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How to effectively conduct technical interviews with Replit

Every company has a different way of conducting technical interviews. As a hiring manager, you want to make sure that the interviews you conduct best assess the candidate's problem-solving capabilities.

To effectively to conduct technical interviews, some questions to think about are:

  • What constitutes the ideal technical interview?
  • What tools or platforms can be used to provide the ideal coding environment?

These questions are important because you want to make sure that the tools you use enable you to properly evaluate the candidate's competency and skill for the role, and that they best represent the company's dedication to its employees' time.

Let's take a look at what makes Replit an effective platform to conduct coding interviews and some of its features that create a seamless coding interview environment.

We'll cover:

  • Different types of technical interviews
  • Why live coding interviews are the best
  • How to leverage Replit as a coding interviewing platform

What are technical interviews?

Technical interviews are challenges and tests to evaluate a candidate's coding skills, problem-solving abilities, and personality. They allow interviewers to see how the interviewee tackles real-world problems like those they may face in the role they are applying for, as well as whether they are a good fit for the role and the company.

Different types of technical interviews

Technical interviews typically have three stages:

  • Technical phone screen
  • Remote coding interviews via coding tests
  • Onsite interviews

Technical interviews can be quite a lengthy process, but each stage gives you a clearer idea of the candidate's personality and capabilities.

Replit Teams Pro can be used to conduct effective interviews following a successful first stage. It is an ideal platform for conducting remote coding interviews because of the following features:

  • In-built support for multiple programming languages and frameworks

Languages

  • Team collaboration using threads

Threads

  • Multiplayer feature that allows interviewers to view a candidate's repl in real time

Multiplayer

For more information on getting started with conducting interviews using Teams Pro, take a look at our Introduction to Teams Pro.

Regardless of the type of interview you want to conduct, the first step to follow is to create a team repl. Our Interviewing candidates in guest mode guide will show you how.

Now we'll look at the different stages of a technical interview process and see where Replit can be used.

Technical phone screen

This stage mainly consists of theory questions that comprise behavioral and situational questions, as well as questions about the candidate's education, technical knowledge, and experience.

It's a short but essential social call for evaluating the candidate's enthusiasm for tech, communication skills, qualifications, values, and overall character as a good fit for the company and its culture.

The technical phone screen can be conducted via a phone or video screen, and can last anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes.

Coding tests

This stage of the interview process is for assessing the candidate's coding and problem-solving abilities. The different types of coding tests that a company can provide for candidates include:

  • Automated tests,
  • Take-home assessments, or
  • Live coding tests.

Automated tests

Automated tests include the use of automation frameworks and other software tools to automatically assess the candidate's coding skills and speed. These coding tests are time-efficient for a company, as they typically result in a "pass" or "fail" outcome for each candidate. However, they may not necessarily provide a true reflection of the candidate's skills, as they do not highlight a candidate's thought process.

Due to how restrictive this process is, companies could potentially miss out on a lot of talented candidates. Furthermore, monitoring candidates during tests is often difficult, so for some developers, it may be easy to plagiarize code solutions. For candidates that do not honor this system, it results in a misrepresentation of their speed and skill.

Automated tests can be created by setting up unit testing. Unit testing allows you to create code-driven tests that compare actual function output with expected output. Repl Unit Testing allows a repl author to write full unit tests in Java (JUnit), Python (unittest), or JavaScript (Jest).

Unit Testing

Take-home assessments

These types of tests are project-based assignments with a deadline that the company assigns to candidates. Take-home assignments provide a sense of comfort for the candidates by letting them work in their own time and space. Candidates can rest before taking up the problem from a different angle when needed.

While they remove most of the pressure that comes with other interview types, they are also somewhat controversial. Often, they are seen as discriminating against candidates with work, family, or other strict obligations that may hinder them from completing assessments in time. Additionally, since these are not monitored, candidates may often seek help from friends when completing tasks, or simply plagiarize. Follow-ups can help assess the candidate's level of understanding, but this can be time-consuming.

Replit's Teams For Education platform can be used for take-home assessments. Teams for Education adds key workflows for teachers and students, but it can be leveraged by hiring managers to create a collaborative workspace for interviews.

On top of the core Replit features, hiring managers can create a curriculum that consists of a number of projects that candidates must complete and submit. These projects can be reviewed and candidates can be given feedback.

Live coding tests

Live coding tests are typically conducted via a video interview with a web-based code editor. Unlike automated tests, live coding tests are monitored and they result in a more accurate assessment of the interviewee's capabilities because they also offer a way for the interviewee to communicate their thought processes and the challenges they come across as they implement solutions. This can help hiring managers identify potential in candidates.

Live coding interviews can be affected by poor connectivity issues. Candidates' unfamiliarity with the interviewing tools may also reduce their confidence, and therefore their chances of getting the job.

Furthermore, candidates can sometimes get stuck on live-coding exercises because the interview process made them too nervous to think clearly enough. The more-focused nature of these tests may make candidates feel a lot of pressure in the spotlight. Of course, there are ways to reduce interviewees' nervousness, such as not timing the tests, which would allow them time to settle and calm their nerves for better productivity.

Live coding tests are ideal for conducting remote code interviews for a number of reasons:

  • Automated code tests tend to feel inhumane. Candidates may not feel respected if they are given an automated test to assess their skills, because these tests also aren't a very good indicator of capabilities.

  • During live coding tests, candidates can communicate with the interviewers where clarity is needed.

  • Live coding tests allow candidates to feel valued. The candidate can be assured that they are being seriously considered for the job.

  • Live tests also remove any opportunity for plagiarism. They give the interviewers a better opportunity to assess the candidate's competency level and thought process, which can help them identify whether a candidate is nervous or inexperienced.

The Replit multiplayer feature is ideal for live coding tests, because it allows you to observe candidates as they implement their code and candidates get immediate feedback on their solutions or if there are any changes you want to make to their challenges.

With this feature, companies can have several interviewers monitoring the same repl at a time. These interview repls can also be reused for different candidates applying for the same role. Take a look at this article on how to manage and copy repls for interviewing.

Onsite interviews

In this third stage of the interviewing process, a series of interviews are conducted at the company's office and it usually lasts for a few hours to a full day. This is often the most crucial and challenging part of the interview process. Onsite interviews offer an extended opportunity for assessment on both the interviewer's and the interviewee's sides. Onsite interviews can consist of pair programming sessions, live coding tests, non-coding, and non-technical interviews.

Spending more time with the candidate may be worth the time. The onsite interview creates a more comfortable environment for communication and it can also give candidates a chance to experience the type of environment they'll be working in.

Onsite interviews usually consist of different types of tasks, from pair-programming to live-coding tests and whiteboard challenges.

Pair-programming with Replit allows you to invite members into a repl and code with them. There can be multiple programmers in a single repl, as long as they join via the invite link. This allows interviewers to monitor pairs as they work together on code challenges and assess their ability to work in a team.

Excalidraw is a cool feature on Teams Pro that is ideal for whiteboard challenges. If you are observing many candidates at once, Excalidraw can be a great tool for monitoring them through interview repls.

Excalidraw

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