In this day and age, jobs are getting a lot more specialized. It is becoming more and more important for businesses of all sizes to perform complicated skills tests to determine a possible hire’s aptitude for the job. If you are a tech start up that specializes in the development of smartphone applications you want to design a test to see if a possible employee has the technical coding knowledge to build and maintain apps. A prospective hire might sound great on paper, but when it comes to actually walking the walk, they might fail miserably. Here are some ways you can design a technical skills test for prospective employees.

For one, build the test yourself. You want to make the test as specific to the job title as possible. In addition, you don’t want to include a number of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers – you want to test out a possible employee, so it is important to include problems to solve and also require multiple word answers. Anybody can say that they know how to use a specific program, but can’t give a basic response to a specific scenario than they probably aren’t right for the job.

Next, when someone is on a search for information technology jobs, they will expect some type of test to gauge their proficiency. In this case, they might study before hand to cheat their way into a position. So it is important to make the test as difficult and as complicated as possible. Ask for abstract answers and responses to one in a million situations. This is a great way to weed out cheaters, but also a great way to hire the most knowledgeable and talented employees.

Also, it is important to consult a lawyer, because you don’t want the test to offend a possible candidate who can then turn around and sue your company. This kind of thing happens all the time. Someone is required to answer questions on an aptitude test and either they are disgruntled or the test is to hard, so they cry foul and slap your business with a lawsuit on the grounds that it doesn’t meet the equal opportunity standards. Have a lawyer look over the individual questions so that there is nothing too culturally insensitive. You also want to make sure everything is gender and race neutral.

Lastly, you want to have a neutral and comfortable setting where people can complete the test. In most cases you don’t want to perform the test at your actual office, because it could skew the results. Moreover, you want to time the test so that you aren’t moderating for up to 6 hours while people fill in their answers. A good amount of time is an hour to two hours. Anything less and you won’t get accurate results and anything more and you might be going overboard. And most importantly, don’t skimp on the time you take to look at the results. If you want to find the best employee you will go through the tests with a fine tooth comb.