Welcome to CodeSignal Interview, the remote technical interview platform complete with an advanced cloud-based IDE, collaboration tools, and more features for scaling up your hiring! Unlike traditional whiteboard or Google Doc interviews, CodeSignal Interview enables evaluating candidates in an authentic software development environment, with the added conveniences of built-in video calling and a shared online whiteboard.
Candidates write real code that compiles, making for a more realistic interview experience that emulates actual software development work. Candidates can even demonstrate real-world skills like using source control and the Linux command line.
In this guide you’ll learn how to:
- Get oriented with CodeSignal Interview
- Choose interview questions
- Schedule an interview
- Conduct an interview
- Review and share interview results
Get oriented with CodeSignal Interview
How is Interview different from other CodeSignal solutions?
The CodeSignal platform has solutions for each stage of the hiring funnel. Pre-Screen serves the top of the funnel. It saves your team time by giving candidates assessments that they can complete on their own time, while reliably identifying which candidates have the skills required for the role. Tech Screen also slots in prior to the final stage of interviews. CodeSignal conducts a live technical evaluation on your company’s behalf, freeing up your engineers’ time in this stage of the process.
CodeSignal Interview supports the final step in a candidate’s series of evaluations. Having filtered your candidate pool to the top prospects, you can then schedule time for them to meet your own engineering team and complete a remote onsite interview. Typically, feedback from this interview (or interviews) is the primary input in making a final hiring decision.
Explore the Interview dashboard
The Interview tab within the CodeSignal dashboard has all the main resources for managing your organization’s interviews and reviewing results. This page shows statistics summarizing how many interviews your company has conducted. Also available are options to create a new interview, manage interview templates, and adjust settings. At the bottom is a searchable list of interviews. You can get a closer look at the dashboard by watching our video walkthrough.
Note that there is a separate CodeSignal Question Library available from the top menu and distinct from the Interview dashboard. This is where you’ll find both CodeSignal’s technical questions and your company’s custom questions, and where you can create new questions. We’ll describe how to do this and all the other key workflows for interviewing throughout the rest of this guide.
Choose interview questions
It’s important to be prepared before conducting an interview. We strongly recommend that new interviewers conduct a mock interview session with a colleague to get comfortable with CodeSignal and to familiarize themselves with their interview questions. There are several options for choosing interview questions. You can leverage CodeSignal’s existing library or use custom questions for your company. You can also group questions together into templates that are standardized across interview sessions.
Types of questions
CodeSignal questions are categorized into various types. A question’s type determines whether it is eligible to be asked in CodeSignal Interview or one of our other solutions. Here’s our full list of supported question types for Interview. Popular question types include:
- Single function: A defined scenario expecting a certain output. Can be scored with automated test cases.
- Free coding: A “playground” environment with access to a terminal. Requires human review.
- Frontend: A framework with full markup support and live previewing for web development.
- Filesystem: A hierarchical filesystem allowing interviewers and candidates to create, edit, and remove files.
CodeSignal supports over 40 programming languages, which you can selectively enable for questions you create. Some other advanced features that are beyond the scope of this guide include progressive questions and advanced assessment questions.
Use the question library to find or create questions
Accessible from the top menu within CodeSignal, the question library contains hundreds of tasks you can use for interviewing candidates. You can search and filter through this list to find an appropriate question that meets any constraints you may have, such as question type or programming language. You can add to the library, too, which we explain in depth in our series of articles on creating questions.
To view a question from the library, just click on its name, which links to an IDE where you can preview and try the question yourself and see the solution code.
Create templates to standardize your company’s interviews
Technical interviews generally consist of multiple questions. Templates let you align on these questions ahead of time and keep the interview process consistent across your organization, allowing you to conduct structured interviews—a best practice for reducing bias in interviews. They also support structured feedback in the form of customizable feedback categories. For example, you could create categories for “communication skills” and “problem solving abilities.” This way, interviewers will focus on a consistent set of criteria in their evaluations.
Questions from the question library are the building blocks of templates. When creating a template, you can draw directly from the library with a chance to preview the question either in the same window or in our IDE. For the specifics on how to create and edit templates, as well as customize feedback categories, check out our step-by-step tutorial.
Schedule an interview
There are several options for creating a new interview, including from the CodeSignal Interview dashboard. When you create an interview, you can specify metadata such as the candidate’s name, which will make it easier to look up the interview later. You can also assign an interview template in advance and even lock this template so that the interviewer must stick to the question you've chosen.
After creating an interview, you will have access to a link. Share this URL with both the interviewer(s) and candidate to invite them to the session. The link is the same for both parties, with the key difference being that interviewers need to log in to CodeSignal. You can also schedule interviews via your ATS and other supported integrations, such as Greenhouse, iCIMS, and GoodTime.
Make sure all your interviewers have access to the platform before their sessions. It’s possible to have more than one interviewer in a given session, although we recommend limiting this to at most three interviewers for the best experience. See our Knowledge Base for other best practices for arranging interviews.
Conduct an interview
Upon joining an interview, candidates and interviewers will be placed into a waiting room. The interviewer has the option to start the interview immediately, otherwise the platform will automatically start the session once both parties have arrived (after a brief countdown). Here are video overviews of the interviewer’s view, as well as the candidate’s.
Candidates and interviewers will join a collaborative CodeSignal IDE with extra features unique to our Interview product. While a candidate and an interviewer share an IDE, the candidate’s view is a simplified one that shows only the active question’s description alongside the actual coding environment. The interviewer, meanwhile, has extra controls to change the task on display to the candidate. They also have a place for notetaking to capture feedback.
Some other unique elements of the CodeSignal Interview IDE are the built-in audio and video-calling capabilities as well as a shared whiteboard powered by Miro. Once both the interviewer and candidate open the IDE, a timer appears in the top-right corner indicating how long until the interview session expires. It’s not an issue if this timer runs low since the interviewer can always extend the session. Interviewers may also find it helpful to follow the candidate’s actions, a feature that highlights what another user is doing in the IDE in real time.
Interviewers have several options for assigning a question to the candidate. Since the Interview IDE directly integrates with the question library, interviewers can search and filter for their desired questions. Templates are also available in a separate tab, giving an easy way to stay aligned with other interviewers in your organization. In the event that an interviewer wants to ask a free-form question or a question that isn’t in the library, the Quickstart tab provides a set of frameworks that are effectively blank canvases with some minimal boilerplate code. You can see a video overview of these options here.
Lastly, another popular feature is the Tests tab, which lets interviewers search for a particular candidate’s Pre-Screen results. This can be useful for starting a discussion about the candidate’s thought process in their earlier evaluation.
Review and share interview results
After an interview is over, it becomes available for review in the CodeSignal Interview dashboard. You can search for an interview by the candidate’s name or email and filter along a variety of categories, such as the interviewer’s name. To review a specific interview, click on the candidate’s name, which opens a version of the CodeSignal IDE. Here, you can see a candidate’s scores for all the questions asked in that interview.
CodeSignal stores replays of a candidate’s keystrokes, too, so for any question you can view how the candidate arrived at their solution. It’s possible to speed a replay up to 32 times the original speed. Note that replays do not include the candidate’s video or audio, which are not recorded.
Anyone reviewing a candidate’s interview results can leave notes in the feedback section of the IDE, and people in your organization with appropriate permissions can view all the feedback left on a given interview.
To save and share interview results, you can download a PDF report from the IDE. You have the option to anonymize the report by hiding the candidate’s name, a useful practice for reducing bias in your hiring. It’s also possible to download interview data in bulk from the Interview dashboard.
With that, you should be ready to use CodeSignal Interview to expand your team and improve the quality of the interview experience for both candidates and interviewers! If you aren’t yet using CodeSignal’s other solutions to streamline technical skill screening, be sure to check out CodeSignal Pre-Screen and Tech Screen today.