In the radically changing world of IT, putting together the right team in adequate time could make or break a startup. Existing businesses have functional HR departments in place but they would agree that cost of hiring the right candidate can be a lot, both in terms of time and resources that it takes. This leads to slow team expansion and replacement of former employees.
RemoteInterview.io provides a virtual environment for interviewing software developers. While not only simulating in-person interviews, but also helps in enhancing them. The centerpiece of the application is a coding window, where the interviewee can write and execute code requested by an interviewing panel. The panel can in turn rate and comment on code areas for later reference when comparing various candidates. Candidates and the interviewing panel can interact in real-time through chat, video and audio calls. Finally the application generates comparison reports and summaries to automatically filter out the best candidates.
Following is a short Q & A session with the team behind RemoteInterview.io to discuss the application.
Q1. PiLabs has been serving remote clients themselves for years. What finally sparked the idea of improving the hiring process for remote clients?
Building your dream team is the key for any business success but hiring people is a time consuming task. We remember securing a big business deal and had a challenge of hiring eight great software engineers in a month. We ended up spending all our time and energy on scanning resumes, conducting phone interviews and inviting people in person to conduct interviews. Our productivity suffered and worst of all, most of our efforts were being wasted on interviewing unqualified candidates.
We looked around and realized that we were not alone. Every software company goes through the same painful hiring process. That’s when we decided to solve this problem.
Q2. For the uninitiated, please highlight the awards/accolades that RemoteInterview.io has claimed so far.
We were one of 16 global startups selected by Google For Entrepreneurs for Blackbox Connect and were invited to Silicon Valley for two weeks.
RemoteInterview also won the “Best Startup” award at P@sha ICT Awards in 2014, where we were competing with some of the local industry giants in our category. Then we showcased our product at APICTA 2014 – Jakarta Indonesia, and bagged Silver (Runners-Up) in the Start-Up category. The competition at APICTA is always fierce, since all local ICT award winners from across Asia Pacific countries are competing against each other. It’s like the American Idol or Shark Tank for Techies. The vote of confidence from international judges at APICTA was a reassuring step in our growth.
Q3. How important was it to keep the app code-centric (specifically for hiring software developers), and how do you plan on expanding the current application?
If you are hiring a singer, what would you do? You would want them to sing during an audition. And if you are hiring a programmer, what would you do? You also want to see them in action and get a feel for their thought process.
Coding practices and algorithm design are the most important skills to check when you are hiring a programmer. That is the main focus of this application.
We are building a powerful platform to conduct technical hiring. We are currently focused on programming jobs but our team is also working on other technical areas like Databases, IQ etc. We also see the potential to add support for more verticals like design. In fact, our platform already supports HTML/CSS for web design.
Q4. How does RemoteInterview.io compare to other hiring and screening practices like the Fizz-Buzz test or screening the candidate’s previous code examples, including a GitHub profile?
The best part of using RemoteInterview.io is that you can make your screening process completely automated. Whether you want Fizz-buzz or other more complex algorithms, it takes minimal effort from your team. Our powerful engine validates the solutions by candidates and score them automatically.
Github profile review or screening past code can be useful but it takes a tremendous amount of time. Also, due to it’s subjective nature, it can be easily misleading, since not all programmers share their best work on repositories like Github and many simply cannot share their best work due to non-disclosure agreements.
Q5. What is RemoteInterview’s target market?
Lots of companies are hiring programmers and that’s where our target market is. We are currently focused on tech companies in the Bay Area (California, U.S.A) and aggressively acquiring new customers.
Q6. How reliable and secure is your platform?
Security and reliability is at the heart of RemoteInterview, from SSL and encryption at all endpoints. The real challenge was when we had to execute user-submitted binaries on our servers. Which, if exploited, could have lead to disarray quickly. So we developed a separate module for isolating code executions (which we also open sourced https://github.com/remoteinterview/ ). Servers are load balanced to improve reliability. To top it all off, we employ tools and techniques like reverse proxy servers to prevent spammers, SQL injections and DDoS attacks.
Q7. Coding live to a panel of interviewers can be nerve-wrecking for many candidates. How do you think the product affects their performance?
We have levels of screening:
First, we screen candidates using coding challenges. This is very powerful. We normally filter out 80-90% candidates using our engine. It’s completely automated and takes zero effort from your team.
Second, we have a powerful interviewing tool for real-time panel interview. We agree this can be nerve-wrecking for many candidates but in-person interviews are nerve-wrecking as well. A lot of companies actually want to see how a candidate performs under stress.
However, we do work towards making the interviewing process as smooth as possible. We have designed a programmer friendly environment to allow eligible candidates to perform best to their abilities. We believe that having a remote interview helps candidates regulate their environment and focus on the job at hand, rather than being affected by the stresses of commute, an unfamiliar office space, room temperature, lighting etc.
At the end of the day, you get to focus on one thing: the candidate’s ability to deliver quality code. RemoteInterview.io takes care of the rest.