Core Concepts

Before we get started with the Qualified platform, let's cover the concepts involved. This will serve as a nice overview of what the platform is about, and will help you understand how it all fits together as you work your way through the docs.


A candidate is anyone being assessed by the platform. This could be anyone from an applicant applying for a job, an employee being up-skilled in a training program, a student in a coding boot-camp, or a developer looking to certify themselves.

A candidate is introduced into the system once they take an assessment.


An assessment is one or more tasks (which we call challenges) that are given to a candidate to assess them on their ability. A candidate can be invited to a private assessment, or can be given a link to register themselves to take a public assessment. Multiple assessments can be sent to candidates, which is often done in a serial manner, but it doesn't have to be.

Assessments can be open-ended, or restricted so that they must be completed in a certain amount of time.

Interact Sessions

An interact session is an assessment which can be collaborated on. For those looking to conduct pair programming sessions with candidates, interact sessions are what you are looking for. We will discuss interact sessions in more detail later.


A challenge is an assessment task which can be given to a candidate. A challenge can either be a coding task or set of non-coding questions that a candidate must complete. There are many predefined challenges within the system that you can use to build your own assessments. You can also create your own challenges, either from scratch, using one of our starter templates, or by customizing one of the existing challenges within the Qualified challenge library.

Different Types of Challenges

Code Based Challenges

There are two types of coding challenges on the Qualified platform. They each offer advantages over each other. Before we jump into describing each, let's quickly touch on some popular aspects that all coding challenge types share.

  • Code Playback: When a candidate takes a coding challenge, everything they do is recorded so that it can be played back later. This allows your team to review the coding session later, providing you the opportunity see their thought process as they solve a challenge. You can even speed up the playback, and pause it at any point and click around the code.
  • Unit Testing: Coding challenges are tested/scored using real unit testing frameworks. This means you can test code with code, and this opens up a lot of opportunity for how you might want to verify that a solution is a good one.

Classic Code Challenges

A Classic Code Challenge is our most simple form of coding challenge. It focuses on giving the candidate a single file to solve a task in. This format works well for basic coding tasks, where there is typically a method/function stub which needs to be completed. For anyone familiar with, or other coding platforms, this will be a familiar format.

While the next type of coding challenge is now the recommended approach, there are still a few good reasons for utilizing Classic Coding Challenges:

  • They allow you to configure multiple languages for the task, so that the candidate can choose which language they wish to use to solve it.
  • They don't involve a file tree, and can be very effective if you only wish to test someone on a very simple/straight-forward single file task.

Project Code Challenges

A Project Code Challenge is our newest and now recommended approach to testing developers on their ability to code. It provides a format that that is more capable and flexible, allowing you to test for coding tasks that involve multiple files. Back-end and Front-end web development tasks, using frameworks such as React and Ruby on Rails, are good fits for project based challenge. This challenge format also offers a number of unique configuration options, such as hiding certain files from candidates, or allowing them to see the file but not edit it.


We generally recommend using project code challenges over the classic format. There are however two reasons why you would not want to select this format:

  • You want to be able to code pair with candidates within an interactive coding session.
  • You want to give candidate's the ability to choose between different languages to take the challenge in.

Q&A Code Challenges

Question & Answer challenges allow you to configure one or more multiple choice and/or free-text questions. These challenges are similar to traditional tests—though within Qualified they are often used for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few ways that they can be utilized:

  • Testing technical knowledge
  • Surveying and automatically scoring how well a candidate might fit within a given role (Job fit)
  • Follow-up questions to a coding challenge
  • Asking candidates to give a code review to multiple excerpts of code
  • Administering written interview questions
  • Non-coding based work samples, such as replying to an email, a research task, or an analysis task

While Q&A challenges only offer two questions types, these question types are much more powerful than they may initially seem.

Multiple Choice Questions

Multiple choice questions can be configured with the following options:

  • Single choice
  • Multiple choice with a fixed choice count
  • Multiple choice with a non-fixed choice count
  • Weighted single choice, where some choices are more correct than others
  • Weighted multiple choice, where some choices are more correct than others

Free-Text Questions

Free text questions can be configured to expect written text, or code. In code mode, code is not executed, but it is formatted for the candidate. Regular expressions or simple string matchers can be configured to test for keywords within the answer. You can configure multiple matchers, and give different weights to each.

Assessment Results

You will sometimes see references to something called an assessment result. This is simply the result of the candidate taking an assessment.

AssessmentActs as the "blank" test blueprintClassic Code ChallengeProject Code ChallengeQ & A ChallengeStores the result of taking the assessmentAssessment ResultClassic Code SolutionProject Code SolutionQ & A SolutionParts of an Assessment


Similarly, you may sometimes see references to solutions. This is simply the candidate's solution to a challenge. As each candidate starts to solve a challenge associated to an assessment, a solution will be created on their corresponding assessment result.

Qualified Library

Qualified provides a set of pre-defined challenges that you can use within your assessment. Each of these are available within our library. When you use a challenge within the Qualified library, it will actually be imported as a copy into your team's library, where you can freely edit the challenge, duplicate it and tweak it, or use it as a building block for building a completely different challenge.

Challenges within our library sometimes get updates. If you import a challenge from the Qualified library, you have the option to not change it and keep it linked, so that any minor updates that are published by Qualified will be automatically synced to your copy.

Keep in mind that your subscription level may not have access to every challenge within the library. If you are on a trial, you will only have access to small subset of the complete library.

Team Library

This is where your own challenges are kept. Any challenge you import from the Qualified library, or any challenge you create from scratch or from a template, will be kept here. All team members have access to this library, and to each challenge created within it.

Challenge Templates

When creating a new challenge, you will be given the option to create it from a template. Templates are starting points to help you get started with a specific language or technology. Classic Code Challenges and Q&A challenges also have bare templates, with nothing added to them—if you wish to completely start from scratch.

Something to keep in mind, you can start building a challenge from a template—but you can also use any available challenge within the library as a starting point. You can also use any challenge you have created as a starting point, allowing you to define your own templates to build on.

Assessment Templates

When creating a new assessment, you will have the option to choose a pre-existing template. These templates are some recommended assessments that can get you started quickly. You are free to customize the settings or challenges on any of your assessments, including those created from a template.

Team Members

A team member is a user of the system which is able to view candidates. Any users you setup on your account will be a team member. Candidates on the other hand, have their own individual accounts, which are not part of your team.