration engineer
    • Data engineer
    • Programmer
Picked Sample Report

View a sample report

Results for the Software Engineer Test along with other assessments the candidate takes will be compiled to produce a candidate report. The report is automatically generated and available both online and as a downloadable pdf so they can be shared with other team members and employees alike.

How our test assesses software engineering skills

Candidates will need to answer a range of questions that measure industry-specific technical skills where applicable (e.g. programming), soft skills (e.g. teamwork), aptitude (e.g. error checking) and relevant personality dimensions (e.g. detail orientation). The results present a holistic view of how well suited each candidate is for the job at hand, using a data-driven approach.

The format varies by type of question, including multiple-choice for aptitude and technical skills, situational judgement for soft skills and agreement on a Likert scale for the personality dimensions. This approach ensures candidates are being assessed in an accurate and fair manner, and that results reflect the true underlying qualities of each candidate.

The characteristics, abilities and knowledge necessary to be an accountant were identified using the US Department of Labor's comprehensive O*NET database. O*NET is the leading source of occupational information that is constantly updated by collecting data from employees in specific job roles.

During the development process, test questions were rigorously analysed to maximise reliability and validity in line with industry best practices. They were created by our team of I/O psychologists and psychometricians – who collaborated with subject-matter-experts – and field-tested with a representative sample of job applicants who have varying experience, just like you might find in a talent pool.

Each test is reviewed by a panel of individuals representing diverse backgrounds to check for any sensitivity, fairness, face validity and accessibility issues. This ensures each candidate has a fair chance of demonstrating their true level of expertise.

Our software engineer test is monitored to ensure it is up-to-date and optimised for performance.


Predictor of job success

Picked provides evidence-based recommendations for tests to use for over 750 jobs. Our recommendation engine leverages data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) developed by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).


Access real assessments

Instant access to our full testing suite.

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    Fully accredited

    All our Software Engineer tests are written by accredited psychologists and fully validated.

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    For all levels

    We offer Software Engineer tests for all levels so you can assess all roles within your organisation.


Energize selection process

Streamline hiring with our out-of-the-box tools.

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    Smart automations

    Automated actions such as alerts and reminders ensure a smooth candidate experience.

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    Instant results

    Receive candidate results in real-time so you can make decisions in hours, not days.


Make better hires

Improve hiring with bias-free, data-driven decisions.

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    Analytics dashboard

    Our full array of candidate performance metrics will provide actionable data on each of your candidates.

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    Candidate comparison

    Simple, easy-to-use candidate comparison reports mean you don’t need to be a psychologist to interpret them.

“We used Picked as part of our Finance Graduate Scheme recruitment and it was just what we needed – really simple to send candidates the link to complete and clear to see how they all compared. And great value for money!”
Christina, HR Director, Cancer Research, UK
Christina, HR Director, Cancer Research, UK
Software Engineer Test expert

Written by a Software Engineer Test expert

Our team of assessment experts is made up of I/O psychologists and psychometricians who are dedicated to making all of our tests as reliable, valid and fair as possible. They strictly adhere to best practices in the industry and stay on top of the latest innovations to ensure job candidates’ unique profiles of characteristics, abilities and knowledge are being measured accurately while minimising bias. They leverage decades of research and advanced predictive analytics to build assessments that link to outcomes that matter, such as job performance, turnover, engagement, culture fit and more.

“Personality profiling allowed us to perform lookalike modelling of our most successful employees and use this as a blueprint for new hires.”
Nick, HR Operations, Airbus, Spain
Nick, HR Operations, Airbus, Spain


What are the key skills for a software engineer?

The key skills required to be successful in a software engineer role include:

  • Excellent knowledge of current computer systems
  • High technical competency
  • Can communicate complex scenarios to non-technical people
  • Methodical and organised
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Strong problem-solving and logical thinking skills
  • Independent and collaborative worker
  • Creativity and curiosity to learn new solutions
When in the application process is it best to use a software engineer test?

The test is best used at the beginning of the application process, either before creating an initial shortlist or following it to better prepare for in-person interviews. The software engineer test will highlight candidates that possess the highest level of relevant skills.

What is the cost for Picked's software engineer test?

Picked operates on a monthly or annual subscription basis. We have several plans to suit your hiring needs, which you can check out here. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us to discuss a custom plan.

Can I get a free trial?

Yes, simply sign up (no credit card is required) and we'll give you unlimited access for seven days. Create as many jobs and test as many candidates as you want; you won't be charged a penny.

“Focusing on data reduced the subjective decision making from our hiring process and allowed us to reduce bias and make better hiring decisions.”
Izzie, Head of HR, iZettle, Sweden
Izzie, Head of HR, iZettle, Sweden

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