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FaceCode: The DEFINITIVE Way To Conduct Coding Interviews

It has been well established that you cannot hire a developer unless you see them work on a problem real-time.

For the last eight years, we have observed and figured out flaws in the way the tech world approaches the uber-important ‘interview round’. Let us list them for you:

1. Non-standardized, subjective evaluations due to lack of preparation time: From our conversations with multiple hiring managers and recruiters, we realized that ‘prep time’ is a misnomer. Most interviewers we talked to said they could only manage to start prepping for an interview 15 minutes before it started. A lot of the time, candidate resumes are checked minutes before the actual interview happens. With very little ‘preparation’, interview questions are chosen from a pool of common, generic questions or are made up on the spot. This makes the interview non-standardized as the evaluation parameters are not customized to the role at hand.

2. Time away from ‘core’ function: Finding the right questions to ask your candidate and setting up evaluation parameters is time taking. Add to that the time spent in writing manual feedback, and one can see that hiring managers spend a lot of their working hours taking interviews, and away from their core job function. Here’s a quick calculation of how much time your company loses with inefficient interviews:

Coding-interview-time-loss-HackerEarth
3. The pain of writing detailed interview summaries: Many hiring managers we talked to said they inadvertently end up delaying their interview feedback at the very last minute due to time crunch. Summarizing an hour-long conversation into succinct points requires a razor-sharp memory and ample patience. When you’re rushing through this part of the process, staying objective is hard and hiring managers tend to use ‘gut feel’ in their feedback. Post-interview feedback in most cases is almost always broken, and the age-old problem of miscommunication between recruiters and hiring managers continues to persist due to the lack of an efficient process.

We believe all coding interviews should be OBJECTIVE and SKILL-BASED. So, we decided to end these problems for good

With the enhanced version our coding interview platform – FaceCode – we have added to our suite of kickass developer-hiring tools to ensure that the developer-hiring life cycle remains objective and skill-based.

What’s FaceCode you ask? Only the most advanced coding interview tool ever with a host of features that weed out subjectivity and bias from every situation – whether you’re conducting interviews in person or remotely. FaceCode is like noise cancellation for your coding interviews. It cuts out all the unnecessary noise and allows hiring managers to focus on what matters most: SKILLS.

Here’s how FaceCode helps you solve the problems we listed above (and more):

a. Collaborative, real-time code editor with built-in compiler, and question library

Benefit: Makes it easier to prep for interviews, and assess code efficacy. Takes away gut feel.

With FaceCode’s real-time coding interview tool, you can test a candidate’s skills on the fly, and then compile and run the code.

To do this, we offer our custom library of 20,000+ questions. Interviewers can add HackerEarth-approved questions to their test, or add custom questions which are more suited to their company’s needs. Moreover, if you wanted to add a question in the middle of a test, we allow you to do that, too.

Scroll up to take a look at all that Math again, please. We just helped you save all that time.

The code editor also has an intuitive interface with a panel on the left displaying the problem statement, and a scratchpad in the center.

HackerEarth-FaceCode-Main-Screen

b. Automated interview summary with deep insights

Benefit: Makes it easier to create objective, standardized evaluation parameters. Makes scoring and feedback super-easy. Makes it harder for TAs to hate their managers.

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A sore point between tech recruiters and hiring managers is the intelligence gathering that happens after a coding interview is over. As we discussed above, many times, managers leave this to the last minute which causes a ‘recency bias’.

Recency bias is a cognitive bias that favors recent events over historic ones. So, if the manager has interviewed a bunch of candidates on a day, they are more likely to remember the details of the last interview than the one that happened earlier in the day. The notes will also reflect the same.

FaceCode solves this problem by actively prompting interviewers to fill out a scoring sheet as soon as the interview ends. The scorecard can be set using an automated HE-approved template, or you can create a custom scoring grid when you schedule the interview.

Coding Interview - FaceCode - Scoring Rubrik - HackerEarth
Scoring after the interview is over

We also have a ‘Notes’ tab which makes it easy for interviewers to pen down thoughts as they surface during the interview. These ‘Notes’ automatically become a part of the final feedback.

Coding Interview - FaceCode - Notes Tab - HackerEarth
Notes tab in FaceCode

Once the interviewer finishes scoring, our automated ‘Report’ section generates a summary of the interview consisting of the scorecard, the compiled notes, the voice and audio transcripts of the interview (if these features were used), snapshots of the IDE screen for every final answer, and other good-to-have information about the interview.

If managers have used an automated template for scoring, they can always edit the auto-generated interview feedback to add in more relevant text which will make the report comprehensive. There is also a link to the last assessment that the candidate took on HackerEarth, and a snapshot of highlights so that all of the candidate’s test information is stored in a single place, and decision-making becomes easier.

In fact, FaceCode literally writes your interview report for you based on your one-click inputs; thus saving you precious time.

Coding Interview - FaceCode - Feedback Summary - HackerEarth
Auto-generated report with feedback summary

You’ll also find a section titled ‘Insights’ which show metrics that can help with understanding the candidate better. For instance, you can check the time a candidate spent coding and compare it against a benchmark.

Coding Interview - FaceCode - Insights - HackerEarth
Additional insights in the automated report

The report section has two views. A ‘Super Admin’ (usually the one who sets and schedules the interview) has access to all the reports along with a visual summary of each. Individual ‘Admins’ will only be able to access their own reports ensuring that they don’t end up influencing another’s report inadvertently.

c. Support for panel interviews, with built-in chat

Benefit: Chat privately with other panelists, and discuss the interview in real time.

You can use FaceCode for one-on-one interviews, or add more interviewers to your panel. The panelists will be notified via an email to join the interview. You can also see a list of all the panelists who are attending the interview.

We understand that panelists might want to share notes during the interview. So, we have an built-in chat feature with two modes. The default mode is meant for a ‘private chat’ between interviewers, and the ‘public’ mode is for chatting with the candidate. This is also helpful if you’re facing issues with audio.

Coding Interview - FaceCode - Chat Feature - HackerEarth
Private and public chat modes

d. Diagram Boards for systems interviews

Benefit: Assess design problems without navigating away from your interview interface.

System design problems are a necessity in most senior developer interviews. Our collaborative, real-time diagram board helps you evaluate this skill seamlessly for back-end, cloud engineer and other roles.

Coding interview - faceCode - Diagram Board - HackerEarth

e. Diversity Hiring Mode – Hides PII

Benefit: Bye bye bias!

FaceCode interviews come with an anti-bias feature. As a hiring manager, if you would like to keep your interviews bias-free you can do so by switching this feature ‘ON’ when you schedule an interview. This hides the candidate’s PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and masks their name with an alias.

Coding Interview - FaceCode - PII Feature - HackerEarth
Hide personal details with aliases

And there you have it!

HackerEarth has a policy: Don’t Be An Asshole (it’s part of our cultural tenets). Which also means, we aren’t judgmental people. Unless it’s about how you conduct your technical coding interviews 😛

A version of FaceCode with fewer features was made available to HackerEarth clients as an add-on to HackerEarth Assessments late in 2019. The platform saw a 4000% increase in the number of interviews conducted between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020. No doubt some of it was driven by the pandemic, but it is also testament to the fact that hiring managers are waking up to the benefits of having an automated coding interview tool that can help them save time and conduct flawless interviews both remotely, as well as in person.

Yes, many users have come back to us to say that they would continue to use FaceCode even in face-to-face interviews because of its time-saving features, and because how it makes interviews supremely objective. This is why we believe that FaceCode is THE definitive way to conduct coding interviews virtually or on-site!

We’ve heard a lot of good things about FaceCode from our users and we’re glad to be launching it publicly! If you are interested in getting a free trial, do write in to our product whizkid Akash Bhat (akash@hackerearth.com).

Join us as we say goodbye to subjective, inefficient, and outdated interview processes, yes? We’ll wait for you.

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An experienced wordsmith, she uses the power of engaging content to simplify the nuances of technical hiring. When not writing, she talks to her plant 'pets', and dreams of upgrading her home decor. A firm believer in the beauty of Sunday brunches, she loves gorging on chocolate cake and coffee, while reading a good Murakami or penning poetry.

Here's what you can do next

Check out FaceCode:
an intelligent coding interview tool