There are a few ways traditional coding interviews are conducted. The candidates are made to submit the code before the interview via a portal; they are given a system on the premises where they are made to code in isolation; and, the most popular, they are made to code live on a whiteboard while the interviewers assess as they go.
However, most fall short in one way or another.
- The candidate can copy the code or take help from someone while submitting code beforehand.
- In case they are doing it in isolation on your premises, the candidate can interpret the question wrong or take a different route as the interviewer had in mind.
- An artificial environment doesn’t challenge the candidates enough.
And these are just some of the issues with the traditional methods.
Given these limitations and restrictions, and the on-going pandemic, the need for change has accelerated. Live Coding Interviews are a better, practical, and efficient way of conducting coding interviews.
What is a Live Coding Interview?
Live Coding Interview is a remote video-based coding assessment that assesses the candidate’s programming skills in a real-time coding environment.
Using this method, you can interview a more diverse workforce as the location isn’t a limiting force anymore. These interviews enhance the in-person interview environment, where the interviewer has the flexibility of asking questions as the candidates code. And most importantly, it gives candidates a live coding platform where they check the validity of the code accurately and instantly.
However, while you’re conducting a Live Coding Interview, candidate and interviewer experience is also of significant importance. So, to ensure you leverage the best of Live Coding Technology while ensuring good experience, keep the following things in mind:
- Ask ambiguous questions: In most scenarios, it isn’t the number of correct answers that make candidates stand out, it is the approach they take to answer it. So, throw challenges towards candidates that make them think. This would prove how they react during uncertain situations, how they’d handle disorganized projects, and how much hand-holding they’d need during work.
During the live interview, besides writing a code, check if the candidate can answer related questions orally. This will help in assessing whether the candidate has clarity about processes.
Often, how they approach the challenge, even if they are not able to answer it in time or answer it correctly, speaks volumes about their candidature.
- Run the code and test it: Since the interview is online, it is easy to quickly run the code so that candidates can immediately see whether there are any flaws. This would also help the candidates in assessing whether they are taking the right approach. If not, they can go back and switch immediately.
- Spotting mistakes: Analyse if the candidate can spot the mistakes and correct them the right away. This is an essential step as not all candidates can quickly spot the errors. For this purpose, you can keep a repository of questions (easy, medium, and hard) to check their level of proficiency.
For example, provide a code with loopholes in it and observe the approach they take to correct it. This can save time and allow you to ask more questions.
- Platform flexibility: Invest in a platform that allows a candidate to use multiple coding languages. The ideal candidate needs to be able to work with two or more programming languages, like Python, Java, C++, etc. So, choosing a platform that allows multiple languages is vital.
- Coordination: In case there are multiple interviewers, ample coordination is required beforehand. Since various parameters need to be judged during the interview, clarify amongst yourselves which parameter would be assessed by whom. This will help you by keeping the interview streamlined.
- Guide the candidate: It is a fact that no one works in silos; coordination is necessary during all projects. So, create the same environment during the interview process as well. Coding interviews should be made interactive as much as possible. If at some point you see the candidate faltering or getting stuck, you can even offer guidance to get them on the right path. As interviewers, you all want the candidates to succeed, so rather than fixating on their problems and issues, try to guide them and get the best output.
Live Coding Interviews are the future. It is time we ditch the whiteboards as well as pen and papers, and invest in technology that would not only enhance the customer experience but also help in ensuring the right candidates with the right skills get hired.