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Firstly, I'm not exactly sure if this question is a better fit over here, or on workplace.SE. So forgive me if it is in the wrong place.

We are interviewing some candidates for a development position, and currently they are not in our city.

We would like to give them simple coding tests to see how they will perform on the typical issues that we face in our daily work.

Are there any specific tools geared towards this? Right now we are using Skype and I feel this tends to decrease the performance of a lot of developers since they tend to be shy, and often can't work when someone is directly staring at them.

The problem with sending them the test questions by email are as follows:

  1. It is not possible to know what their thought process is, sine we just see the end result. There is no discussion, or clarification of the question, which is an Important step.

  2. There is no guarantee that the problems were solved by the candidates themselves. They could send it to a smarter friend, and we wouldn't be able to know.

How are these problems usually solved?

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closed as not constructive by MichaelT, GlenH7, Martijn Pieters, Kilian Foth, Thomas Owens May 29 '13 at 11:10

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Skill testing has it's place, but not in a Skype interview. Get to know the person first, and if you got a good vibe have them complete an online multi-choice quiz that measures what you need (there are many out there). After that if you still don't trust them enough to do a code test on their own, then why are you doing remote interviews? –  Mathew Foscarini Feb 12 '13 at 5:20
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i.seemikecode.com –  Yannis Rizos Feb 12 '13 at 5:22
    
@MathewFoscarini is right about #2, but #1 can be important. There's also the need to correct candidates if they go off in entirely the wrong direction. –  detly Feb 12 '13 at 5:35
    
@YannisRizos that's crazy cool, and scary big brother at the same time. lol –  Mathew Foscarini Feb 12 '13 at 5:40
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@MathewFoscarini: The coding interview isn't in the first interview. We first have a telephonic interview where we judge if the candidate is a good fit in out team where we ask both general and technical questions, and only after that we take a coding interview. –  Devdatta Tengshe Feb 12 '13 at 5:43

5 Answers 5

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Google uses a shared Google Docs document between the interviewer and candidate while talking over the phone. They share the document, which is preset to a fixed-width font, to the candidate in advance with the confirmation email. A Bluetooth headset or speakerphone is recommended for hands-free coding during the phone interview.

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I have done exactly this (as interviewee), and it worked great. My interviewers could upload diagrams, give me code samples to analyse, watch as I typed out my own, etc. It was important to do live so that they could be sure I didn't misunderstand an exercise, or so that they could limit the scope of what I needed to fill in (eg. "okay, assume there's a DSP library already available, so there's no need to write your own FFT"). –  detly Feb 12 '13 at 5:34
    
@JoeBaker. Nice! I knew that google docs had collaborative tools, but I didn't know that the docs updated in almost real time. –  Devdatta Tengshe Feb 12 '13 at 5:45
    
@DevdattaTengshe They used to not update in real time, it was a feature that was ported from the Wave project around when it was decided to shut Wave down. –  Joe Baker Feb 12 '13 at 16:56
    
+1. This worked well for me too as an interviewee. –  grokus May 27 '13 at 20:49
    
The problem with Google Docs, is that there isn't a real development environment available. Nitrous.IO allows you to edit code collaboratively and execute code within a full linux VM. You should definitely check it out if you want to conduct a serious programming interview. –  ajhit406 Jul 19 '13 at 1:47

Collabedit is also a nice platform for online coding interviews. It offers real time view of what the candidate is coding, as well as a feature to chat. It can also do syntax highlighting.

an online code editor that lets people collaborate in real-time.

It works in your web browser so no installation is needed...

Features

  • text editor
  • chat
  • document history
  • syntax highlighting for programming languages...
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I used this in an interview once (as the interviewee, not the interviewer), so I can vouch for this. –  Joe Z. Feb 12 '13 at 13:35

Interview Zen online interview engine will let you do this without your presence/time, you can ask the questions and have potential candidates screened before you do a live play by play code review type interview if you feel the need.

How It Works

Define
Create the set of questions you'd like candidates to answer. Be as creative and job-specific as you like.

Invite
Invite candidates individually or post the interview link on a job board and let candidates come to you.

Review
Collaboratively review the recorded interviews in your own time in a shared evaluation space...

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Downside is, there is no administrative features, so no way to edit, delete or add questions to your interview. Great tool but needs a lot of features. –  Chepech Aug 4 at 22:08

ProgBuddy allows you to do remote interview in real-time over the internet. It's a web-based Linux powered collaboration tool which includes complete operating system sandbox without need to give the job candidate access to your company internal infrastructure. You can code and text/audio/video chat with the other party directly in your browser - no need to install any plugins. You and your job candidate both see the same text or graphical desktop where you can do the interview.

Here are some of the key features:

  • Linux on AMD64 (x86-64) architecture
  • desktop and console access
  • instant availability
  • 5GB of non-persistent space
  • WebDAV access
  • support for variety of programming languages (C, C++, GCC toolchain, Java, PHP, CakePHP, Python, Django, Ruby, Ruby on Rails and more)
  • audio and video conferencing directly in your browser
  • session recording
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Teamviewer is a commercial solution, but free for private use, to share a desktop over the internet (disclaimer: I don't work for that company). Opposed to a solution like Google Docs, the candidate can use in his favorite IDE to demonstrate his coding skills.

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