Using VS Code Live Share for code challenge interviews

Ethan O'Brien
2 min readOct 31
VS Code Live Share

For interviews, the UI team will conduct live coding exercises. These exercises are a mix of HTML visual and JavaScript coding challenges. During these interviews, it is easier for the candidates to write the code themselves instead of the interviewee taking their instructions. Our team has also implemented a single repository with ordered questions to ensure our interviews are consistent.

VS Code Live Share — Remote Collaboration

Live Share allows you to collaborate remotely between multiple people. Once the interview code questions repo has been pulled down locally, you can start a Live Share session and supply the link to another person.

  • When sharing the link, I suggest having the other user click the “Continue as anonymous” option. This saves time by not installing all of the person's extensions.
  • Once the candidate has entered their name, you should allow read and write privileges via a dialog box within the host VS Code.
  • If the candidate is actively coding, I like to turn on the follow feature, which will follow that candidate's cursor around on your local VS Code, including text highlights.

Live Preview — HTML Preview

For the HTML and CSS questions, we need to be able to show a preview of what is coded. For that exercise, you can use the Live Preview extension to open a split panel view of the HTML file. The extension will live reload when changes are made to the file.

Code Runner — Quick run code

For the questions that require the code to be run, a simple Code Runner extension will allow you to run a single file quickly. When using Live Share, the interviewee must run the code, which is a limitation but does work well for how the questions are structured.

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Ethan O'Brien

Software engineering started as a career and now it's my passion. Helping the world through code is one of the most rewarding things.