The transition to the remote work culture has been a prominent feature since the pandemic, and today it has become the mainstream mode of operation for a lot of companies around the world. The shift to remote work culture has brought its own opportunities and challenges to the fore. In this blog, we have discussed the best practices and methods of conducting technical interviews in a remote environment.
Remote work culture means recruiters now have to conduct interviews in remote settings for finding the ideal candidate for different profiles that the company needs. If it is a technical interview, then it is important to understand the requirements of conducting a technical interview remotely, the objectives, and the interview tools that you might need for this process.
So, what is a technical interview? A technical interview is a technology-specific evaluation of the skills possessed by the candidate. The technical interviews are commonly conducted by employers and recruiters for profiles related to software, engineering, and science. A technical interview differs from the regular soft skills interview as the recruiters need to evaluate the technical proficiency of the candidates and how well a prospective candidate is suited for the technical role.
Conducting a tech interview remotely requires expertise in the domain and understanding of the tools as well as processes that are essential for the accurate evaluation of candidates. As a recruiter, you want to be thorough with the process so that you can find the best candidates for the specific technical profile.
Here are some of the best tips and suggestions that can go a long way in helping you efficiently conduct a technical interview in a remote setting.
Setting the agenda:
Before you dive into the technical interview process, it is important to set the agenda and other logistic details related to the interview. You must be clear about the technical concepts and skills that the prospective candidate needs to be proficient at and the type as well as range of questions that you are going to ask. Here it is also important to point out that the recruiters must also communicate with the candidates about the broad technical concepts on which the technical interview is going to be based on. This helps establish transparency and sets the agenda for the interview meeting.
Besides that, you must also share the details of the meeting: whether it is a Zoom call or a Microsoft Teams meeting, or if you are going to use any other video calling software then you must communicate the same with the candidate in advance through email. You can also use an online coding interview tool for a better demonstration of the coding or technical skills of the candidate. These coding interview tools come equipped with useful features as well as functionalities that enable the candidates to share their skills efficiently with the interviewer.
Choosing the video communication software:
Video conferencing and communication tools have become an integral component of the modern remote work culture. There are a host of popular video communication software applications and tools that provide the underlying mechanism for smooth video calls and conferencing. When you are conducting the tech interview remotely, it is important to have a video conferencing call with the candidate to get to know him or her better and have a one-to-one interaction with the candidate.
There are a host of video communication tools and apps that are available in the industry. Some of the renowned and popular video communication apps that are prominently used by enterprises include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, Cisco WebEx, and Google Meet amongst a host of others. The video communication software tool that you should use for the remote technical interview depends on the company's compliance and the organization's protocols. Most enterprises use one of the above-mentioned software tools and they are all very efficient in providing a smooth framework for video calls.
It is important to share the link of the video call meeting in advance with the candidate for a smooth onboarding to the interview process. If the candidate has any issues then they can communicate with the recruiters and let them know in advance to avoid any hassles during the scheduled interview time.
Stable internet connection:
When you are conducting a remote technical job interview, having a stable internet connection is one of the most fundamental requirements for a smooth process. The recruiter should not only ensure that their own internet connection is fine and stable but they must also communicate with the candidate to ensure that they have a stable as well as steady connectivity.
It is recommended that you must have a backup connection as a contingency plan in case of an emergency situation where your primary internet connection faces issues. There are several tools for checking the stability and speed of internet connections. Running these tools before the scheduled interview can provide an overview of the state of your internet connectivity so that you are well prepared for the interview process.
Using online coding interview tool:
There are various tools and applications that provide the ideal platform for the evaluation of candidate skills related to the specific technology. For instance, coderpad.io is a prominent technical interview platform that provides a host of features and useful functionality for the recruiters to test the technical skills of the candidates much faster and in a more accurate manner. Some of the functionalities provided by coderpad include screening candidates for technical assessment through automated scoring, ranking as well as reporting.
Besides this, the interviewers or recruiters can also send independent coding projects for diving deeper into the key technical areas for evaluating the candidates better. This helps the recruiters to test their candidates in a more comprehensive manner and evaluate the level of their proficiency through the custom coding test generated for evaluation purpose. Coderpad.io also provides the feature of live coding interviews where the candidates are asked to write, execute, as well as debug the code in an environment of live collaboration. This really helps the recruiter to test the analytical and aptitude skills of the candidates and how they react in a live environment. This also helps the recruiters to understand the problem-solving skills of the candidates and how they react to the errors in the code. This is hugely beneficial, especially when you are hiring someone for a technical role that involves coding and compiling programs.
Besides coderpad, there are several alternatives and tools such as GitHub, and Google Docs that can also be utilized for conducting live coding testing. Before proceeding with this step, you must ensure that you have communicated with the candidate and made them aware of the platform that they would be sharing for the coding and programming tests or challenges. This is important because if the candidate isn’t well acquainted with the specific platform then giving instructions on the go for using the platform can become quite difficult and might cause issues with the process.
Thorough preparation of the technical question bank:
The technical questions that you are going to ask the candidates form the basis and core of the technical interview that you are going to conduct remotely. This is why it is important to have a rich set of question banks or a catalog of questions, to comprehensively test the technical knowledge of the candidate. In an ideal scenario, you don’t want to be improvising on the spot in terms of the questions that you ask, since you want to be thoroughly prepared with the type of questions that are essential for evaluating the technical knowledge and know-how of the candidates. There are various resources and platforms online such as Turing that provide a rich catalog of questions related to specific skills, which you can use for asking technical questions. You can also prepare your own questions based on the available resources for analyzing and evaluating the technical knowledge of the candidates.
Recruiting the right candidates for a company is a very crucial part of the success or failure of any organization. This is why it is vital to screen and evaluate your candidates as thoroughly as possible for ensuring that you hire the best candidates who are proficient in their respective technical fields and can lead the organization to overwhelming success.
Integrating team interviews:
The technical interviews usually tend to be one-on-one however there are various instances where the recruiters use a team of interviewers for evaluating and asking questions to the candidates. When you have various team members of the company interacting with the potential candidates, it helps with better communication and also aids in better evaluation of the candidate. Since multiple viewpoints are put across and there’s more comprehensive coverage of different aspects related to the interview, which might not be possible in a single-person interview.
The team interview is also helpful for making a collective decision based on the consensus reached between the different team members. The consensual decision can be a better reflection of the candidate’s skills and proficiency in the specific domain or role for which they are applying.
Asking soft skill questions:
While the technical questions form the core of the technical interview, you must not forget about the soft skill questions for evaluating the different aspects of candidates beyond their technical skills. When you are working remotely in a team environment, there are various traits and qualities that are specifically helpful for a productive collaboration. The soft skills questions are essential for evaluating whether a candidate is right for your company’s culture and how the candidate is able to react in different situations within a team. Some of the soft skill qualities that you need in a candidate include communication, time management, collaboration, decision making, problem-solving, analytical skills, and creativity among a host of other skills. For evaluating this part of the candidate’s skills, you must ask them about their previous experiences and how they have dealt with various situations in their professional bubble. You can also create hypothetical scenarios and ask them questions related to them. For example, you can ask them if there is a conflict within a team, and how will they approach and react to that situation. This will help you in analyzing their problem-solving capabilities plus working smoothly in a team environment.
Conducting a technical interview remotely requires thorough and careful preparation on the recruiter’s part. This is particularly important for the right screening, evaluation, and analysis of the candidate. You cannot approach the interview casually without the necessary preparation. Hiring the right candidate is the backbone of a successful organization and it is important for hiring managers to adopt all the right practices and tips for a successful interview process which can help in acquiring the right talent for the company.
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