Testing applicants remotely can make your life easier. You can pre-screen the applicants, before they step one foot into your office. Fewer people to interview, more efficient process, quicker time to hire. It would be a no-brainer, if only you could be sure that it's not your applicant's cousin's uncle's sister's plumber actually taking the test. And who's to know if the applicant is looking up answers. Surely your applicants wouldn't do that, would they? It can be tough to decide whether or not to allow remote testing, but here are a few thoughts to help you navigate those rough waters. These are not "set in stone" rules by any means but you can use these thoughts to help make the decisions.
1. You can administer behavioral tests remotely and then administer skills and knowledge tests within your offices. Applicants might be more likely to cheat on skills tests (ie Excel tests) and knowledge tests (ie accounting tests) than they are on behavioral tests, where the answers are less clear-cut.
2. Tell applicants about how much time it should take to complete each test. If you don't, the applicant might initially think that, after starting the test, he/she will have hours to complete it, which may lead them to research possible answers. If an applicant knows that the Microsoft Office test should take about 30 minutes, then they will usually complete it in a similar time frame--around 30 minutes, not three hours.
3. Tell applicants that you will be re-testing final candidates in your offices before the job offer is made. And then do so. This will reduce the temptation to cheat because the applicants know that they will have to test again.
None of these are fool proof ways to eliminate cheating but can provide some peace of mind that you are getting an accurate picture of the applicant's abilities.