Interview Kickstart Remote Interview Survival Guide Part 2
Welcome to the second part of Interview Kickstart’s survival guide on continuing to educate you on the best practices for remote interviews. In this segment, you will learn how to create a proper set-up for a remote interview.
Writing Code During Remote Interviews
For actual coding/drawing, there are three primary configurations that can work:
- Whiteboard Setup (Whiteboard or a Flip Chart is the same thing for this purpose)
- Digital Setup
- Good ‘ol pencil and paper
Pick your setup according to what’s most comfortable to you. There is no right or wrong.
With a Whiteboard Setup, we assume that you’ll be writing code and diagramming on a whiteboard. You will want to place your computer and/ or webcam on a desk with the camera focused on a whiteboard. Similar to a traditional onsite interview, you will stand in front of the whiteboard and use it to solve your problems.
In the Digital Setup, you will sit at a desk and use screen-sharing or other collaborative tools online while solving problems.
When it comes to using Good ‘ol paper and pencil, we would recommend using a quality webcam or overhead document camera to show an interviewer your work.
In either case, you will need to be sure that you have a strong internet connection, a HD camera (computer or high quality USP camera), and the tools to execute.
Note that you will need to ask the interviewer (or recruiter) if you can use your favorite tools and if your setup works for them. Many interviewers will be comfortable with this request as they want you to succeed. That being said, if they do insist on their preferred setup, it will likely be fairly similar to your own (assuming you follow the tips outlined in this guide. ;-) ).
Below is a list of recommended equipment you will need for each setup we discussed:
With this setup we assume that you’ll be writing code and diagramming on a whiteboard.
- Whiteboard or Whiteboard Adhesive alternative products like a FlipChart
- Expo, (Black, Blue, and Red) whiteboard markers.
- Pro-tip from a frugal tech startup, moonlighting as a school for software developers: Keep markers capped and store upside down to keep them fresh.
- USB lapel microphone or wireless headset microphone
- Book, stools, or other elevated surfaces can also be used to add height to the camera view.
For this setup, you will be using a PC and/or a tablet to do the coding and drawing during the remote interview. Some of the tools below have corresponding mobile apps.
- A PC is the preferred device to code on if you already have access to one since typing and viewing the screen will be easier.
- CoderPad.io is one of the most popular code editors. Codebunk.com, Collabedit.com, and Codepair are some other code editors you can look into. Google Docs can also work.
- The easiest way to digitally draw diagrams is to pair a tablet with a virtual whiteboard. Most video conferencing tools like Zoom have one in their software.
- More great drawing tools: Draw.io is the one of the most popular, while Bitpaper.io, https://conceptboard.com/, and ExplainEverything app (Our instructors’ favorite app for teaching) are also quite useful.
Good ‘ol pencil and paper
- Just write in your favorite notebook and hold it in front of the camera.
- Or use an overhead digital document camera with USB or other video streaming capability.
- Remember to have a couple of extra pencils (and maybe some extra paper) at hand.
- Make sure your lighting is bright enough for the interview to easily see what you have written or drawn on paper.
You should now have a better understanding on how to approach interviewers and your setup for when you meet with them for the next phase of the interview process. However, have you thought about the things that could go wrong?
In our next installment, we discuss how to problem-solve technical difficulties that can interrupt your interview and affect your chances of nailing the technical interview out of the park. See you in the next part!
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