Lately, my favorite test of programming abilities of job applicants is this. Pick your beloved open source project. Choose a bug or feature request and ask applicant to implement the solution. In this manner, you are checking not only his programming abilities but also how fast he can grasp existing code base (definitely a desired trait in a new hire) and whether he can produce code that others find acceptable. The added benefit is an improved open source project and a new potential contributor to it. Of course, we prefer candidates that already have a github profile. In that case, you can do technical screening even before contacting the candidate.
We are in the process of hiring a developer and we are looking for suggestions for a online test that evaluates a candidate's python skills. We are not looking for this test to tell us who is the best developer we are looking to this test to just weed out the people who clearly are not good in python. Any suggestions would be appreciated.