Was I caught cheating?
March 30, 2011 10:28 PM   Subscribe

Can those HR recruitment online cognitive tests tell if you are cheating by looking up words in another browser window?

I recently did an online cognitive test as part of a job application. For the verbal section I encountered a few words I didn't know, so I opened another tab and quickly googled them. Then when I finished I went back and saw that the instructions said that this is not allowed. Obviously I should have read the instructions first, and I suppose that this shouldn't have been obvious, but in the heat of the moment it seemed like the natural thing to do and I assumed everybody else doing the test would be doing this too.

Somebody said that the testing program can detect if I have other browser windows or programs open. Is this possible? If so, I suppose I can kiss this job goodbye.
posted by anonymous to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
hmm. It might be checking if your webpage lost focus and then regained it I think. It would be a security breach if a webpage in one tab can tell what's going on in other tabs..
posted by the mad poster! at 10:30 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

JS has onBlur and onFocus events for the window object. So they can tell when you move to another tab, but they can't necessarily tell what you did in that tab. Every browser window is isolated from every other for security reasons.

The exception being if you happened to go to a website that partners with them then of course they can track you there. Or if you took this test while at one of their physical locations, then firewall/proxy logs would clearly show where you went.
posted by sbutler at 10:37 PM on March 30, 2011

onBlur and onFocus are not triggered by tab changes.
posted by phrontist at 11:11 PM on March 30, 2011

Nobody cares.

It's a recruitment firm; they don't want to honestly assess you, they just want to sell your ass and make money: "Yes, testmonkey passed our arbitrary cognitive test by getting more than an arbitrary score."
posted by orthogonality at 11:15 PM on March 30, 2011 [11 favorites]

onBlur and onFocus are not triggered by tab changes.

The latest Chrome, Firefox, and Safari disagree with you.
posted by sbutler at 11:38 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't think you have anything to worry about. Even if there was some way to know you changed tabs, you could just as easily have been answering an urgent email or doing something else that had nothing to do with the test. Besides, you could have also looked up the words on another computer or on a phone app or even a regular old dictionary. How would they prevent those options?
posted by amyms at 12:28 AM on March 31, 2011

The employee smart enough to use Google to find the answer is the one I want to hire.
posted by COD at 4:43 AM on March 31, 2011 [8 favorites]

Is there even test security to begin with? Meaning, do they know that it's you that's taking the test and not someone else?

If not, then orthogonality is probably right.
posted by BradNelson at 8:21 AM on March 31, 2011

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