For sometime, I’ve been organizing LIVE MS-Excel Proficiency Tests for potential recruits at Eko. It is an open test and candidates are allowed to use Google or any Excel reference material. While the test is very simple for someone who excels in basics of MS-Excel but unfortunately, no candidate has managed to complete even a single problem out of two.
We also setup the tests on a projector for live view. This is to capture entire approach to problem solving. It was easy till we had to interview a candidate remotely. While we used Google Spreadsheets but faced following challenges:
- Time Adherence – We had to manually keep track of duration and deactivate the link.
- Live View – We couldn’t observe how the person is approaching the problem and din’t have a quick/easy way of recording the screen and seeing it later.
- Communication Gap – Due to time pressure, remote people assume something in case of doubt while a physically close person would ask questions or express their concerns for such as asking for more time etc.
An obvious Solution is to get a screen sharing application running on candidate’s machine to see his entire activity live. We even tried it once but low acceleration of frame movement made it a very uncomfortable experience and of-course getting an application downloaded and installed on candidate’s maching is a tedious and time consuming process.
I’ve since been wondering about solving this problem because a solution to this could be generically used for organizing open skill assessment or psychometric tests remotely and record them for later consumption among team members.
I couldn’t find a ready solution in a quick search but definitely found tools which could be mashed up to create a solution. For example, Screenr is a great web based application to create a screencast and they have a simple API. While Google Spreadsheets already comes with an API. One could easily embed a widget to send SMS to HR in case of doubt for immediate response, irrespective of the fact whether HR is on move or not.
This mashup could help us record the activities of candidates and provide basic analytics like duration of test, number of attempts etc. HR team could see this screencast later and easily share it with the relevant team members if required.
I wish I could quickly create an application and use it. If someone can do it quickly, I’m willing to pay for the service and I genuinely hope that the platform could really be leveraged by so many HR consultants and corporate HR teams to automate their pre-employment assessment process for skill testing.