Offsite Versus Onsite Testing
One of the first questions we get asked is: At what point in my hiring process should I test job applicants? Specifically, should I test them offsite or at my place of business?
While the answer depends on your business priorities, our general recommendation is to test applicants as early in the process as possible. And when we look at what our customers are actually doing, that is the trend; 80% of our clients deliver most of their tests remotely, which is a significant shift from 5 years ago.
So what are the advantages of testing applicants early in the hiring process?
Using tests upfront is an efficient and reliable way to gather objective data on candidates. Requiring applicants to take tests through a link included in a job board posting, for example, will help you filter through large applicant pools, and ensure that everyone that you are moving through your hiring funnel meets the basic standards you set for the job. This will help you streamline your hiring process, and save you a lot of time reading resumes from unqualified applicants.
Remote testing has really taken off because the number of applicants per job opening has gone up dramatically in recent years. Not only is unemployment higher, but the internet has made it much easier for candidates to apply to jobs quickly. Given these larger applicant pools, testing has become an indispensable efficiency tool that will help you save time and money on your hiring process.
OK, so the benefits of remote testing seem clear. What about the drawbacks? We hear three main concerns from customers:
The first is test security. How can I be sure it’s really the candidate taking the tests? Good question. The answer is, with unproctored testing, you really can’t be sure someone isn’t getting outside help. That’s why we recommend that for aptitude and skills tests, you confirm the offsite results by administering different versions of the tests on site to applicants who passed the initial screen. It’s also a great idea to tell candidates you are going to do this, so they know they’ll be wasting their time if they don’t take the tests honestly offsite. The other thing that’s important to keep in mind is that testing early in the process is only meant to screen out candidates who clearly don’t meet the requirements of the job. Remote test results are not screening in people who won’t be further evaluated later on in the process.
Another hesitation companies sometimes have is that they may turn off applicants. Our guidance here is, as long as you keep the testing to a reasonable length, the applicants you lose are the ones you don’t want anyhow. If a candidate won’t spend a little time completing tests, they probably were not that interested in your organization in the first place—so all you’re losing are the resume spammers. So what’s a reasonable length for tests given early in the hiring process? 20 to 40 minutes of testing is acceptable; 2 hours is not. If you’re asking candidates to complete 2 hours of tests early in the process, you will see your applicant pools shrink since even good candidates may see this as unreasonable.
A third reason some companies hesitate to use tests early in their hiring process is cost. If you link to a test from a job posting you may get a lot of applicants taking the tests. If you’re paying per test, costs will mount quickly. So if you’re using tests in this way, don’t pay per test. That is one of many reasons that we offer an unlimited use subscription.
In summary, test early, but try to keep it short. You’ll save time and energy by using the tests to filter down your applicant pools.