December 07, 2000, 5:17 PM — In my previous column, I looked
at skills-testing services and how they can help overworked hiring managers evaluate
how qualified their candidates really are. Here, I'll evaluate the tests themselves.
Both ReviewNet (www.reviewnet.net) and TeckChek (www.teckcheck.com) have large libraries of technical tests
for very specific subject areas, and both deliver the tests online.
ReviewNet tests are written and reviewed by industry professionals. The multiple-choice
tests depict real-world scenarios and focus on problem-solving. For example, instead of
just asking: "How many meters can you have between an Ethernet switch and a networked
The test might present a little scenario:
You have a workgroup that needs to be connected to the network, but it's too many
meters away. How can you connect the workgroup in question to the central Ethernet
In the real world, there is often more than one answer, and so the ReviewNet questions
have one "right" answer, one "partial" answer, and three incorrect answers. The tests
are delivered over the Internet, and the results are sent to the recruiter immediately.
TeckChek's tests, written by industry pros working in the field on a day-to-day basis,
take a slightly different, adaptive approach. A test adjusts itself to the skill level
of the test-taker. As you go through the test, the testing mechanism analyzes your
answers and then delivers subsequent questions that are either more or less difficult.
The results are ranked and delivered to the administrator, who receives raw scores,
percentile scores, and data on the candidate's strengths and weaknesses. Like
ReviewNet, TeckChek's tests are divided into subcategories specific to the technology
being tested. The tests are also multiple choice, and up to three of the five possible
answers can be correct.
Security is a concern for many clients, and TeckChek addresses it with the TeckChek
Secure test suite, designed to be administered in-house in a proctored environment. But
the convenience of a test-taker is sometimes paramount -- especially when a manager may
be trying to filter out the best of potentially hundreds of applicants. For those
situations, TeckChek offers the TeckChek Complete, TeckChek Essentials, and QuickChek,
which can be delivered over the Web and taken at the candidate's convenience.