Oct 22, 2022
Live Coding Interviews with InterviewTime
Live coding interviews can be an effective tool for identifying the right candidates. In a typical live coding interview a candidate demonstrates their coding skills by solving a live coding challenge using a code editor in a set amount of time.
Great coding interviews are often highly collaborative and resemble a pair-programming session. The interviewer assesses the code and the candidate’s problem-solving and communication skills and decides if the candidate moves on to the next stage of the interview process.
Benefits of live coding interviews
The benefit of this type of coding test is that you get to see how a candidate works in real time. You get a feel of how they work versus just reviewing the end product (e.g. asynchronous assessment).
This type of interview can also help when you optimise the time-to-hire metric. There is no need to wait for the candidate to come back with the completed solution and you can do the assessment during the interview.
Challenges with existing solutions
A lot of companies have incorporated live coding tests as part of their interview process. Some of them use coding assessment tools like HackerRank or CoderPad while others run these types of interviews manually.
Coding assessment tools typically come with a set of pre-defined coding challenges covering all sorts of programming languages. This means you don’t have to spend time creating your own coding exercises so you can get up and running fairly quickly. These tools also have a web-based code editor where candidates write and execute their solutions.
Most of the live coding tools test algorithmic skills rather than actual programming ability. The tests represent a computer science problem that has little to do with the work candidates would find themselves doing on a day-to-day basis.
On the other hand, running live coding interviews without these tools gives you more flexibility. You can create a challenge that resembles a real task - something the candidates would work on as part of their job.
The main drawback of this approach is, there is no a centralised place to keep the coding challenges and candidate assessments. A zip file with a challenge could be stored somewhere on a drive with no clear indication of whether it’s up to date. Assessments could be done in Google Docs and the final feedback would probably live in ATS.
How InterviewTime helps with live coding interviews
InterviewTime platform supports live coding interviews via interview templates. Unlike coding tools like HackerRank, we don’t provide ready-made coding exercises. Companies are encouraged to create their own coding tests that represent the tasks their developers would typically work on.
With InterviewTime all live coding exercises are kept in one place and available to every member of the team. Technical interviewers are ultimately responsible for maintaining and keeping them up to date.
Here is how live coding interviews work in InterviewTime:
Hiring manager and interviewer create a coding test and define assessment criteria that will be used for every live coding interview.
At the beginning of the interview, the interviewer shares the exercise with the candidate via a secure link.
Candidate uses their own device and developer environment to complete the exercise while screen sharing.
The interviewer uses a scorecard with star ratings to assess code quality, technical communication, code optimisation, code design, problem-solving, etc.
Once the assessment is complete, the system generates a candidate score and sends a complete report to the hiring manager/recruiter.
Live coding challenges can be a great tool to get a good insight into how a candidate thinks of solving a particular problem. It has close approximation of real-world work and it can be time-efficient than, for example, take-home assignments.
To learn more about how InterviewTime can help with live coding interview sign up for a free account (no credit card required) or book a demo.
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