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Remote testing and security: a contradiction?

Remote testing and security: a contradiction?

Remote testing is becoming more and more important in today’s ‘New Normal’, as companies attempt to handle challenges such as the continuing war for talent, the non-stop search for cost‑efficiency, and the need to expand and globalise.

Remote testing – or unproctored internet-based testing (UIT) – not only helps streamline assessment processes in terms of both efficiency and accessibility, it also creates a positive candidate experience. Before opting for a remote solution, people often wonder how the integrity of a test can be guaranteed or whether it will be necessary for them to put a ‘re‑test’ procedure in place. ITC guidelines on the security of tests have just been published, which shows that this aspect is a common concern.

4 things you need to know about cheating in UIT

  1. Cheating occurs mainly when candidates believe that:
    ​​- it is easy to cheat;
    - the chance of being caught is (very) low;
    - the added value of cheating is significant.
    Managing these three aspects is key: (a) make it difficult to cheat, (b) increase the likelihood of being caught and (c) lower the (perceived) added value of cheating.
  2. Research shows that the number of test takers who try to cheat when applying for a new position is rather low. Most candidates are aware that UIT is often only the first step in an assessment procedure.
  3. The large majority of candidates do not cheat: of these, 77 % say they are too honest to cheat, 47 % see no long-term advantage in cheating, while only 35 % refrain from cheating because they fear being caught (Hughes D., & Tate L., 2007. Selection and Development Review).
  4. Studies have shown a clear link between the candidate perception of a selection procedure and their overall perception of the future job.

The low cheating rate and the importance of candidate perception lead us to believe that an excessive verification procedure, i.e. (full) retesting in a controlled environment set up to validate the UIT, should be avoided.


  1. Try to prevent cheating
  • Adding a warning such as ‘Please note that you may be asked to retake this test at our premises’ to the instructions of a remote test will significantly decrease the chance that candidates will cheat.
  • Before the test, have candidates sign an ‘honesty contract’ in which they pledge not to cheat.
  1. Check for cheating during the test. While a candidate is taking a test, several variables (such as latent response times, the relation between number of correct answers and total time, etc.) can be checked in order to identify aberrant response patterns. The result of these variables can be used to decide whether to retest or not.
  2. Use a combination of reasoning ability tests. We advise that you combine remote reasoning ability tests (for example, Abstract reasoning ability) with reasoning ability tests administered in a controlled environment (Numerical and/or Verbal reasoning ability). This will allow you to get a complete overview of candidates’ reasoning ability without making them feel they are being checked.
  3. Use UIT (only) during pre-testing: the tendency to cheat decreases once candidates know that there are more steps to follow.

What to do when aberrant scores are found

As both the context and setting of the retest will be different from those of the remote test, it can be expected that scores will vary to some extent. Therefore, aberrant scores do not necessarily mean that the candidate has cheated; what they do mean however is that the score from the remote assessment may not be valid and needs to be examined further. Typically, the results of a re-test are considered more valid than the remote testing results.

Article by Jeroen Bogaert, Director Global R&D Center at Hudson

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Hudson has more than 35 years of experience and is the undisputed market leader in the HR consultancy sector. Every day, the Hudson HR experts use all their specialist knowledge regarding the recruitment, interim management, development, coaching or compensation of employees to support our customers so they can achieve their ambitions.


Hudson has more than 35 years of experience and is the undisputed market leader in the HR consultancy sector. Every day, the Hudson HR experts use all their specialist knowledge regarding the recruitment, interim management, development, coaching or compensation of employees to support our customers so they can achieve their ambitions.