Say you’re hiring a front end developer. You need to make sure they got chops, right? So you have to interview them. Interviewing isn’t easy for either party. I’ve heard some pretty embarrassing stories about companies who just aren’t doing it right.

CodePen can help with interviewing. Here’s how.

You don’t need to fly your interviews out for the technical part

You might want to fly them out so you can meet them and see if they are a cultural fit and don’t smell like pee and stuff. But if you just want to check and see if they can code HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you can use CodePen to do that.

Sure, you could email them some exercise and have them email it back or something, but that’s not as good of proof as having them do it right in front of you. That’s where Collab Mode comes in. Collab Mode allows for real time coding and chat between multiple people.

You (or you and several interviewers) could invite your interviewee in a Collab Mode session and have them work on some front end code right before your eyes, from anywhere in the world.

Beau Smith from Square was one of the first people to have done this with CodePen, and he helped us tighten up that experience tremendously.

Give them a task

Kyle Peatt over at Mobify also uses CodePen as part of the hiring process. For instance, he’ll give them an image of a button and ask them to code it in less than 15 minutes.

Anthony Onesto at Razorfish also told me they use CodePen to help qualify applicants for front end jobs. They set up Pens in advance and then get everyone into a Collab Mode session together.

I spoke with Lara Hogan from Etsy, and she also uses coding challenges when interviewing front end hires. She has a site where she converts visual ideas from Geometry Daily into Pens. She might ask an interviewee to take on a similar job, to get a feel for how they would approach that problem.

Khalid Saleem from Office Depot also told us he uses Collab Mode for interviewing. It’s cool to so many companies using it for that.

It’s about process and thinking

Of course, you’re free to judge the work of your interviewees however you wish. But I think most people would agree that what you are looking for is people’s thought process. How do the think through problems? How do they get over stumbling blocks? Can they handle a little pressure? You get a sense of all that when interviewing with Collab Mode on CodePen.

Example Pens

See the Pen 6e9660f7501ffa0db878eaee5c2993b8 by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) on CodePen.

See the Pen Code exericse by Dan Betz (@bephf) on CodePen.

See the Pen CSS Test — Button by Mobify (@mobify) on CodePen.

Other Resources