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Creating a challenge to use for an Take-Home

CoderPad is a platform for conducting remote technical assessments in the browser. Our interface is very similar to a programmer’s everyday tools and allows code to be run as it’s written. This makes for a comfortable candidate experience and allows the candidate to fully demonstrate their technical skills. CoderPad supports live interactive interviews, where both the candidate and the interviewer join a shared session at the same time, and, in our Business and Enterprise plans, take-home challenges for candidates where scheduling live collaboration or need for evaluation efficiency is a factor.

Our take-home challenges let you see a candidate’s code, understand how they think through problems, and assess the completeness of their solution in less time than a live interview.

We also provide the option to set up a take-home challenge with or without test cases, where providing test cases can help a candidate better understand the desired solution as well as give reviewers a chance to see how complete a candidate’s solution is.

Once you select “Challenges” from the left hand sidebar, you will be taken to your Challenge Library for use only with Take-Homes. Here you can create challenges for candidates to complete during Take-Homes. You can choose to set up a challenge with or without test cases. Including Test Cases will require more time when creating a new challenge, but may allow for faster review of candidates’ code in the future.

Note: Challenges are an entirely different library from the questions used for live pads.

Creating Challenges (Without Test Cases)

Challenges for Take-Homes need to be clear and specific so the candidate can understand what’s being asked of them, independently. When writing a new challenge, please include:

  • A title - which will make it easier for others on your team to know how and when to use this challenge
  • A starting language - if you would like to recommend a language for the candidates to use
  • An option to add a custom file - for use during the challenge
  • An internal description of the challenge - this will only be seen or used by colleagues - candidates do not see this information
  • Challenge contents - which is the information the candidate will see when they start the take-home
  • A time limit - minimum one hour, 90 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours, or no limit

The challenge Contents section is the most critical element for you to set up. Please remember that there won’t be anyone available to guide or answer questions for the candidate, so it’s important that this information be as comprehensive and thorough as possible. Feel free to include the context of the challenge, be specific in your assignment for the challenge, and include starter code.

When you have completed writing your challenge, we recommend that you click “preview challenge” before sending it to a candidate. When you preview, you will be taken to the sandbox and simulate the candidate experience. Here you can complete your challenge like a candidate and ensure it’s clear and complete.

Creating Challenges (With Test Cases)

Challenges with Test Cases allow the candidate to better understand the desired solution. When candidates run the code in the IDE, they will be able to see if the tests that you create pass. They will also have the ability to see the test suite within a tab located next to the program output.

Here’s a quick video showing how to make a challenge with test cases:

Sending participants the assignment

Each take-home pad will have a unique URL per candidate that you can send via email. You can generate one URL at a time or create them in bulk. If you are creating in bulk we highly recommend you customize the name of each take-home pad with the candidate’s name to ensure consistent tracking. In your email, be sure to let the candidate know the time/date they should have completed the take-home by, how long the timer is set for, and let them know that the playback and timestamps will be recorded.

After the test and reviewing pads After the candidate completes the challenge, they will click “Submit” to end the session. This makes playback mode with timestamps and test cases available for review by the employer. CoderPad permanently stores all data including code written and execution output. You can click the “Playback” button next to a pad to review the take-home challenge at any time.

Final tips Each live and take-home pad you create counts against your quota. However, if you have created a pad but didn’t send it to a candidate, you can rename it and use it for a different challenge. You can delete pads but once they’re gone, they’re gone for good, so be careful with this feature! Deleted pads still count against your interview quota.