A recent survey of undergraduates discovered that students are cheating in the online selection tests that are used by nearly every large graduate recruiter.


The research was conducted by Work Group and based on the responses of 1,600 undergraduates, all members of the careers site targetjobs.co.uk . Students surveyed had either started or finished the application process with employers.


The survey results were launched today to 150 graduate recruiters at the latest TARGETjobs Breakfast News in the Floral Hall, Borough Market, where it was revealed that many students are resorting to cheating at selection tests – often in creative ways. More students owned up to cheating in tests than to exaggerating their accomplishments on CVs or making up bogus qualifications. They confessed to everything from asking a numerate mate to sit a numeracy test to holding a testing party where a brains trust of students sit around and come up with the right answers – like a pub quiz team.


The research was presented by Marcus Body and Susanna Wells of Work Group and they advised employers to be fairly relaxed about this trend. Even though nearly three-quarters of respondents thought that other students cheated, the real number of actual cheats was far smaller. Marcus suggests that employers should ignore it (as they’ll get rejected later on anyway), make sure that students re-sit the test at assessment centres and, above all, explain from the start why these tests are used – as cheating wastes their time too.


Chris Phillips, Publishing Director at TARGETjobs, said:

“With more employers using online ability tests as part of increasingly complex processes and with noticeably fewer jobs around in a competitive market, students may feel that cheating could help them get closer to their first jobs – but, as the survey shows, they will lose out in the end.”

The Work Group research presented at TARGETjobs Breakfast News looked also at the real costs of bad hiring and bad recruitment processes to businesses.