How To Interview Software Engineers Remotely

How To Interview Software Engineers Remotely

My experience hiring coders during the pandemic. Here are a few tips to help you effectively evaluate remote developers and create a best-in-class remote interview experience. Before the interview Let them know what to expect.

I am a software engineer and the team lead of a development group. Over recent months, my team has had to fill several positions, and we needed to update our hiring process in light of this pandemic. Our normal interview process brought people in for an interview, let the group meet them, and involved a bit of whiteboard coding. Admittedly, this was a very outdated process and, after February, none of that was an option any longer.

This gave us a great opportunity to modernize, so I worked with management and other lead engineers to come up with a better solution.

Some of the very big tech companies have interview processes that can last many days, but no one is going to put up with that for a smaller company like ours. We needed a process that fit a candidate’s schedule.

We settled on using a web platform called Coderbyte to conduct a focused skills test. We then used Microsoft Teams to give “in person” interviews. While using this method, I interviewed several candidates and eventually hired two of them.

Here’s how we conducted successful interviews:

Coderbyte

Coderbyte has a developer side that offers interview prep and an employer side that offers interviewer capabilities. We used the employer side to create a short skills test to verify candidates basic knowledge and communication skills. Our goal was to design a test that would take less than an hour to complete, but would give us insights into the candidate and weed out those who clearly didn’t fit.

Setting up a skills test in Coderbyte isn’t difficult. We chose a format using 4 to 8 multiple choice questions, 3 short answer questions, and 3 “challenge” questions. Coderbyte lets you select from existing questions or write your own. With the exception of the challenge questions, we chose to write our own based on interview questions we have used in the past.

Below I will explain the methodology and not the questions themselves, both because Coderbyte offers plenty of free questions to use, and because “what questions should I ask in an interview” is a topic that’s been covered to death. This article is about why the format worked and what to focus on in each category.

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