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Thoughts on coding, software development & hiring.

Why We're Building a Better Way to Screen Developers

Far too often we’ve seen candidates who look good on paper not live up to their claims during an actual interview. Phone screens solve this problem by giving you a chance to talk to the candidate before investing any more time or money in the process. However, a simple phone screen can be misleading. A good developer can be easily overlooked if she is not good at communicating over a phone and a bad candidate can quite easily give an impression of being good. So a simple phone screen essentially tests more of phone communication skills than a developer’s primary role - coding. It also strips out an important part of the human communication process - facial expressions or more generally body language.

A phone screen combined with a shared coding session can do wonders to remedy the first problem of testing the wrong skill-set. Companies like Facebook and Google already do this. However, this still does not solve the other problem of missing out on visual cues during an interview - does the candidate look clueless, is she receptive to hints, is the interviewer looking disapprovingly at the candidate’s current approach, etc. A video call combined with a shared coding session would remedy this problem as well as the first. If cost wasn’t a factor, given a choice between interviewing a candidate over phone and interviewing the candidate in-person, we would definitely prefer interviewing in-person since it literally gives better visibility to both the candidate and the interviewer and provides a better opportunity to engage in a holistic conversation. Of course, since cost is indeed a factor that cannot be ruled out for several businesses, the next best thing is a video conference.

To set up a video conference with a candidate, you’d probably exchange Skype IDs with the candidate, and either one of you adds the other as a contact and then initiates the call. You’d then share a link over IM to probably a Google doc or something like collabedit or the several other real-time editors out there. Meanwhile, Skype’s having a particularly bad day and the call drops and you reach for the Skype window to restart the call… It can be quite a mess to manage all of this.

Enter Codassium - Real-time code editor meets video conferencing.

Codassium is an integrated solution that offers a real-time code editor along with code execution and one-click in-browser video conferencing. You can even invite several of your colleagues to join the interview / video conferencing session. It also offers a platform to schedule interviews, send out calendar invites and track interviews. Codassium is a one-stop solution for your video-code screens. Say good-bye to archaic phone screens.

Take it for a spin - signup for the beta here: http://codassium.com

This post was written by Jason Bosco.

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