Home > .NET, Pair Programming, TDD, Test Driven Development > Remote interviews using VNC

Remote interviews using VNC

thycotic is currently looking for a strong .NET developer with an interest in Test Driven Development to join our team.Part of our standard interview process is to “pair program” with a candidate to introduce them to one of our typical code bases, company APIs, team practices and general fit. I love this approach since it provides wonderful context for digging into the nitty gritty of their technical understanding. The approach is most definitely a two way street and both sides get to try out the fit – after all who wants to hire someone where the job isn’t going to work out after a few months!?

We have been interviewing several candidates (mostly local) but one candidate (who will remain unnamed) was based on the West Coast. So, what do you do? Sure, big fancy consulting companies might just fly the candidate out with all expenses paid, etc. but we area lean operation and we work smart to deliver the most value to our clients.

Our answer: We coordinated our timezones to have myself and another developer (Bryant Smith) available for some “tri” pairing with thecandidate. Our office manager, Hari, organized the right network connectivity to getVNC access into one of our pairing workstations. The candidate then called our toll free line (1-877-TDD-2WIN of course! Who else would have a TDD toll free line but thycotic!?) and connected through VNC over the internet to our offices in Vienna, VA. We maintained a three person pairing session with the candidate for about 4 hours and wrote some interesting code and had plenty of discussion. There was a little lag at one point but nothing too severe.

Did we hire him? Unfortunately after everything being very positive on both sides, he decided to pursue a developer job in a specific vertical market that has always interested him but it was still a great experience for everyone (and the client even got the use of a 3 person “pair” without paying for it! 🙂 )

  1. http://
    August 12, 2005 at 4:43 am

    How do you deal with tool familiarity issues?

    e.g. i’m way more productive in emacs than visual studio

  2. Jonathan Cogley
    August 12, 2005 at 1:03 pm

    Candidates work with our tools in our environment. We forgive any unfamiliarity and it gives them an opportunity to see our work style. In fact, the situation above actually required the candidate to work in VB.NET (the project being worked on was VB.NET) instead of their preferred C#.

    The discussion and interaction during a pairing session are usually enough to determine a good fit or not.

    I haven’t ever seen anyone writing .NET code in emacs … interesting. I have seen people use notepad which is hard to understand given the availability of great IDEs.

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