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Creating a Take-Home Question

CoderPad supports asynchronous Take-Home interviews to make scheduling easier, allow candidates to take a deeper dive on a project, and increase evaluation efficiency for your team.

CoderPad Take-Homes 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 with or without test cases. 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.

The link to the Question Bank can be found in the left-side navigation. On the questions page, simply click “Create Question” and then choose “Take-Homes” or “Take-Homes with Test Cases” to get started.

You can choose to set up a question with or without test cases. Adding Test Cases will require additional setup time, but may allow for faster review of candidate code in the future.

Creating Take-Home Questions (Without Test Cases)

Take-Home Questions need to be clear and specific so the candidate can understand what’s being asked of them as they work on their own. When creating a new question, please include:

  • A title – which will make it easier for others on your team to know how and when to use this question, and is not visible to the candidate
  • A starting language – if you would like to recommend a language for the candidate to use
  • Candidate instructions – all the instructions the candidate needs to successfully complete the exercise
  • Option to add a custom file or database
  • Internal description of the question – this will only be seen or used by colleagues – candidates do not see this information
  • Question contents – any starting code the candidate should see when they start the Take-Home
  • Solution – Example(s) of an expected solution to help you and your colleagues assess the quality of the candidate’s work
  • A time limit – minimum 30 minutes, one hour, 90 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours, or no limit

The “Candidate Instructions” section is the most critical element for you to set up. Because no one is available to guide or answer questions for the candidate, it’s important that this information be as comprehensive and thorough as possible. You should include the context of the question (including files or databases), specifics of what you want the candidate to achieve, and starter code (if appropriate).

Save the question, and it will appear in the Question Bank under “My Content”. After you have saved the question, we recommend that you click “Preview Question” before sending it to a candidate. When you preview, your question will load in the Sandbox so you can view the question as the candidate will see it. Here you can do a trial run of your question and ensure it’s clear and complete.

Creating Take-Home Questions (With Test Cases)

Take-Homes with test cases allow the candidate to better understand the desired solution. When candidates run their code in the IDE, they will be able to see if the tests that you set up pass or fail. 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 Candidates a Take-Home

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 will be recorded.

After the Test and Reviewing Pads

After the candidate completes the Take-Home, they will click “Submit” to end the session. If a candidate runs out of time or closes the tab, their Take-Home will be automatically submitted in its current state.

After the Take-Home is submitted, Playback Mode shows a recording of the candidate’s work with timestamps, and test cases can also be reviewed by the employer. CoderPad records all code written in the left hand pane, plus execution output. Code written in the console or REPL in the right hand pane is not recorded. You can click the “Playback” button next to a pad in the Pads List to review the take-home challenge at any time.