Customers often ask us "How can we be sure that the job applicant is not cheating?" It's a valid question and one that isn't always easily answered.
In the early days of pre-hire testing, all tests were administer on site at the company's location. It was easy to maintain strict control over the testing process, including the physical location, tools available and any outside assistance that would be given (or not).
These days most tests are administered online with the test taker at home and, with the increase in remote working, that number will continue to increase. Remote testing of job applicants, just like the remote workforce, is here to stay.
Now that we're all committed to remote testing, let's define what we mean by "cheating". Applicants can cheat on a pre-hire test in multiple ways, including the following:
- Searching online for answers, during the test session (using their computer or phone)
- Having someone else take the test for them
- Using unauthorized books, notes or other printed material
Obviously these activities should not be tolerated by the hiring company. If a new hire has falsely represented their skills, a myriad of problems can arise, from safety to productivity to overall employee morale. But there are some simple steps (and then some not-so-simple ones) that a company can take when applicants are testing remotely.
- Include language in the emailed test invitation stating that applicant certifies that they are taking the tests without any outside assistance.
- Advise the candidates that their test sessions are being monitored in multiple ways for deceptive activity (which is true).
- Monitor the time taken on the tests, including time spent per question (if available on the report). Ask your account rep for guidelines about how much time should be spent overall on the test and then also per test question. Too much time may indicate the candidate is searching online for help.
- Two rounds of testing. The first round of test(s) are administered remotely and screens out unqualified candidates. The second round happens when the candidate interviews in the office (if possible) and serves as a confirmation of the first round results.
- Include in your employment application that the company may re-test applicants after employment begins and any discrepancy in skill/knowledge levels may be grounds for termination.
Some customers are using Zoom meeting sessions to monitor test sessions. The applicant will complete the test while sharing their screen with the interviewer. Other companies have used Skype or Webex in the same way. Such functionality is in the plans to add to our platforms.
Visual confirmation of testing, whether in person or by video, will continue to be the "gold standard" to ensure the applicant is not cheating. But taking the steps outlined above (and communicating those steps to applicants) will help to reduce the probability of it happening during your hiring process.