Coding Challenges have become a common step in the Software engineering interview process. I have had to review a couple challenges and the biggest mistake is a lack of usability testing. People are usually in a rush when they do coding challenges, either to limit the amount of time they are spending, or because they decided to attempt something challenging and time is running out. When we do side projects we often think that because its just us less complications will come up and our estimates will be more accurate. But the reality is that the project is still going to take longer than you expected.
Since most coding challenges end up being rushed, its surprisingly easy to stand out through usability testing. Ask a friend to clone your repository and try to get the code running without any support on your end. A surprising number of code samples and challenges don’t even start once they get into the interviewers hands. Or even worse, your code works perfectly, but the interviewers don’t realize it because you didn’t document what the ‘working’ state looked like well enough.
It might seem like a simple thing to do, but just having two people try to start your app and give you feedback can result in a smooth stress free review of your code sample and give you a strong foot in the door.