SQL Test

SQL tests are designed to help employers evaluate a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the SQL programming language.


What is an SQL test?

An SQL programming test is used as part of the recruiting process for many types of roles - especially those where database building, maintenance and usage are important.

For the recruitment team, applying an SQL test as a specific stage in recruitment, following the paper sift helps ensure that the candidates chosen to go through to the interview stage have the right level of proficiency to be successful in the role.

This takes some of the human element of recruiting away from the process - reducing unconscious bias in the data gathering, and removing a lot of the costs that the traditional way of finding new employees can incur. For roles that need certain competencies, knowledge, and levels of skill, the SQL test is a simple-to-administer way of finding the best candidates from a large and unwieldy talent pool.

About the SQL Test

The SQL test is a programming assessment that goes through all the necessary skills and knowledge, that are needed to confidently and competently use the language and manage databases.

The SQL assessment asks questions that are designed to test a candidate based on their skill in using the right syntax in creating queries, including clauses and operators. Candidates need to be able to perform all of the tasks including the insertion, updating, and deletion of records, retrieving data, and sorting information.

It is a simple test that can be completed by the candidate at home and in their own time, with an easy-to-read report that demonstrates the candidates’ ability to use SQL, giving the recruitment team objective and quantifiable data to use when selecting the applicants to take forward.

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Why should you use an SQL test for recruiting?

Posting a job that needs SQL programming knowledge can lead to hundreds of potential applicants sending in their CVs and filling in application forms. Even after comparing these candidates to the criteria needed for the role, there can still be dozens of similarly qualified options to choose from.

Taking these candidates through to costly interviews would be an expense in terms of time and money, and for the recruitment team, this is one key performance indicator that needs to be met - reducing the cost per hire.

By inserting an SQL programming test into the early stages of the recruitment process, applicants can prove that they have what it takes to be successful by answering work-related questions and working through job-specific problems. This test has been created to be easy to share with multiple candidates all at the same time - just through an email link.

For the candidate, the questions that are asked are based on relevant scenarios, and for those with the right skills and knowledge, they are relatively easy, too.

Adding the SQL test to the recruitment process is a simple way to reduce the cost per hire in a number of roles, including:

  • Database administrator
  • Data analyst
  • Data scientist
  • BI Developer/Administrator
  • Solutions Architect
  • ETL Developer

As SQL is accepted as the standard programming language for use with Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMs) like Microsoft Access, MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle, it could be considered one of the most valuable skills for data management.

Using the SQL test means that the applicants that are taken forward to the interview stage have already proven they have the right level of skill, competency and knowledge to be successful if hired.

Sample SQL Test question

Which SQL statement is used to select specific columns from a table?

  • SELECT * FROM table_name

  • SELECT column_name FROM table_name

  • INSERT INTO table_name (column_name)

  • UPDATE table_name SET column_name = value

View a sample report

Results for the SQL 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.

Neuroworx Sample Report

How our test assesses SQL skills

In Neuroworx’s SQL test, candidates will need to answer a range of questions targeting an intermediate level of proficiency, from SQL query analysis to fixing bugs.

The test is designed to indicate how well a candidate understands SQL based on a final test score, which can then be compared to the scores of other applicants.

The multiple-choice questions consist of one correct answer and two to four distractors. The distractors are mostly generic mistakes or misconceptions, which makes the test challenging and helps measure a candidate’s proficiency more accurately.

During the development process, the test was rigorously analysed to maximise reliability and validity in line with industry best practices. It was created and tested by programmers and psychometric experts, and field-tested with a representative sample of job applicants who have varying SQL 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 programmer has a fair chance of demonstrating their true level of SQL proficiency and feels the test is of high quality.

Our programming tests are monitored to ensure they are up-to-date and optimised for performance.


Predictor of job success

Neuroworx 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.

  • Fully accredited

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

  • For all levels

    We offer SQL 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.

  • Smart automations

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

  • 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.

  • Analytics dashboard

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

  • Candidate comparison

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


You’re in good company

Provides all the data and high-level metrics we need to make fast hiring decisions. Neuroworx has been particularly helpful in scaling our operations since we moved to remote working.

Greg, CEO, Reverse Media Group, Australia
Greg, CEO, Reverse Media Group, Australia

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

We used Neuroworx 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


Curated by our team of experts

Scientifically validated by psychometric specialists

  • Our team of assessment experts is made up of I/O psychologists, psychometricians, and subject matter experts who work closely together to ensure each test is accurate and reliable.
  • Our subject matter experts are rigorously vetted and typically have several years of experience working in their industries and hold advanced credentials.


Is the SQL test difficult?

For an applicant that is not competent in using SQL, the questions in the SQL test would be very difficult. However, a knowledgeable SQL programmer will find them straightforward. The difficulty for a programmer comes from the structure and time limits that are part of the test - putting them under pressure in the same way that they might be at work.

What other skills are needed for an SQL developer?

An SQL developer needs to be confident in accessing databases and manipulating records. There are other skills that are needed in this sort of role - like teamwork and communication, leadership, analytical skills and general ability with software and hardware related to big data management.

Can I try the test for free?

Yes, simply sign up (no credit card is required) and we’ll give you unlimited access for 7 days. Create as many jobs and test as many candidates as you want; you won’t be charged a penny

What is the fee for Neuroworx’s SQL test?

Neuroworx offers monthly or annual subscriptions for businesses of all sizes, so choose the one that best fits your needs. You can also contact us to discuss the possibility of a custom plan suited to your specific requirements. You can check out our subscription plans here.

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