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Examination and Proctoring | 8 Min Read

How is AI-Based Virtual Proctoring Redefining Recruitment?

Recruitment and Online Assessments

Organizations globally are taking up the mantle of technology to improve and optimize their processes. Recruitment, a necessary process for organizational growth, is also embracing technology. Organizations are employing new-age technologies to reduce the hiring time and scale up the hiring process.

There is a widespread use of online assessments in the screening process. Online assessments enable organizations to test the core skills and suitability of the candidates, in line with the role as well as the organization and shortlist them for selection interviews. While online assessments have become the preferred mode of screening, they were primarily meant to scale and speed up the hiring process without adding time and logistical requirements to the process.

Remote online assessment, on the other hand, is the answer to the long-standing recruitment problems of having to call candidates to a designated venue, having them take the test, and making them wait for the result, etc. An excellent way is to administer remote online assessments that can be easily taken by candidates from their choice of location, and assessors can evaluate them at their own time of liking. And finally, assessors can rely on calling candidates for the selection interview. Furthermore, remote assessments help organizations employ gig economy workers and globalize their teams.

While many organizations have pursued the idea of remote online assessments, they have often been bogged down by the challenges in administering them. The credibility of remote online assessments has been a constant concern for test-givers, mainly due to the following concerns:

  • Someone else taking the test in place of the actual candidate
  • Searching for answers online/using online software to generate solutions
  • Searching for answers on the mobile/calling someone to ask for answers
  • Getting another person in the room to help in answering the questions
  • Have a friend simultaneously access the exam questions and providing solutions through screen sharing
  • Leaving the room or getting up in the middle of the test to use unfair means

In the absence of anti-cheating measures to securely conduct the test, the factors, above-mentioned, compromise the credibility of remote online assessments forcing organizations to invite the candidates to the venue so that they can take the test in the presence of an acting invigilator. The role of the invigilator is usually performed by the HR or hiring manager who keeps a strict vigil on the candidate’s activities.

Online assessments have increased the efficacy of the recruitment process in several ways, and remote online assessments can only further improve it if the anti-cheating measures are deployed appropriately. Lending credibility to remote assessments can significantly impact recruitment processes and enhance the use of remote assessments to save time and resources. 

Calling the candidates several times to the office venue defeats the purpose of online assessments. New technology has been buzzing in the market that can help you conduct credible remote online assessments safely and securely from the comfort of your location. It is called Remote(Virtual) Proctoring.

Remote Proctoring

Remote proctoring is a technology that uses a combination of manual and AI-based remote invigilation technologies to conduct remote online assessments that prevent candidates from indulging in any unfair means. Virtual proctoring allows a test to be taken from any location, wherever the candidate has a computer, webcam, speaker, and high-speed internet connection.

Virtual proctoring gained popularity due to technology becoming ubiquitous, making online learning possible even in the remotest areas. As the presence of distant online learners and test-takers increased, virtual proctoring became the ‘go-to’ technology to conduct these tests in a highly secure environment that lends much-needed credibility to these assessments.

Proctoring solutions can be used for holding all sorts of secure assessments – university entrance /entrance examinations, employment tests, certification tests, internal employee tests (as a part of learning & development initiatives), and competitive exams, etc.

The market for remote proctoring and online assessments is expanding at a fast pace, covering all functional areas – educational, vocational, corporate, and training.

Disruptive Features

Mettl’s proctoring solution intervenes at critical junctures across the assessment process (before, during, and post) to ensure maintaining the sanctity of the assessment.

1. Before Starting the Assessment –

Sanitize the Test Taker’s System Using Secure Browser

Secure the virtual environment by blocking all external apps and browser functionalities. 

  • The exam is conducted on a secure browser, which prevents the candidate from opening any additional window than the test page. It also disables screen recording, screen-sharing, screen projection, and searching for answers online through any desktop/web-based application/software/page, etc.
  • This technology also scans the internet and blocks/reports sites that contain questions or answers to questions included in the test. This is done to ensure that the test is not leaked online. Test organizers can whitelist the software/pages they wish to allow.
  • The IP address of the candidate is captured to ensure that no other IP address is used to attempt the same assessment.

Mettl’s Secure Browser(MSB) is a web browser-environment to carry out online assessments safely. The candidate needs to install the Safe Exam Browser file in their system, which would install all the required packages.

Once the test starts, MSB doesn’t allow test-takers to move out of the application before the test is concluded. 

  • Screen sharing is disabled.
  • The application closes all browser windows and currently running applications, after asking for formal permission.
  • Authenticate the candidate

Authenticate the candidate

Authenticate The Candidate

Prevent impersonation with 3-point candidate authentication.

As soon as the candidate clicks on the test link, she/he is sent a system-generated OTP on his/her email id for authorization in addition to being asked to: 

  • Enter registration details 
  • Click a picture of himself/herself
  • Click a picture of his/her ID proof

Mettl’s proctors are available 24×7 to verify the photo ID against registration details and validate the legitimacy of the candidate.

2. During the Assessment –

Monitor the Candidate for Violations

During the test, the candidate’s video, audio, and screen feed are continuously scrutinized for violations by the AI-powered proctor bot, which, like any human, can see, hear and make intelligent decisions. It uses AI technology to spot and flag cheating violations and the use of unfair means in an online test. In a candidate’s video feed, it can detect suspicious candidate behavior such as : 

  • Candidate not present or the presence of an additional person
  • Questionable gestures like the candidate looking away from the test screen (a first in the proctoring market)
  • Mobile phone/device detection (a first in the industry, yet again)

In a candidate’s screen feed, among other things, it checks for instances when the candidate has navigated away from the main test window, probably to access unauthorized material (e.g., Google web search or some other software).


Mettl’s ProctorPLUS is driven by powerful deep learning artificial algorithms that have been custom trained on petabytes of data to identify cheating in online assessments. It uses state-of-the-art computer vision and speech processing techniques like object detection, image segmentation, pattern matching, motion analysis, and object tracking to deliver more than 95% accuracy in flagging questionable actions.

3. Post Assessment –

Review and Take Action with the Help of a Detailed Report

A detailed proctoring report containing the candidate’s computer screen’s audio and video recording is generated. The AI flags for all suspicious activities and makes it available in a comprehensive report (pdf and HTML format). It takes into account visual proctoring flags like detection of another person, or absence of the candidate, as well as browsing tolerance. The report comes with screen recording and a live feed video embedded along with the flags that the AI algorithm raises. The flags are arranged in chronological order for easy access, and the video is marked with flags at respective timestamps. The report is an exhaustive log of the candidate’s test-taking journey in chronology.


Quickly Segregate Suspicious Candidates Using Credibility Index

Mettl’s Candidate Credibility Index (CCI) auto-summarizes the integrity of the entire assessment session based on the various violations throughout the session in a single score. This is extremely useful as it can help the reviewer sift through a large stack of tests and quickly pin-point candidates whose test integrity has been compromised. These candidates can then be further scrutinized in more detail, and follow-up action can be taken. 

Proctoring Technologies

1. Auto Proctoring

The go-to choice for large-scale exams, auto proctoring uses AI to prevent instances of cheating. The software monitors the live feed for anything suspicious. Powered with advanced analytics, AI proctoring is a cost-effective way to administer online assessments to a large pool of candidates. The software keeps a check on the test-taker through facial recognition, device detection (like mobile), multiple people detection, and other distractions detection. It generates a comprehensive report at the end, concluding with the credibility index.

2. Live Proctoring

Live proctoring is a combination of auto and human proctoring, where the test-taker(s) is monitored in real-time by a qualified human proctor and an AI-powered proctoring software (same as auto proctoring).

The qualified proctor keeps a vigil on test-taker(s) from a remote location through live audio-video, and screen-share feeds. The proctor can pause the test when s/he notices anything unusual and chat with the test-taker or terminate the exam if needed. Auto-proctoring runs in the background by default to assist the human proctor. The proctoring software (auto-proctoring) provides a list of red flags whenever it detects suspicious behavior, which can be reviewed in real-time or afterward (recording) to assess the integrity of the exam and take appropriate action. The entire session recording is available in the proctoring report along with the live chat feed, any live proctor intervention, screen recording, and AI flags for later audits.

Live proctoring can be of two types – Dedicated Proctoring & Classroom Proctoring. 

  • Dedicated proctoring refers to one-to-one proctoring, where the test-taker needs to book the exam in advance to see if there’s a proctor available to invigilate them.
  • Classroom proctoring enables one proctor to oversee multiple candidates on one screen. More cost-effective than dedicated proctoring, classroom proctoring can act as an added layer of security, if required.

3. Record & Review Proctoring

A cost-effective substitute for live proctoring, the entire process is recorded for later review. The report made available post the exam is reviewed by expert proctors to check for anomalies. Proctors are assisted by the red flags of suspicion raised by AI algorithms that enable them to conduct a thorough check. This system can conduct many exams simultaneously, unlike live proctoring, which has its limits, depending on the number of proctors available.

The Need for Remote Proctoring in Recruitment

1. Lateral Hiring

Recruitment is a crucial process and a perfect hire is its by-product, but with the condition applied that you invest wholeheartedly in this process. All business leaders and human resource managers want to hire the best possible candidate, and online assessments are becoming a popular tool for this. 

Finding the right candidate for the right job in a time and cost-effective manner is often the cause of concern for modern-day recruiters and hiring managers. While many organizations have moved to online assessments for screening purposes, they haven’t been able to completely do away with the candidates coming to the official venue for screening assessments due to the lack of trust in remote assessments.

An essential ingredient of administering remote assessments entails proctoring the test-takers, to ensure credibility. For recruiters, it brings down the logistical requirements of having to call several candidates to the organization and schedule multiple rounds with numerous leaders. 

Remote proctored assessments help recruiters efficiently make informed decisions about the candidates through well-defined performance indicators of the assessment and behavioral indicators of the proctoring software ensuring a better success rate of the lateral hiring process.

2. Campus Hiring

Organizations conduct large-scale campus recruitments every year by spending a substantial amount of time, money, and resources. The traditional campus hiring drive involves organizations creating a dedicated campus hiring team to hop from city to city and campus to campus. 

The conventional test conducting method comprises the following steps:

  • Booking a physical venue well in advance
  • Logistical execution like setting up and preparing for a high volume of candidates taking tests at the same time
  • Dedicating invigilators for every exam room to prevent cheating
  • Evaluating the assessments
  • Shortlisting candidates for the interview round

Not only is this process highly resource and time-intensive, but organizations end up spending substantial sums during campus hiring drives alone. A process as extensive, and sometimes as cumbersome, as this faces the challenge of scalability, and thus giving rise to the need for a risk-free process of proctoring that not only gives credible results but also cuts down on manual intervention in the initial phase. 

Remote proctoring can act as an enabler in the campus hiring process, whereby companies roll out online assessments on a secure proctored environment and leverage technology for their convenience. There is no limit to the number of candidates one can proctor, and thus it will ensure access to a more extensive candidate pool. Since remote proctoring gives candidates the freedom to attempt their test at their chosen time, one can expect a higher participation and attempt rate.

The campus hiring season outspreads at the same time, and multiple assessments in multiple campuses take place simultaneously. This makes remote proctoring even more vital and beneficial to the whole process, and helps create a campus pipeline for future recruitment needs. Remote proctoring helps you set benchmarks and target campuses accordingly for an efficient campus hiring strategy.

Organizations often conduct massive hiring drives on campuses with low ROI. Remote proctored assessments improve the ROI by ensuring that organizations only get to meet candidates that pass the set criteria. Not only are these proctored tests extremely credible, but they also bring down a company’s logistical cost and provide a hassle-free experience to the test-taking candidate. 

Proctored online assessments bring down the cost-of-hire and the time-to-hire by enabling organizations to roll out online assessments at a large-scale and only meet the selected few who make it through these proctored assessments.


You may also want to read: How AI is Helping Universities Scale Online Examination

How Mercer | Mettl Can Help?

Mercer|Mettl’s remote proctoring software makes administering online tests that candidates can take from remote locations incredibly easy. This powerful software can generate instant notifications of suspicious behavior or a detailed report of cheating if anybody tries to cheat. Furthermore, features like detection of suspicious browser activity and logging of audio-visual responses from candidates preserve the sanctity of virtual exams. The AI proctoring tool also comes with the option of prohibiting candidates from doing copy and paste during the test. Mettl offers supreme facial recognition features to verify the identity of the test-taker along with a host of features that helps in keeping fraudulent activities at bay. Mettl’s virtual proctoring software is easily integrable with any website or test engine that needs to be proctored.

COVID Vitual Exams

Originally published November 25 2019, Updated June 16 2020

Bhuvi Kathpalia

Written by

Bhuvi is a content marketer at Mercer | Mettl. She's helped various brands find their voice through insightful thought pieces and engaging content. When not scandalizing people with her stories, you’ll find her challenging gender norms, dancing to her own tune, and crusading through life, laughing.

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