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How CodeSignal engineers design for consistency

When most of us think about “consistency” in technical hiring, we think about using a standard set of assessment criteria for all candidates. This kind of consistency—consistency across candidates in hiring—has been shown to have all sorts of benefits for candidate experience, reducing bias in hiring, and identifying top talent.

At CodeSignal, ensuring that our platform facilitates this kind of consistency is top of mind for us. (Check out our guide to structured technical interviews if you haven’t already!) But we weren’t satisfied with thinking only about creating a consistent recruitment experience for all candidates. Our products, after all, touch on multiple dimensions of the hiring process—these should also be consistent. So our engineers took on a challenge:

How can we create consistency across different stages of the hiring funnel?

For Michael Newman, Director of Product & Engineering at CodeSignal, creating consistency throughout the technical hiring process requires thinking about how each stage of the hiring funnel contributes to a holistic picture of a candidate’s skills. 

“Each interaction you have with a candidate, whether it’s an automated test or a live coding session, is a chance to see a new aspect of the candidate,” Michael explained. “Assessment plans should be structured holistically so that when the onsite is over, you have as close to a complete picture of their skills as possible.”

At CodeSignal, his team works to promote consistency in hiring by building a platform that:

  1. Provides a user experience that is intuitive, realistic, and consistent across automated assessments and live technical interviews, and
  2. Encourages interviewers, through its design, to ask fair and effective questions.

Michael and his team achieved the first standard by building out all three of CodeSignal’s products—Test, Certify, and Interview—to use the same full-featured Monaco-powered IDE, the closest you can get to developers’ preferred Visual Studio Code in a cloud-based platform. A consistent IDE across automated assessments and live interviews allows candidates and interviewers to feel at home in the coding environment and personalize it to their liking. It also allows interviewers to focus on assessing a candidate’s coding ability (rather than assessing, say, their ability to quickly learn how to navigate a new coding environment in a high-pressure situation).

An assessment solution designed for best practices

To meet their second standard—building an assessment platform that encourages interviewers to ask good questions—the team had to dig a little deeper. The first step was building out an extensive task library with high-quality, role-specific tasks that are ready to use in both automated assessments and live interviews.

This, however, still didn’t solve two key problems for consistency:

  1. Interviewers could easily slip into inconsistency by assigning different tasks (or using free-coding mode) for candidates applying for the same role, and
  2. Interviewers had no straightforward way to follow up on and revisit a candidate’s automated assessment during their live interview, so there could be inconsistencies between these two stages of the hiring funnel.

The solution to these challenges came in the form of two new features in CodeSignal’s Interview user interface: templates and tests.

Templates ensure that interviewers can ask the same questions in the same order for each candidate. Templates make it easy for interviewers to conduct structured interviews, which are hugely important for creating a consistent candidate experience and ensuring fairness and consistency in decision-making. (Read more about this feature here and here.)

Tests allow interviewers to pull up a candidate’s code from their CodeSignal automated assessment within the interview UI. By revisiting a candidate’s test during the live interview, interviewers:

  • Avoid assigning redundant coding tasks 
  • Create a more positive candidate experience by providing candidates an opportunity to explain their thinking and approach in the automated assessment
  • Gain a more thorough understanding of candidates’ technical and communication skills by hearing how they account for past decisions

To sum up, CodeSignal’s approach to consistency in the hiring process comes down to a realistic cloud-based IDE and the “three T’s”—tasks, templates, and tests—that make it easy for interviewers to conduct effective technical interviews. Together, these features ensure consistency not just from one candidate to the next, but across all the stages of your technical hiring funnel as well.

Learn More

Want to see how CodeSignal can help you build a consistent technical hiring process at your organization? Request a demo, and we’ll be in touch.