If you are a developer, or if you are looking to hire a developer, you will need to have an idea of how the candidate thinks and works. A coding interview is not a question and answer session. It’s an interactive session where the candidate gets to solve a coding problem on the spot.

Get a rough understanding of the candidate’s coding skills

When hiring, it is important that you ask the questions in an environment that is not too distracting and where you can really focus on what the candidate is doing. But a bad coding environment can lead to incorrect answers, and that can mean the difference between the best and the worst candidate.

So, how can you know how good or bad a candidate is in a coding environment? In our experience some candidates don’t do well on coding tests due to a lack of basic coding knowledge. This is usually the case if the candidates have never worked on a code base. This is especially true when the developer doesn’t know how to work with common design tools. Other times, developers come to coding interviews unprepared.

Using coding interview platforms such as Geektastic.com can help separate those coders that know have prepared and have experience quickly saving you time and money.

Get a rough understanding of the candidate’s problem-solving skills

Every candidate tries to become a real expert of their domain. That’s why most of them are very excited to have someone with the authority of giving them an opinion on their code. It’s a golden opportunity for you to learn a bit about the person, to feel how he/she thinks and works.

A simple, clear idea of the problem is a very good start. However, the problem needs to be answered in the same way. If you can’t tell how the candidate solved his problem, you can not recommend that he works for your team.

Ask good technical questions you need to know what exactly they did. It’s okay to ask simple questions like “show me how this part of the code works”.

Determine if the candidate is a cultural fit

Communication is often the most challenging aspect for a developer in a corporate environment. In fact, one of the most difficult jobs of a developer is to work within a team. Determine whether the candidate is willing to make the effort to work within a company where they will need to constantly communicate with a diverse group of people.

Try to determine if they can get along with the team. Respect is crucial to developing a good working environment. If you feel that your candidate lacks respect for those around them, you might be in for a bumpy ride.

Find out what the candidates enjoy about the company. This will determine if they’re an upgrade or not. You want to know what motivates the candidate.

Determine if the candidate is a good communicator

Effective communication can make or break the relationship between the candidate and the team. If a candidate is too much of an engineer in his mindset, they may end up either shutting down the opportunity or letting you down. Candidates should have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, even if they have different working styles.

Effective communication also makes sure that the candidate does not misunderstand the company’s goals, thereby making it easier for the company to understand their perspective.

Determine if they work well with others. The best developers can work with a team from different backgrounds. For instance, they can provide constructive criticism when needed, while also having an understanding of the input and the output of the team.