6 Ways Candidates Try To Outsmart A Remote Proctored Assessment

6 Ways Candidates Try To Outsmart A Remote Proctored Assessment

This article has been updated on 14th March 2023.

Tech hiring has undergone a radical transformation with take-home assessments gaining popularity over traditional methods in recent times. Since even a single instance of candidate malpractice can taint the efficacy of the entire test process, it stands to reason that take-home assessments and remote interviews would never have gained their current credibility without a foolproof online proctoring mechanism.

Proctoring is crucial to validate a candidate’s authenticity and integrity. Without some sort of online supervision, it would be impossible to claim that assessment platforms such as HackerEarth offer accurate results and candidate analysis.

In short, 

Standardized Developer Hiring = Customized and Intuitive Coding Tests + Robust Proctoring 


So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 6 most commonly deployed tricks your assessment tool needs to guard against, shall we? 


#1. Switching tabs to get online assistance/reference during a test


El switch-a-tab-aroo. 

Switching tabs to get online assistance/reference during a coding test. Proctoring tips on how to deal with such a case

This is a classic one, and probably the most obvious example in our list. A lot of candidates happily assume that interviewers and creators of assessment software blindly trust in a candidate’s ready inclination to always take the moral high ground. But the angelic souls who create such software are well aware of this age-old technique and have hence installed divine software intervention to guard against it. #NotAllDevelopers

Fixes: Full-screen mode, Custom timer on MCQs, Automatic log-out. 


#2. Copy-pasting code from another computer or from the web


El copy-paste-o. 

Copy-pasting code from another computer or from the web. Proctoring tip 2 on how to handle this


Another age-old trick in the digital book is the incredibly humble copy-paste. With the latest upgrades in Windows and Mac operating systems, candidates can, in fact, store and keep-at-the-ready, not one but a string of copied texts. You can access these copied pieces of code with just a couple of keystrokes. This includes productivity tools, messengers, data and word processing apps, Mac cleaners, and security software. 

Fixes: Copy-paste lock, Full-screen mode. 


#3. Getting other users to take the test on their computer


El Imperson-anaa-tor. 

How proctoring can detect other users trying to take the coding test on their computer.


What’s the best part about taking online tests? Well, it doesn’t necessarily have to be you that’s taking them. Your coding prodigy of a best friend, or perhaps that bespectacled kid in class who hibernates in the library, could take them for you, all for a quick buck. 

Fixes: Randomized webcam snapshots, IP Address Lock, Automatic impersonation detection. 


Also read: Importance Of Online Proctoring In University Hiring

#4. Moving away from the webcam to look into another laptop/screen/book. 


El dos screen-o. 

Moving away from the webcam to look into another laptop/screen/book during a coding assessment.


A lot of candidates, unfortunately, give in to the overpowering urge to sneak a peek into another screen or a book. They’re often prepared with a secondary device that’s kept hidden from the web camera’s line of sight. So, it’s extremely easy for them to access these hidden resources unbeknownst to the system. What’s more, the screens of neighboring candidates are also a potential cause for concern.

Fixes: Randomized webcam snapshots, Plagiarism checker, Automatic mobile phone detection. 


#5. Having another person in the room who can read out answers and solutions for you


El dos candidate-o. 

Having another person in the room who can read out answers and solutions for you (during a coding test).


A good friend will bail you out of jail. But a best friend will be sitting in the cell with you, going “Wow, wasn’t that something?”.

God bless friends who will, more than willingly, aid and abet candidates in a malpractice attempt. Candidates take advantage of the fact that there aren’t any audio recording devices embedded in the test system. So, they can either try taking the assistance of a gifted comrade in the case of remote assessments, or others who are also taking the test if using an onsite group interview room.

Fixes: Randomized webcam snapshots, Plagiarism checker. 


#6. Restroom breaks


El missing suspect-o.

Restroom breaks during coding test.


The final and the most elementary (quite literally) of all is the innocent nature’s call card. In the case of remote examinations, the computer and its camera basically account for all of your exam halls, and everything that’s out of the webcam’s line of sight is not. For the briefest time, you’re Alice in ‘Wander’land, and the whole house is your deception oyster. 

Fixes: Randomized webcam snapshots, Custom timer on MCQs.


Also read: 5 Must-Have Proctoring Tips For A Developer Assessment Platform

9 Ways They Aren’t. (HackerEarth Proctoring Fixes In Detail)


If you were worried about what you read above, then allow yourself to breathe a sigh of relief. HackerEarth Assessments has in-built proctoring features to ensure that every assessment taken on our platform is monitored to ensure authenticity. Here are the most important ones:

#1. Randomized webcam snapshots – 2 every minute


This is the biggest and most potent gun we have in our arsenal. The reason this ranks the highest in our list is that, unlike the other features which are announced by the system, it is easy to forget about this functionality. Randomized webcam snapshots basically pick up any sort of malpractice attempt, ranging from peering into a second screen to verbal communication with another person in the room. 


#2. Custom timers on multiple choice questions


This is based on the premise that it takes time to look for or seek any form of assistance. So, a timer on the MCQ questions is a good way to keep the pressure on the candidate, discouraging them from wasting any time scouring the internet or elsewhere for a solution. The other logic behind this feature is that the short amount of time will simply not allow you to cheat, as it just won’t be humanly possible to look for hints, do your calculations, and finally punch them in. 


#3. Plagiarism checker. All submissions need to be unique


Another heavy piece of artillery in our war against interview malpractices is our system’s inbuilt plagiarism checker. This advanced AI-assisted function is every recruiter’s dream come true. It investigates a candidate’s code against all the other applicant submissions for the same test. 

Even the remotest match in code is picked up by the system immediately and the respective administrator is promptly notified.

Also read: 3 Things To Know About Remote Proctoring

HackerEarth add-ons for robust proctoring


Here are some additional proctoring fixes that further bulletproof our assessments, making it one of the most reliable and accurate sources of remote technical candidate evaluations out there in the market today. Learn more about them in detail in our support article, here

#4. Restrict test access for certain IP addresses.

#5. Disable the Copy and Paste feature in the code editor.

#6. Negative marking could be activated during MCQ questions.

#7. Automatic impersonation detection (plus) mobile phone detection.

#8. Automatically log a candidate out upon leaving the test environment.

#9. Restrict candidates to full-screen mode for the entirety of the assessment.

Also read: Screen Candidates Better With HackerEarth’s Proctoring Feature

Automated invigilation made easy with HackerEarth!


Like with all regulatory orders found in society, there will always be attempts at finding new and innovative ways to beat the system. That’s just natural human behavior, and we fully condone it. 

The way we look at it – it’s really a game of who’s the smarter fox in the jungle. In order to help recruiters stay on top, we constantly update our system to stay ahead of the curve. Our team vigilantly looks for dodgy trends much ahead of the competition and anticipates candidate behavior to create smarter features. 

HackerEarth has a 7-million-strong developer community, and we know how easy it is for a few bad apples to give the entire community a bad rap. Our goal has always been to create a system that provides developers with fair and objective assessments and helps recruiters pick the best talent. The proctoring features in our Assessment platform do both with equal ease. 

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