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Narrowing the Field

In a slow economy or if you’re hiring into a hot company, you may still have more candidates than you can interview.

One way to narrow the field is to send candidates a programming challenge. Work with your team to identify a coding challenge that requires skills consistent with your team’s needs, has a correct answer, and should be able to be coded in a reasonable amount of time. Ask candidates to send you their answer and their code. Or leverage a platform like HackerRank that is purpose-built for this use.

When you get results, interview the candidates who submitted correct answers and whose code shows the kind of thinking, rigor, and documentation you expect.

A suggestion worth pursuing is to do the hands-on programming challenge live using WebEx, IM, or a Web site like typewith.me or sync.in that allows you as the interviewer to watch the remote candidate type. Even better, if you leverage pair programming to any extent on your team, is to pair one of your team with the candidate. It will give you a virtual hands-on feel for candidates before bringing them in for in-person interviews.

What ultimately narrows the field for us is simple: careful screening.

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