The 7 Best Practices for Interviews
Last Updated: September 2022
The expert guide for interviewing technical candidates using an online code editor, spreadsheets, Jupyter Notebooks, and whiteboards
On Coderbyte, interviews consist of challenge(s), question(s), and interactive environments that a candidate answers collaboratively (i.e. with interviewers), using video/audio within an online environment, untimed, with a scorecard manually completed by interviewers afterward.
Coderbyte is primarily used for junior, mid, and senior technical roles across software development, data science, and analysts. However, Coderbyte is increasingly used to interview candidates for other software-adjacent roles, including go-to-market, product management, and account management.
In terms of workflow, interviews are typically used in the middle to late stages of the recruiting process. They can more thoroughly test for communication and presentation skills, real-time troubleshooting, and more interactive technical know-how. The primary goal for recruiting teams should be assessing mutual-fit, which can be accomplished by following the 7 best practices below:
- Prepare candidates for success. As the employer, you have full context about the interview and recruiting process. But for candidates that genuinely want to be fresh and prepared, the process can vary greatly from company to company, causing a lot of stress. It’s important for the candidate to receive clear information about how long the interview will be, what skills they’ll be tested for, and who will be interviewing them.
- Prepare interviewers for various scenarios. Interviewers should also be prepared both about the questions they’re going to ask and about the candidate’s background. They should plan to enter the interview room 5 minutes early so that they can greet the candidate and make them comfortable before beginning the formal interview.
Interviewers should also be prepared for situations in which it’s clear quickly that the candidate is not qualified for the role. Rather than wasting everyone’s time, give interviewers a thoughtful and respectful script for politely communicating the reality to the candidate so that everyone can get on with their day.
- Use multi-question templates for consistency. So that interviewers aren’t fumbling during the first few minutes of an interview configuring the questions and environments, launch a preconfigured multi-question template. On Coderbyte, admins can create interview templates that include algorithmic coding challenges, project-based coding challenges, spreadsheet challenges, Jupyter Notebooks, and whiteboards.
Don’t overwhelm candidates. Interviews are already intimidating enough – try to keep instructions as simple as possible to minimize confusing or overwhelming the candidate. Be prepared for situations where candidates struggle to quickly see a solution or perspective. Have prompts and tips ready that can help unblock a candidate so they can effectively showcase their skills. If you see that a candidate is continuing to struggle, move onto an alternative question.
Don’t have too many moving parts. If possible, use a single solution for video, audio, and any necessary environments like a code editor, spreadsheet, Jupyter Notebook, or whiteboard. You don’t want a candidate to need to keep multiple tabs open just to navigate the interview. On Coderbyte, admins can seamlessly toggle between a code editor, Google Sheet, Jupyter Notebook, and whiteboard.
Keep interviews focused on real-world skills. You need to ensure that the platform you select has a library of challenges and questions that match the skills and experience that you’re hiring for. For example, if you’re interviewing full-stack software developers, make sure to find a solution that has a code editor that supports front-end libraries, back-end frameworks, and databases, and not just algorithmic challenges for legacy languages.
Complete scorecards immediately. Interviewers should be encouraged to promptly complete scorecards either in your recruiting management or interview tool immediately after meeting with a candidate, so that information about the interview isn’t forgotten.
On Coderbyte, interviewers can take private notes during the interview. A scorecard pops up immediately after an interview is ended and interviewers can replay the interview afterward.