Remote work is in trend and so is the conduction of remote interviews.
Every company needs the best brains to compete & scale in the market. But not all end up getting the best talent out there. Sigh! If only hiring tech talent was easier… The agenda of any good interview process is to gather inputs that help to determine whether a candidate is suitable for an open position. The core idea, even today, is the same but the ways have changed for good.
Err…Changed for good?
A stat from the Jobvite survey, 67% of recruiters say their biggest challenge in hiring is the lack of high-quality candidates. Like seriously?
Of course, the survey further states 52% of recruiters think intense competition is a challenge. Fair enough! But, I would like to recall a famous quote- ‘if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.’
There it goes! The harsh pill to swallow for tech recruiters and CTOs alike.
What’s the big deal? Companies continue to hire and fire employees on a regular basis but very few realize what’s it that cuts above the rest.
Why interviewing tech candidates is not the same anymore
How many times have we heard top developers ranting about the clichéd phrase ‘the recruitment process is broken’?
Because good developers don’t often side with the concept of whiteboard sessions in the hiring process. They are considered outdated for a reason.
Throwing whiteboards at the candidate and ‘show me what you got’ attitude is the cause of imperfect selections. Documentations exist for a reason and things that IDE can help shouldn’t carry overwhelming weightage in the tech interviews!
The biggest drawback of whiteboard sessions in the remote interviews is that it doesn’t really test the real engineering skills and promotes rote learning. A guy who’s good with memorized algos is likely to sail past those who can’t reproduce the algorithm!
To put it simply, it is more suitable for recruiting recent college grads who are fresh with their algorithmic knowledge. For companies who are looking at strong software fundamentals algorithms still won’t make much of a difference in terms of the hiring process.
The good thing is, there are better alternatives to whiteboard sessions. They can be coding assessments, take-home assessments, and the new entrant project-based assessments. The alternatives definitely serve a purpose of their own but the most effective out of all is definitely the project-based assessment.
It is explained more in detail in the following sections.
Remote interview process
The process of conducting remote interviews isn’t categorically different from that of a regular tech interview process. But, conducting everything online is what sets remote interviews apart. Thus, the need for sophisticated tools, platforms to make the most of it.
A typical remote interview process has the following steps.
One of the first and basic steps in any kind of hiring. Screening is a process where the recruiters qualify the candidates for further stages of interviews with the help of educational background, work experience, skillset and gauge their interest in this job position.
Usually conducted over a telephonic conversation with the candidates, this helps to narrow down the list of potential candidates for the job role out of the total applications.
The recruiter has to make sure that the data on the resume is accurate and thus push the potential candidates to the next stage of the interview process.
This is the part of any technical interview process where things get moving.
What are they?
Tech assessments are basically a test of a candidate’s technical skills required for the position applied. This assessment includes a set of questions that are very specific to the position applied.
How do they play a part in the overall process?
Technical assessments help to screen candidates further based on their technical proficiency. Most of the time, these act as elimination methods rather than selection. It plays a fundamental role in testing candidates on programming skills in various languages with the help of online coding tests.
If the results of candidates are good, it helps big time in saving time on non-suitable candidates.
Technical remote interviews
According to a survey, nearly 60 percent of the candidates rejected the job offer because the hiring process had more than two interviews. This stat is a reflection of how candidates view the lengthy hiring process and also the insane competition in the market that same candidates chose to work with another firm which offered the role.
Technical Interviews are a must for hiring any developer. Instead of conducting less-effective whiteboard interviews, a live-paired interview works wonders to determine the best job fit.
What is a live-paired interview?
A paired interview is a process of conducting live interviews with more than one candidate simultaneously thereby creating an atmosphere where both candidates can interact with each other to solve a given problem.
These live-paired interviews help you to conduct an in-depth assessment, gain more clarity on the skills of the candidates thus simplifying the decision making. The primary objective of conducting a paired interview is to study the problem-solving approach when in a team. How two candidates can complement each other in arriving at a solution in real-time.
You can ask candidates either to work on a sample new feature from the existing code base of the company or throw a code challenge and also ask to find the bugs and fix them in the codebase.
It is also a great way to give each candidate a perspective of what it looks like to work on an actual task within a team environment.
Many companies realize that candidates are having trouble getting along with the actual work after they hire them. This has been an issue when it comes to filling tech positions but less addressed.
A lot has been spoken about why it is best to do away with Whiteboard interviews (even in this article), but hardly anyone talks about what actually works when it comes to hiring top tech talent. We split some beans above saying project-based assessments could play a key role in turning things around. Let’s discuss how.
In simple words, project-based assessments are a holistic way of assessing a candidate for job suitability. These assessments put candidates through the problem statements which the candidate might face on their actual job profiles.
It helps you to fill that void between the way we assess candidates right now and the actual job requirements. The hiring decisions here are not influenced by the gut feeling or any biased preference, rather the output achieved on a task that closely resembles the actual project on the job.
For example, a candidate can be made to work alongside the existing team and put on a task to develop a small feature or work on a feature update for your existing product. The projects like these not only bring out the application of skill and knowledge of the candidate to the fore but also his/her ability to work in a team environment.
If the outcome is good and your existing team gets along well, you have got yourself a candidate who fits right into your requirements.
It is very naive to see companies still hiring tech talent in the old fashioned way. This needs change and change for the better. The process mentioned in this article might look intimidating but in reality, they don’t necessarily have to. The ultimate goal of any hiring process is to onboard the best talent capable of giving you an edge in product development. If any method of hiring gives you that, then it is worth it.
Therefore, ideally, the tech interviews should focus more on assessing the skills that yield better results on the actual job than going after a process that is largely followed in the name of tech hiring.