How to Conduct a Tech-Friendly Online Coding Interview

Conducting interviews—it’s kind of your whole thing.

And let’s be honest, you’re pretty great at it! But what if you’re interested in really upping your game? What if you’re trying to make your interview process more competitive? If that’s you, then you’ve probably already noticed that most of the interview guides available online aren’t targeted at you (the interviewer), but at the candidates who are trying to impress you.

And that’s awesome… unless you need some top tips fast. After all, for tech recruiters, evolving your interview process can be vital for achieving the results your business needs. And because the tech job market is developing at hyper-speed, it’s critical for recruiters to change with the times in order to avoid losing valuable candidates.

What to prepare, remember, do or say when interviewing a developer remotely.

So, whether your recent coding interviews have been unsatisfying, or you’re interested in streamlining your recruitment process to make it more inclusive of tech-friendly interviews, you’re off to a great start. Every step counts and online coding interviews are a great opportunity to make your employer brand shine. Talk the tech talk and walk the tech walk.

Read on for more on online coding interviews and our top tips on how to make them tech-friendly!

What is an online coding interview?

No matter what your current recruiting process looks like, chances are that a coding interview features at some point. This portion of the interview usually occurs after your candidate has taken a technical programming test and it functions as an opportunity for you to get to know your candidate better and ask some key follow-up questions. It’s also a great way of allowing you to give your candidate some feedback on the results of their technical test and allow them to come to you with feedback or a problem of their own. Chances are, you’re used to conducting this portion of the interview in person. But the times, they are a-changin’ (I know, we’re saying this a lot!) and that fact presents a host of new reasons why you should shake things up a bit by moving that interview process online. 

What’s different about an online coding interview?

Quite simply, an online coding interview enables you to streamline the practical part of your interview by interviewing candidates remotely through CoderPad’s remote interview tool. (Don’t worry, it’s not complicated!)

Perhaps the easiest way to think of it is that it’s like Skype or Zoom… only better. But don’t just take our word for it! After all, why should you invest in a whole new product when Skype and Zoom are already out there? Well, for one thing, unlike other remote interview tools, CodinGame offers you a one-stop integrated platform where you can conduct candidate assessments, track applicants, and host remote interviews without the hassle of switching back and forth between multiple software.

In short, conducting an online coding interview with CodinGame’s remote interview tool allows you quick and easy access to our ready-to-deploy video interview setup and our shared code editor as well as video, audio and text chat. 

Why choose an online coding interview?

Now that we know what’s in it for you, what makes this process more appealing to your candidates? There might be more factors than you think!


Stack Overflow’s 2017 survey of developers concluded that only 13.1% of developers are actively looking for a job. But 75.2% of developers are interested in hearing about new job opportunities! So, what does this mean for you? In most cases, it likely means that the developers who aren’t actively looking are already employed at other companies. And while they may be looking for a better offer, it’s unlikely that they’ll take time out of their workday to sneak away for an interview with you. Add commuting issues and candidates who live in a different city, a different state or even a different country—and accepting the offer of your interview just became a lot more complicated and a lot less appealing to your candidate.

Interview developers from all over the world

Better offers

(Ouch!) It’s never fun to hear that you’re not a candidate’s first choice, but unfortunately, the tech talent shortage means that we often want developers a lot more than they want us. This recent upheaval to the power balance between recruiters and developers means that it’s now more important than ever for us to market ourselves to them. Failure to do so can even lead to being ghosted by candidates. (And yes, it’s as spooky as it sounds!).


One size of interviewing does not necessarily fit all. As the tech recruitment process continues to evolve, it’s important to remember that not all candidates expect the same thing from their interview experience. Showing that you’re willing to be flexible and put yourself in a developer’s shoes is, hands down, the best way to make a difference and hire the best programmers for your needs.

Each of these factors can be significant for your candidate and conducting a tech-friendly online coding interview can address all of them. Because where your currently employed interviewee might find it tricky to get away from work for a face-to-face interview, meeting online—perhaps even from the comfort of their own home—goes a long way towards making their interview experience more positive and accessible. Likewise, demonstrating the flexibility and competitive nature of your recruitment process is a great way to make yourself more appealing to candidates (and get better results from your interviews!).

What’s “tech-friendly” all about?

Okay, you get it: online upgrades to your recruitment process would be awesome. But what do we mean by “tech-friendly?” Maybe your process could use some updates that make it more appealing to your potential developers. Traditional methods of interviewing aren’t necessarily bad, but they are outdated. And in a constantly evolving job market, being perceived as outdated can seriously hurt your recruitment process.

In fact, some developers are so frustrated by traditional interviewing and hiring methods that “irrelevant interview questions and exercises” and “HR professionals who don’t understand tech” are common reasons developers have listed for declining interviews or accepting another company’s offer. (We’re guessing that’s not the outcome you’re hoping for). So, when you consider this feedback and update your hiring process to be more inclusive of your prospective developers’ needs, you not only make yourself a more competitive option, you avoid making your interviewees feel like:

Top tips for tech-friendly online coding interviews

So, if you want to put these steps into practice but aren’t sure how, taking a look at our list of top tips can help you get started!

1. DON’T put candidates under pressure

But… aren’t interviews supposed to be all about pressure? Maybe by the standards of more traditional interview methods, but we think that should be the first outdated practice to go. Because whether they’re conducted in person or online, coding interviews can be stressful and stress has never encouraged anyone to perform at their best. So, instead, focus on helping your interviewee feel comfortable and encouraged.

2. DO provide a shared code editor with syntax highlighting

An interview is never just an interview, and when your candidate performs a live programming task in front of you, they’re not just taking a test– they’re communicating with you about who they are and what they can do. Since the online coding interview provides an opportunity for your candidate to chat with you about the coding challenges they undertook during the technical interview, a shared code editor with syntax highlighting can be a great way for your candidate to literally highlight their experience (in any programming language) with your data structures and algorithms in real time.

3. DON’T come alone or unprepared

Remember that not-so-fun feedback about “irrelevant interview questions”? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to be that interviewer. If you need to, brush up on some current interview questions so you can feel confident in asking the best questions to find your perfect developer. And if you really want to go the extra mile, consult your current tech team! There’s a pretty good chance they know exactly what would help other developers in the interview process and which questions are best for facilitating an honest discussion of your candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. They can help you prepare for a spot-on programming interview.

4. DO allow for relaxed discussion

Communication is key to helping your interviewee shine, so leave room for the candidate to ask honest questions. Whether that’s a need for clarification on the problems you asked them to solve during the technical interview or questions about your company culture, the environment of your online coding interview should be one that allows you and your candidate to speak freely and confidently. (Because honestly, how else are you going to know if you’re a good fit!)  

Conducting a tech-friendly online interview might sound complicated, but we promise it’s nothing to be scared of! In fact, it’s just as simple as putting yourself in a developer’s shoes by following a few simple steps.


There’s a better way to test coding skills.

Picture of Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie Figuière

Nathalie is Content Manager at CodinGame. When she's not busy creating quality #techrecruitment content, chances are she’s watching Friends or snuggling her little grey cat, Moon.