7 steps to conduct a technical coding interview?

It’s always difficult conducting a programming interview. in this guide, I have provided seven steps to easily frame, conduct and evaluate a technical coding test.

While conducting an interview the final goal is really important, what do you want to find out about the applicant. Some of the common goals are:

  1. Will the candidate be able to write the code in a production environment?
  2. Can the candidate easily discuss problems and code with other people and are they are to read other peoples code easily and understand it?
  3. Does the candidate have a knowledge of algorithms and can solve programming problems given arbitrary constraints?

Apart from strategic goals like programming languages and knowledge of specific frameworks there are some tactical goals as well that you might want to achieve:

When you have given a specific coding problem or task for the candidate to solve, the process by which he/she solves it is more important than the result itself. Here are some pointers to help you along the way.

  1. As such everyone makes mistakes but what kind of mistakes were made. Were they mistakes due to a lack of knowledge about a subject or were they mistake due to unfamiliarity with the problem or were these mistakes due to sloppy work performed by the candidate. How fast were they able to recognize and recover from the mistake
  2. When the candidate solves the problem was it because of skill or were they just plain lucky? Did they have a good logic for solving the problem the way they did? 
  3. Can they candidate discuss and explain to you how they solved the problem and what was the logic behind how they did it? Were you able to understand what they said?
  4. Does the candidate have a good grasp of their own code? Can they easily make changes in the code in a short period of time? Or are they taking a long time to understand their own code?

Tactical Goals:

  1. On the Job performance
  2. Setting them up for Success
  3. Minimize distractions while they are working

On the Job performance:

We want to see how the candidate performs on the job he/she will be tasked to do. So, create an environment as similar as possible to the one they will be working in.

The problems given to solve as well the work environment should be the one they will be facing on the job in their day to day activities.

Things like refactoring the code on a whiteboard or remembering the Api documentation are quite challenging but is not of much significance in the real world.

Refactoring the code they have already  written to work in a new direction. Debugging the code that is not showing any problems in the console is a core skill any programmer would need but many coding tests fail to test for.

Not everything challenging is very useful in day to day life of programmers and use should make a conscious effort to focus on stuff that they might require in the job.

Setting them Up for Success:

You want the programming task to be a challenge but everything else should be such that it helps the candidate to succeed.

You should have a mind set that you want the candidate to succeed.

The instructions should be clear:

There should not be unclear instructions and expectations of outcome, the candidate should not be in a guessing environment of ” what the interviewer really wants to see in the test”. The candidate should not have to deal with aggressive or hostile persons.

You want the candidate to succeed and give their 100%. If you decide not to hire someone it should be because despite their best efforts they were not able to perform on the test. Not because they couldn’t perform because the testing place was dimly lit, or instructions on the task were unclear. Good programmers are difficult to find and if you miss out on them because of silly stuff, its really your loss.

Minimising distraction while they are working

Because coding is both an art and a science you want to minimise distractions as much as possible. More time you can observe them doing work, debugging and have a discussion over their approch to solution the better you will be a judge of their capability and skills.

Make sure they understand the problem and correct them if they veer off the solution. But unnesssory discussions and intrupption distract the developer and does more harm than good.

Contraints and limiting factors of conducting coding interviews


Being Lucky:

Let us assume, a candidate is given a programming question to solve, and they finish it easily and correctly. How they got the solution could be in one of these ways:

  1. Candidate is highly knowledgeable and a skilled performer, and using their skills and knowdge they have solved the problem
  2. Candidate has seen this problem or this type of problem before and just went to the solution they already knew.
  3. Candidate has no knowledge of the problem at all and went with any of the possible ways to try to solve it and just picked the correct one arbitarily.

Ways to circumvent this bais:

Rather than going over the problem objectively get the subjective view of the candidate and try to get the logic and resoning behind the approch.

I am Mohammed Lakkadshaw a full stack javascript developer. 

How to hire a freelance developer.


Finding a developer to build an idea is very hard.

Especially when you yourself don’t know how to code.

And with so many options like going for a solo developer or a team or going for development companies, its easy to get lost in the buzz.

Well, I am here to help, so let’s move on to our journey to find the best developer for you. Here are a list of stuff you are going to learn

2 Types of developers

Price is not equal to quality.

Communication is important

How to judge if you don’t know how to code

Past projects

Open source


Freelance Website: good or bad

Finding developers on the open web

Final words: time, money, energy and project scope


Finding a developer to build an idea is very hard.

Especially when you yourself don’t know how to code.

And with so many options like going for a solo developer or a team or going for development companies, its easy to get lost in the buzz.

Well, I am here to help, so let’s move on to our journey to find the best developer for you:

2 Types of developers

For anything above a very simple app you will require 2 kinds of developers namely

  1. 1. Front end developer
  2. 2. Back end developer

Front end developer develops the user interface of an app name how the app will look. What will be the user flow of the app.

Basically the user interface wether it is web based mobile or desktop based it is developed by the front end developer.

Back end developer developes the back end infrastructure of an app. 

Request for pages from the server storeing information in the datebase. Loging in the user and functions like these

Full stack developer: there are full stack developers as well whoare proficient in bith the front and the back end infrastructure of an app

So, if you are building an app you will atleast require one full stack developer or ane front end and one back en developer.

In the next section we will look at wjere to find these developers

Solo developers, marketplaces or companies

While looking for developers we have basically three options

  1. 1. Solo developers
  2. 2. Marketpalse
  3. 3. Companies
  1. 3. Marketplaces: there are marketplaces like Upwork, freelancer.com or people her hour where you can find developers.

These marketplaces take a cut and become a place where you can get deelopers and developers can get clients.

You can find good developers here but you need to look out for some things

Where a project comes on these sites, a number of developers bid on it and often it becomes a bidding war to become the cheapest.

It is not a good practise because developers bid low prices to get the work and then use sneakily practises to raise the cost of the project and earn money.

To say the least there is not a lot of honesty here. 

Another point of contention is that newbies with very little knowledge and almost no experience come on these platform and bid really really low.

Ask for past experiences and projects and keep in mind communication is really very important when you are hiring from here.

If the developers aren’t good in language and cannot understand what you are explaining skip them, cause minor misunderstand develop into huge costs later on.

Nowadays, premium marketplaces have also sprug up that claim to have good quality developers.

Places like Toptal and Crew charge huge amount compared to places like Upwork and freelancer

But how good quality do they offer as compared to the price premium needs to verified.

As far as marketplaces are concerned Upwork has the largest market share.

Solo developers: 

Another way of finding good developers is going for solo developers for finding them go to sites like stack overflow and open source projects on git hub.

In github look for projects similar to yours.

Those who have a good reputation on stack overflow and lots of open source projects on git hub are generally good developers. These developrs generally have their hands full and might come as expensive.

But if a developer has done stellar work and has good reputation they come out as a are generally cheaper in the long run give good results and complete the project on time

Price is not equal to quality.

One thing you must also understand is the at price is mot quality.

Programming is a skill that is not easily judged, those who can market command good rates those who can’t earn less, that doesn’t mean that they are less skilled.

Like in any other area of expertise if you want to save money you will need to find people who are skilled and ask for less money, the more time and expertise you have the more money you save

How to judge if you don’t know how to code

Ask for past projects

Ask for open source projects

Ask What is the process and time line for delivering work

Ask if they have a blog and

If they have a reputation on stack overflow

Also do some reseach about the technologies involved so the at you are better abelto talk to them.

Choosign between marketplaces:

If you have decided to go with market places I have categorised them as 




Only go to these sites if you need some thing small and insignificant built. developers are dirt cheap but lack in qouality and worksmanship.

Make a fixed budget and dont go over that, it is easy to lose a lot of money and dont gain anything here. 

As much as possible have detailed specifications ready, and if you find something sneaky just back off.

In the middle


There are good as well as bad developers here. Just hire someone who already has some experience in the work you want done. and have details specifications ready




In here they charge a lot of money but you get a personalised manager who finds you the suitable developer for you needs. You dont need a lot of details specs here but they charge a lot more.

And personally I think you dont get the quality for the money you are paying

Coding tests.

There are a lot of companies these days that offer coding tests as a way to judge potential hires. You can subscribe to the m and use the serive to sort the developers. 

I personally belive tests dont do justice to development work there are many other aspects of being a developer than passing a test. Some things just come with experience.

Always remember to ask the developer the scale of projects they have done.

How many users their previous app or web application handled.

How much money did the startups that they work for made. Were the previous projects the developer worked for successful. 

this will give you a general idea what kind of person you are hiring.

You can also consider hiring long term remote developers from sites like

digital  nomad



More importantly try to make a process for hiring developers:

Technologies you require

expertise they must have 

and always tap into muliple markets for talent the more resources you have the better you will fare


Lastly you can approach the web development compnies there arwe dime a dozen web development companies. Ranging from low cost to facncy 

As a general rule hiring a companies are 10x factor more expensive than hiring  an independent developer. 

Companies don’t really produce better code that independent developers but are a less of a hassle if you have a lot of money and are able to find a good company that doesn’t rip you off

In evaluating companies they generally show designs of their apps to you.

Always ask for complexity of the projects and how they pulled it off

Final words:

What is the scope of oyur project. Do you need a prototype to show to investors. Is you the app development centraltp your startup.

Is the project long or short term complicated or simple all come into play while deciding whixh way to go

A good deal is an equation below:

Good Deal = Money X Time X Knowledge (energy)

Keep in mind a good deal is a multipler and not an addition of time, money and energy and not an addition. If you are serioudly lacking in one of these. You are going to geta Bad deal no doubt about it.

Freelance Website: good or bad

Finding developers on the open web

Final words: time, money, energy and project scope.

Hi, I am Mohammed Lakkadshaw a freelance full stack javascript developer for more information about me please visit my blog and website: https://www.mohammedlakkadshaw.com