Online Testing: Common Concerns About Pre-Employment Tests

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One of our posts on our LinkedIn page has recently drawn a lot of attention. Dozens of commenters voiced both compliments and criticisms about TestUP and online employee testing in general. Below, we’ve responded to a few of the comments from those who raised important concerns about the online testing process.

“These attempts to automate the hiring process alienate the rarest of commodities, the passive candidate.”

“Passive” candidates are relaxed, docile people who rarely state their preferences. By this definition, those who identify as passive actually have a great opportunity to showcase their skills in a pre-employment skills test. Online tests give the passive candidate a chance to demonstrate their skills and present themselves as a viable candidate in a lower pressure environment. They have the opportunity to complete the test where and when he or she is most comfortable. Passive applicants may also find great success in jobs primarily involving hard skills, something online employment tests are great at measuring. It’s important to remember that employers seek out different types of people for different jobs.

“Does recruitment testing show a bias to employing candidates who can complete tests rather than do jobs?”

This is one of the most common concerns in regards to online testing. Candidates are often worried that they will be passed up in favor of someone who is not more qualified, but simply “tests better.” It is important here to stress that a hiring decision is not made simply on the score of an online assessment. You will never be denied a job because you missed one question on a math skills test. Companies use online employee testing as an aid in the hiring process, never as the deciding factor.

For jobs that require solely hard skill-oriented work (an entry level position that requires/needs typing notes) scores on an online aptitude test (for this situation, a words-per-minute typing test would be useful) will understandably carry a significant amount of weight. Companies are likely to hire the candidate that scores the highest, as the position is based solely on this skill set. However, these types of jobs are rare, and are often outweighed by more complex positions that require both hard and soft skills. For this type of work, employers consider everything about a candidate – their online employment test scores, sure, but also their past experience, personality, and work ethic. It is a combination of both high performance in hard skills and a proper fit with the company culture that makes an ideal candidate.

“Tests can be learnt and cheated once they are known about… So what if someone steps in my shoes and completes this?”

As can be expected, cheating is a possibility on any online test or questionnaire. Companies can’t look over your shoulder while you’re completing an online test to ensure you aren’t blog post 3 imagelooking up the question on Google or having someone else complete a test for you. But companies utilizing online employment testing are well aware of the possibility of cheating on these assessments, and have taken steps to protect testing integrity:

  • Original questions. To prevent candidates from simply looking up an answer, companies use unique and specific questions (for example, it’s unlikely that you would be able to google the answer to a question that asks you to find the pattern in a specific string of numbers.) Furthermore, many of the questions written don’t have a “correct” answer, so there’s nothing that can be looked up.

  • Time limits. Many online pre-employment tests have a time limit function where companies can see how long a candidate spends on a question. Therefore, if a candidate spends an unusual amount of time on a simple hard skills question, companies can take measures to determine whether or not the candidate was cheating.

  • Follow up interviews. Companies can ask those they suspect of cheating to complete one or two hard skills questions in person.

  • Integrity Score. Companies that use TestUP will have access to each candidate’s integrity score, a system we have developed to discourage candidates from cheating on tests. We compile the score by using a points system, where a candidate is penalized with points every time some action indicates they may be cheating (for example, taking a very long time to complete a test suggests that the candidate may be leaving the test browser to look up answers.)

We truly appreciate feedback from everyone who takes the time to look at and try out testup.com. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any more questions or concerns!

Image courtesy of patrisyu/ freedigitalphotos.net

 

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