How To Conduct a Technical Whiteboard Interview Online Effectively

March 25, 2022
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Best practices for whiteboard interview online include picking intuitive virtual tools, creating a good CX, and setting objective test guidelines and evaluation

What makes a whiteboard interview effective? A whiteboard interview is successful when HR/recruiters can accurately assess technical problem-solving while ensuring applicants have a good candidate experience. In this article, we will look at some best practices for your next whiteboard interview online.

Best Practices for Whiteboard Interview Online

Preparation is key to good execution. A well-executed remote whiteboard interview can exceed on-site meetings in terms of ease and efficiency. Apart from the basics of a stable Internet connection, it starts with picking the right online tools and environment for the test. Interviewers can set test guidelines and evaluations once the testing platform is set up. 

Pick the Right Tools

Whiteboarding is meant to demonstrate a candidate’s technical problem-solving skills. However, in a virtual setting, certain factors can get in the way and distract participants from the test itself. Recruiters need to prioritize the following when choosing virtual tools for a whiteboard interview online:

  • User-friendly: Tools must be easy to use for both interviewers and candidates. Choose online tools that emphasize convenience and allow candidates to input code faster than using an actual whiteboard. 
  • Intuitive: Drawing and diagramming must be intuitive for applicants. Ideally, candidates should not spend too much time figuring out a sophisticated drawing tool during the test. 
  • Collaborative: Virtual whiteboard platforms should be designed for collaboration so interviewers/recruiters can closely follow candidates’ problem-solving processes. 

Sometimes, less is more. Pick the right tools that allow candidates to demonstrate their skill rather than complicated tools with a long list of features but are unwieldy both for recruiters and applicants. 

Create a Good Candidate Experience

As facilitators, HR/recruiters are responsible for creating a good candidate experience. This process includes ensuring the virtual environment is conducive to the test and that applicants are well prepared. 

Consider sharing whiteboard assessment tools with shortlisted applicants beforehand. This way, they can become familiar with the environment and work out any issues they might have on the test day. If this is not possible, look for other resources such as a walkthrough or training exercises so candidates can plan their demonstration accordingly. 

Another factor to consider is whether to use complimentary tools. Some candidates may not show their complete expertise on a whiteboard alone for several reasons. Think about other tools such as an integrated development environment (IDE) for coding and live coding editors that allow candidates to build on top of existing code. Using complementary tools will also help HR/recruiters to assess candidates’ debugging approaches, among other skills. 

Set Test Guidelines

A well-prepared technical whiteboard interview does not leave candidates wondering what they should do. Here are a few things to consider when laying out test guidelines:

  • Instructions: Test instructions should be clear and easy to follow. Ask candidates if they have any questions before starting the assessment.
  • Time: Give candidates enough time to complete what they need to do without rushing.
  • Output: Expectations regarding output should be reasonable and not overwhelming to candidates.
  • Reliability: Given the virtual setting, there should be reliable safeguards against fraud and cheating to ensure all candidates are measured fairly. Inform applicants of anti-fraud measures such as camera snapshots, IP tracking, and profile authentication so they can avoid being unduly penalized for inadvertent actions.

Use Objective Evaluation 

Lastly, HR/recruiters should develop objective standards for evaluation beforehand. High tech applicants often complain of technical whiteboard interviews being used as a tool to reject candidates for less than justifiable reasons. On the other hand, an objective scorecard leaves no room for unconscious bias but is based strictly on skill and capability assessment. Below are some benefits of an objective evaluation for technical whiteboard tests:

  • Accuracy: HR/recruiters can trust whiteboard test results to reflect a candidate’s true skill and capability.
  • Speed: An objective scoring method is repeatable for any number of applicants. It can be applied to many results at a faster rate since it is not based on subjective standards. 
  • Unbiased: High-quality candidates will not be missed due to conscious or unconscious bias affecting the scoring process. 

A good whiteboard interview online sets up candidates for success on every front while helping HR/recruiters zero in on skill and capability. Picking the right tools and environment helps candidates focus on coding and makes the experience more enjoyable than stressful. An objective standard for assessment builds trust in test results and speeds up the hiring process. Lastly, a technical whiteboard interview leaves no room for bias and highlights strong candidates with the skills needed for the job. 

Get Whiteboard Interviews Right

Filtered simplifies whiteboard interviews online with LiveRooms Workspace, a multi-file and collaborative environment for technical interviews. 

LiveRooms features:

  • Live Coding: Single file editor for candidates to take coding challenges on top of existing code. 
  • Live Whiteboard: Real-time whiteboard interview with live recorded sessions.
  • IDE workspace: Interactive and paired programming exercises.
  • RDS: For specific use cases in high tech hiring

Filtered shortens the interview process and lets you focus on assessing skill and capability. Our platform fits into your existing workflow with no need to change your hiring process. 

Filtered is a leader in skill-based, data-driven recruiting technology. Our end-to-end hiring platform enables you to focus on skills, spend time reviewing the most qualified candidates, and streamline workflows. We’ll help you humanize hiring while also applying data-driven techniques to select the right candidates. To get started, contact our team today or register for a FREE demo.