What is challenging about technical interviews? Pretty much everything!

Interviews are the most important parameter that a candidate is evaluated upon. Especially, when it comes to technical interviews the process becomes even more difficult as the interviewer has to assess the candidate on each and every part of the job description and also has to get a fair idea if the candidate can work on the particular tech stack of the company.

Besides this, there should be a match between the aspirations of the candidate with the mission of the company. A developer generally has to work with the marketing, operations as well as the design team. Since communication can be a major factor while working with cross-functional teams, strong emphasis is given by the interviewer on good communication. However, no matter how perfectly you have planned out the entire process, there can be tons of problems which can arise and easily disrupt the entire flow of the interview. We have been facing quite a variety of problems at Aircto while conducting remote technical interviews and we are trying to assess them and form a learning pattern to solve these issues.

By the way, for your information, Aircto is a platform where we vet the technical skills of the candidates with the help of our highly skilled experts who are technocrats in their domain.

Here, I shall state some of the problems which we and our experts have faced in our year long journey. We are trying to provide a solution to these kind of problems which can be faced by any interviewer while conducting remote interviews for any technical positions.

Candidate is not receiving the call

We have automated our entire remote interview process by integrating with Knowlarity communications. But still, the fear of the candidate not responding at the very last moment remains. It has happened many times that the expert has postponed some important work to take the interview but in the time of the call, the candidate simply does not pick up. This is a huge moment of frustration for both the expert and us.

We also have introduced automated calls, messages and emails, one set of which is sent to the candidate after the interview is scheduled. And another set is sent 30 minutes before the time of the interview as a reminder. We also provide the candidate to cancel the interview in case they have any sudden emergency. They receive an email with a form where they can put down the reason for the cancellation and their availability on the consequent days. This is how our cancellation form looks like :

Though the number of last moment cancellations was reduced to a certain extent after this implementation, it was not totally eliminated.

We have had a lot of discussions amongst ourselves and with the HRs to figure out a way as to reduce this, but then we realized that we cannot eliminate it. Yes, we can follow up and ask for the confirmation of the candidate but if the candidate is not serious and has changed his mind, well the matter is out of our hands. In such cases, we suggest our experts to deal with it with patience and if a candidate does this more than once, we do not go ahead with the interview.

Candidate does not have network in mobile

I will state one incident that had happened a week before. After the call was connected between the expert and the candidate, their voices were breaking as the candidate was facing some issues with his mobile. Now, generally there is already a lot of nervousness prevailing during the time of the interview, but in this situation, the expert kept his cool and asked the candidate for an alternate number instead. He then contacted our customer success team who them embedded the alternate number of the candidate in the system and the interview was completed seamlessly. It reminds us the importance of keeping our calm in unexpected situations.

Candidates pausing in between interviews

Google can indeed be a blessing for someone who is looking for answers. Well, looking for answers is good but not during the interview. As an interviewer, it is not difficult for you to understand that if a candidate is pausing for about 30-40 seconds after most of the questions, he is upto no good. Now, the question arises, should you confront him? Well, we strongly suggest otherwise.

Though you can be almost sure that he might be taking the help of some external resources, you cannot ask him about it directly. Instead, come up with follow-up questions really quickly. The best part is that, certain theory-based questions can be looked up in google but if you provide the candidate with a practical scenario and ask him to provide a solution based on it, google would be no good. He actually needs to put his concept into use in this case.

Candidate is not who he says he is

I would like to describe this incident as a “funny” one. It happened that one of the candidates had a particular company mentioned in his resume and co-incidentally our expert was very closely related to it. So, it’s no wonder that the expert was inquisitive about the department and the details of the candidate. However, he could not recollect anyone with the name of the candidate to have worked for that particular company. Then came the unexpected. The candidate simply switched off his mobile and never received our call. And we all understood he had never worked for that particular company.

Here is a clip from the interview conversation:

These were some of the many things which can hamper the very reason of conducting the interview. There is no one common solution to these problems as they are completely situational. However, as an interviewer, you need to keep your calm and deal with these situations as patiently as possible.