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I applied for a job. The recruiter asked me to complete an online assessment before the interview. The assessment asks me to share my screen, microphone and video camera. It says this is to prevent cheating. I noticed if I decline the permissions, I can still take the test, but instead of typed responses the responses must be audio recordings.

Is this OK to do or is it some sort of scam?

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    Which bit are you asking is a Scam? Being asked to share your screen Mic and Video camera or declining the test and submitting audio recordings? Jan 22 at 0:14
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    Which part of using web cam and mic is a scam? Are all Zoom calls a scam then? What's causing you to actually think it is a scam? The interview is basically just a proctored test, where someone monitors you while you do it. What do you think would happen if they didn't monitor you?
    – Nelson
    Jan 22 at 1:37
  • Part of it is they never defined what they consider "cheating", for example they never said if it's closed book or open book. Also I don't really get how giving verbal answers is better than written answers, especially when the format is 20 minutes for 20 questions. Jan 22 at 7:30
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    @PoliteShark "its assumed that..." don't assume, ask. Though, if anything i'd assume google would be defacto disallowed unless stated otherwise Jan 22 at 10:00
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    Occasionally on freelance sites, there are requests for someone who could take a test for someone else. Recruiters want to make sure that they are talking to the person who actually takes the test.
    – David R
    Jan 22 at 15:38

2 Answers 2

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I'd rather be worried if it had asked for access to the disk and/or files/folders instead.

To be specific, it does not appear to be a scam outright, many online tests are designed to prevent the participant from cheating and needing access to your mic, camera and screen are needed to monitor whether it is you taking the test at that moment, or you are getting help from someone or somewhere else. You can always revoke the access for that site after you are done with test.

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Depending upon the specifics of the software, these tools are designed to do several things:

Confirm the Identity

The hiring company typically doesn't want to sit through a video so they often take a still photo every 30 seconds or so, hence the recruiter can look at the photo gallery to confirm the person sitting in front of the camera is the person they are talking to.

Answer Correctly

Simply put, if you don't do well on the tests it is often the case that no human will ever look at your application it is simply rejected by the system. Typically each company can set there own bar/level in order for the automated system to forward the results.

Completion Time

Typically the system will record the time each question is presented to you. And may (optionally) take a snapshot of your progress - this is an indication you are actually working the problem, rather than just cut and pasting the complete solution from somewhere. However a company may also consider the total time it took you to answer, as part of their decision making process.

Monitor Activity

The same snapshots can be used to see what external resources you are using / this is of questionable value since someone can just have a second computer / iPad to avoid this.


Is this OK to do or is it some sort of scam?

Most companies will use third party software to provide the test. As with all software you have to decide whether you trust the company before installing their software - if they are reputable its probably fine, but if you have doubts I would recommend not installing the software.

An alternative may be to use your own software, for example I believe you can use Zoom (create a meeting with just you in it) to capture: Your Screen, Your Camera and maybe your microphone - in case you want to comment on anything you are doing.

I would personally accept the video as evidence it was you that did the work, however that assumes that the HR team forwarded it to me (they may not, in which case that would probably end the interview process).

TBC, For a strong resume, I typically don't use automated software (the first interaction will be a phone/zoom screen), but I will sometimes use an automated screen for marginal resumes - not everyone creates great resumes, so this is an opportunity for me to interview someone that I would otherwise have rejected.

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  • To be clear, they don't a photo of me. They haven't asked for my ID yet. I don't think I'd give them one until an offer is made. Jan 22 at 23:01
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    The point is that at some point in the process someone will "meet" you, either in person on a zoom call with the camera on, if you look radically different to the photo taken during the automated screen there will be questions. To put it another way this is just a preventative measure to prevent someone else taking these screening questions for weak candidates
    – DavidT
    Jan 22 at 23:16
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    My wife conducted interviews at some time. Once in a while they had a good candidate, hired them, and the person turning up for work was someone different, and completely useless.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 23 at 11:19
  • @DavidT if the position is fully remote the company wouldn't be the opportunity to see them in person and catch if they're someone else Jan 29 at 22:55

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