How To Conduct a Remote Test Assessment Over Video

How To Conduct a Remote Test Assessment Over Video
Image Credit: Smithsonian Institution

More businesses than ever are operating remotely, and for a good reason. The benefits of remote work are many and varied, from improved work-life balance for employees to lower office space overheads for the organization.

With that said, teething troubles when migrating from on-site operations to remote equivalents are to be expected. Running test assessments where participants are not in the same place as those in charge is a good example of an area where those troubles can occur. So, what steps can you take to handle remote test assessments with the help of video conference software?

Here are some ideas and strategies that really work.

Consider the software

The video conferencing software market is large, with many competing platforms to consider. If you’re orchestrating the assessment, you’re in control of what package you pick. If you’re a third-party participant, you should ask in advance which solution will be used on the day and make sure the relevant app is installed ahead of time.

In either case, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the software. Knowing how to mute your mic, disable your camera feed, share your screen, pipe in audio, and create virtual break-out rooms will allow you to handle the testing smoothly when the time comes.

If you don’t make the proper preparations, you might have embarrassing technical hold-ups that won’t impress those involved.

Think about aesthetics

Any remote interaction brings the temptation to leave some of the formalities of the office behind. You may consider taking a more relaxed approach to personal presentation and the broader look of the space you occupy.

It’s far better to treat testing that involves internal and external parties like a face-to-face business engagement. Dressing appropriately and setting up your home office in a clear, uncluttered way comes into this.

If you’re overseeing the assessment, you can even use a video conference background branded with your company logo to add that extra layer of professionalism.

Don’t forget about the questions

Choosing the right questions is key for any successful remote test assessment, whether you’re interested in getting product feedback as part of your development cycle or looking to recruit top talent through video conference-based interviews.

For participants, it’s about research and preparation. Suppose you want to nail your interview at Amazon. In that case, it’s sensible to investigate Amazon’s behavioral questions and work out what answers you’d give, so you are ready to respond clearly and concisely in the heat of the moment.

Businesses that want to write questions for their own remote assessments of participants can also take advantage of researching effective questions used by other organizations.

You have to take the purpose of the test into account and develop the questions accordingly, of course. But there’s also much to be gained from following in the footsteps of others if you’re starting from scratch, rather than trying to do everything yourself.

Settle on a format and schedule

Formatting and scheduling remote assessments are deeply entwined; without knowing the shape that the test is going to take, you won’t be able to allocate a suitable time slot to it.

It helps to go through the questions and other elements in a trial run to get a sense of timing. In addition, if you are organizing a test or interview, remember to keep participants in the loop — don’t just give them a date and time to attend, but also an idea of how long they’ll need to be present.

Another element to factor in, depending on the length of the process, is a break. For multiple-session assessments that will last longer than 60 minutes, giving participants downtime is important.

A lot of this comes down to how intense video conferencing can be compared to face-to-face meetings. Being on camera for long periods is very draining, and breaks allow some of the stress and tension to ease, giving everyone breathing room.

Plan for the unexpected

Ideally, your remote test assessment over video conference software will go very smoothly, but you also need to be prepared for scenarios where issues arise.

For example, rather than relying on one platform for conducting the test, be ready to switch to a different means of communication if there are outages or other technical glitches that can’t easily be resolved. Something as simple as letting participants know that you’ll be transferring to a conference call on the phone if the video platform gives up the ghost can make a big difference to continuity.

Final thoughts

A healthy dose of preparation and trialing is needed to help a remote test assessment go off without a hitch. All of this will be worth it, since hard work upfront leads to fewer snafus in the moment.


This article is part of Buildremote’s contributor series. If you’d like to share some insights about how you run your remote company, learn more here.

About the author

Henry OLoughlin

Hi, I'm the founder of Buildremote. I have worked from home for a decade and ran a fully remote, four-day work week company for eight years. I've made all of the mistakes running a distributed team. I hope if you read my work, you'll be spared.

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