Offer a "take this test" challenge. I am getting some talented people but also plenty of people that can't do much, so I need a way to test their technical ability in Java and other skills. I want to be able to simply challenge them to take a free test and send me a link to their results.
Assistance in finding such an animal is greatly appreciated.
The problem with skills today (and finding them) is that in the IT world the landscape is changing so rapidly that it is no longer a reliable strategy to simply rely on proof of skills or knowledge of skills. What is far more valuable are resources that are properly grounded i.e. have a solid foundation in the fundamentals, experience across a range of tech and demonstrate the willingness and ability to jump in and take initiative when it comes to learning something new.
Sort of the "Moneyball" approach - go for the solid performers who can quickly adapt than the superstars in a particular category.
The question is how do you find them / evaluate them. The latter is easy - people who fall into this category will typically be found hanging around forums, repos, technical threads - making contributions - sometimes driven by ego but mostly driven by the desire to learn and share.
If you have have a candidate you are wanting to evaluate - ask them where and how they contribute online (and it does not have to be just in IT). What you are looking for attitude. Find the right person with the right mindset and you can add the skills after the fact.
Not what you were looking for I know - but just my 2c worth in terms of an acid test to evaluate potential candidates.