September 28, 2022

The Best Free Live Coding Interview Tool in 2022

By Casey Higgins

Coding challenges and take home projects can help you identify the best engineers for a specific role. But sometimes, seeing a candidate’s collaboration style is even better.

Pair programming in interviews shows you how a candidate works with others and communicates their ideas. It’s also a low-pressure way for developer candidates to show off their skills. Unlike a whiteboard challenge, there’s no right or wrong answer—it’s all about the process.

But what about in remote interviews? Sure, you might have a decent pairing setup, but not everyone outside of your team has your tools installed.

Enter: VS Code Live Share.

VS Code now has a Live Share option. Better yet, candidates can use the extension in their browser without installing anything. You can open files, edit the same code, and debug the same app, and the changes are instantly reflected. Plus you can see your candidate’s cursor and follow their actions.

Live Share is a great free alternative to CoderPad (they charge a monthly subscription) and HackerRank (they have a monthly limit on the number of sessions you can run on most plans.)

Here’s how to add this online coding interview tool to your arsenal.

Setting up your free pair programming tool

For engineering leaders 👇

Step 1. Install the Live Share extension

How to install Live Share

Step 2. Sign in with your Github or Microsoft account

How to sign in to Live Share

Step 3. Set up your pairing project in VS Code

Step 4. When it’s time to share, start a Live Share session and share the URL with the candidate

How to start a Live Share session

Step 5. When they join the session, you’ll be prompted to accept their connection. Choose “Accept Read-Write”

How to accept a Live Share connection

Step 6. End the Live Share session when the pair programming portion of your interview is complete

How to end a Live Share session

For candidates 👇

Step 1. Have the candidate visit the Live Share URL in their browser

Step 2. Have them choose “Continue in Web”, or choose “Open in Visual Studio Code” if they have it installed

How to join a Live Share session

Step 3. Sign in with GitHub or Microsoft (anonymous will work as long as you don’t need to use advanced functions like a shared terminal)

That’s it! Your candidate can now pair program with you.


Hiring software engineers isn’t easy. There’s a lot of competition and it can be tough to find the right candidate.

By incorporating pair programming into your coding interviews, you can screen for both hard AND soft skills while watching how a candidate works in real time. VSCode Live Share is free to use, easy to set up, and adds an extra layer of insight to your interview process.

Need more hiring support? See how Woven detects great engineers and saves 80% of your engineering team’s time.

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