Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Testing

Creighton Foulkes  •  May 7, 2018  •  Testing Techniques

In previous posts we've discussed some of the challenges with technical interviewing. You can read some of what we've been thinking in 'Problems with Technical Hiring' and 'Challenges vs. Projects'.

At a high level, technical interviews are conducted either synchronously (whiteboards, phone screens, code pairing) or asynchronously (take-home challenges and projects). We've seen tons of blog posts and literature on why high pressure whiteboard interviews are a poor indication of skill. While some candidates like the option of a synchronous and interactive interview, others prefer to work on their own time without someone present watching them work.

At Py, we encourage companies to give candidates the choice between an asynchronous versus synchronous interview experience that best suits their skills. When companies use our platform, we want to make sure that their candidates have the best interview experience possible.

When Omni raised their Series B and needed to scale their engineering team, they turned to Py to add flexibility to their interview process. By giving candidates the option to choose between a live code pairing session via CodePad, or a 'take-home' Challenge or Project, Omni gives candidates the ability to showcase their skills in the environment that they feel the most comfortable.

Forward-thinking companies like Omni leverage Py's platform to manage their entire technical assessment process. Giving candidates an asynchronous take-home programming assignment allows them to work in a comfortable environment, on their own dev setup, and on their own time. For companies, implementing a take-home early on in the hiring funnel serves as an excellent filter for candidates who either don't meet their technical bar or aren't interested enough to take time to complete a take-home.

Once a candidate has passed the take home, we've seen that the best practice is to do a short review of the candidate's work over the phone or onsite. This promotes collaboration, and also gives candidates the opportunity to showcase their thought process. This kind of synchronous interviewing enables the interviewer to actively collaborate with a candidate, allowing them to assess a candidate's communication skills, thought process, and code quality in an environment where they can write and run code in real time. Likewise, for candidates, a synchronous interview is an opportunity to show off skills by writing real code, a less stressful scenario than a traditional whiteboard interview.


With nearly every tech company facing a shortage of top engineering talent, candidate experience is super important. Grilling engineers over the phone or in high-pressure whiteboarding interviews isn't conducive to a good experience, and companies that do this often lose out on top talent.

By empowering Omni to add flexibility to their interview process, Py has saved their team engineering hours that would have otherwise been spent on technical phone screens, or searching for resume keywords. The result: a better candidate experience, and a more accurate signal for Omni.

At Py, we believe that providing your company with the flexibility to manage technical assessment benefits both your engineering teams, and the candidate experience. Whiteboarding and brain-teaser questions provide no real indication of candidate ability, and also detract from the interview experience. Adding flexibility with both synchronous and asynchronous technical assessments empowers companies to make the right hires, and gives candidates the opportunity to put their best foot forward during the process.