How to protect your company from cheating on employee tests

June 14th, 2022

HireVue Team

Artificial Intelligence, General, Hiring, Recruiting Teams

The utilization of pre-employment tests and screenings continues to increase. And unfortunately, so has cheating and plagiarizing. The shift to a work-from-home culture, automated employment testing and remote hiring, have only exacerbated the problem. 

While the testing of candidates is needed to validate skill sets, employers are now focusing on heightening security and tactics to weed out cheating. If your company is facing similar risks, here are some things to consider.

What are the main concerns of employment screening plagiarism?

Plagiarism is stealing, plain and simple. It’s taking credit for someone else’s work. While plagiarism is relatively new in the coding world, it’s been around since the earliest forms of written communication. And what makes it even more egregious is that the person plagiarizing is usually benefitting from the theft. As an employer, you may end up hiring a “great” candidate who only got the job because they cheated and got away with it. For you, it can mean:

Unethical employees: Cheating or plagiarizing on an employment test is akin to cheating on college entrance exams or lying on a resume. It’s theft of intellectual property. An employee who is willing to cheat may be willing to do worse.

Inability to Execute the Job: If an employee has cheated on an employment test, they may not have the skills to perform the job properly, and unless you have documented evidence of plagiarism, you may have a difficult time terminating them.

Tarnished reputation: What happens if employees perform poorly on client work? Or even sabotage work due to a lack of personal integrity? It can cost you time, money, clients and your reputation.

Legal repercussions: If someone cheats their way onto your team and they’re working on sensitive (or even classified) projects, and something goes wrong, this can escalate to legal accountability.

Why take the risk? If you don’t already have a software solution in place to help protect your company against cheaters, it’s time to consider it.

How prevalent is cheating on hiring exams?

Research from Codility (a coding challenge provider) estimates that 10% of candidates cheat on their tests across all industries. This is a global number, and in countries where the wealth gap is significant, the numbers are higher. There are situations where cheating is so brazen that a room of candidates will share solutions during the test.

Other ways of cheating include looking up answers online, allowing remote access to one’s computer from another cheater, taking sample tests using multiple emails and even having someone else take the entire test for a candidate. These types of cheats are relatively easy to spot. It’s the more sophisticated cheaters that are harder to identify, and that’s where testing software platforms come into play.  

Are online employee exams secure?

Without a technology solution to protect against cheating, an online employee exam is an open territory for cheating. Without the tools provided by a software platform the methods and technology utilized by cheaters is beyond what most companies have in place. These tools can include machine learning, artificial intelligence and processes that mitigate cheating, such as photo identity confirmation and screen-sharing.

While no system is impenetrable, you can protect the integrity of your testing processes by engaging with a software platform to help stem the tide of online cheating. But these platforms also offer tons of other tools that can help the success of your overall entire recruiting and hiring process.

How do you stop employment screening plagiarism?

One thing is for sure, cheaters spend a lot of time figuring out ways to “game” the system. Cheaters might register to take your test multiple times with burner email addresses before they register with their authentic email address or use actual websites that provide answers to existing tests. Sophisticated cheaters can even discover security weaknesses in your online testing process and tamper with results. The way to help stop it is to use the right technology, and furthermore, following the use of this technology with an interview.

There are numerous testing platforms, such as HireVue, that have built-in tools to help identify plagiarism and other cheating methods. These tools can:

  • Disable cut/paste options
  • Timed testing
  • Randomize questions/challenges
  • Eliminate overused questions/challenges
  • Prevent multiple registrations
  • Record IP addresses (multiple IP addresses accessing a test is a giveaway)
  • Full-screen testing (detects if a user is using multiple screens and/or browsers)
  • Webcam monitoring (timely snapshots confirm if the candidate is actually taking the test themselves)

If you’re testing a developer’s coding skills, there are tactics you can use, such as having more than one answer to a coding challenge. With multiple ways to solve a problem, a company can get an insight to a coder’s way of thinking and programming techniques, which helps eliminate an answer that’s been copied. And companies can look at the quality of the code, which is a valuable intangible for a candidate to possess but difficult for a cheater to replicate.

How does HireVue prevent and mitigate cheating?

In a Dice Insights interview with HireVue’s senior vice president of product, Ricky Simmons, he recognizes the challenge employers face in drawing a line between research and plagiarism. Developers share code and use existing solutions, and they should. It saves time and increases reliability. Why reinvent the wheel? It’s up to an employer to set the expectations and rules up front in terms of “what is considered plagiarism, and what is considered an efficient use of existing code.”

HireVue offers a coding assessments and interview platform, which can validate a candidate’s technical and coding skills and help deter and detect cheating. This sophisticated platform equips recruiting teams with additional tools to identify potential cheating candidates and further vet them, so companies hire only the best technical talent available.

Is your company prepared to handle cheating on your online employment tests? Get prepared, and protect your company today.

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