The following information will be collected during the duration of the exam:
Your physical location
Your head movements
Your eye movements
Your mouth movements
These companies are typically used in settings where some level of rigor is expected (e.g. administering an exam for an accredited university). In that context, I think these restrictions make sense in order to ensure some degree of validity in the test results (especially since you're only expected to run the software for the duration of the test).
If Amazon has chosen to use use Proctorio, with an understanding of how it operates, then it's very much Amazon's restrictions.
And if they don't "understand" their constraints (or pretend not to)... why would you want to work for them?
Why not do an onsite if you want to make sure of the validity?
Convenience and logistics. Is it worth yours (or Amazon's) time to pay for travel expenses, when applicants could literally be located anywhere? Evidently not, at least not in the early stages of the process.
When I was last in school I struggled with "networking your way into a company" and wound up landing my internship (and ultimately full employment) on the one company who offered a test before the "Fly you out to meet us" step.
Imagine you're hiring someone to do your taxes. Sure, you'd expect them to use a calculator to do all the hard addition/subtraction, or more likely spreadsheets. But if you asked them to add 5 and 3, and they said "I would use a calculator, this is a stupid question, I can't just tell you off the top of my head" then you're probably not going to hire them.
It's a super basic test of 'Can this person code themselves out a paper bag."
being able to solve problems is more important than how you solve problems. (generally speaking, yes i know there are exceptions)
That's a very long-winded way to describe a prescreening questionnaire. Are you saying that you think no one should ever take a job if there's a prescreening process?
I think I'd only consider doing this if I used a computer I could wipe completely before and after. Even then the amount of distrust is off-putting.
I can understand why ProctorU does what it does, but that process puts a significant burden on the test taker, one which is entirely different than taking a proctored exam in a classroom.
Perhaps most critically, it is a more subtle test for the prospective employee-- are you the kind of person who would comply with a ridiculous request that violates your privacy in the hopes that it will land you a job?
I dunno. If I were an employer and an applicant actually installed this without question, it would make me seriously reluctant to hire them-- this is the sort of unquestioning, docile employee who could be more vulnerable to social engineering,who would not be likely to consider consequences of their actions, who does not take security, privacy, and safety as a priority for even themselves (and is therefore less likely to do so for customers and clients).
These may not be qualities that some companies value, but from my perspective, I think the "nope" letter to Amazon shows strength in independent thinking, creativity, and moral character.
It's like those companies that required you to hand over your social media passwords so HR could dig through your history.
That is horrifying. If Amazon doesn't hire you because of this, it says quite a bit about their company, fuck 'em. Their loss. There are companies out there that actually respect their employees.
Congratulations. You passed the test.
Without the secrecy aspect, I don't think you can say it's spying by the definition people typically use. If you went to an examination hall and took a real proctored exam , would you consider that the proctor was "spying" on you?
> Moreover, it is invasive and unsettling.
This, I can't argue with. It's hard to pin a definition on what makes things creepy or unsettling. Some people find clowns creepy. Why? I have no idea. But there's no sense in arguing about it.
Personally, I think it's a clever use of technology to streamline and scale a traditional process (exam proctoring) that avoids making you travel to an exam hall or interview.
I mean it in the sense of "I went on a blind date, but my parents sat at the adjacent booth to spy on me". I knew they were there, but it was inappropriate invasion of privacy.
> If you went to an examination hall and took a real proctored exam , would you consider that the proctor was "spying" on you?
If I was taking the exam on a personal laptop and was handed mysterious software at the examination hall to install on my machine... (along with images of the inside of my home), then yeah...
Asking this of you, before you're even working for them is presumptive and not a good sign that this is a place you're going to want to be. It's basically a huge flashing "We Fuck Our Employees!" right there on your job application.
This is also the company that requires warehouse workers to queue for bag searches on unpaid time.
I sat about a dozen university exams in the last couple of years and in no instance did I have someone staring at my face, or peeking over my shoulder, during them. There were always supervisors in the theater, but they mostly walked along the aisles of desks and made sure to be unobtrusive and quiet as a mouse.
I really don't see any justification for what you describe.
In the case you describe you have to be physically present at a fixed location at a fixed time. In many cases that might be inconvenient or impossible, and I can certainly see situations where it'd be nice to have an alternative. Not having to have my physical location coincide with the physical location of my university of choice could be quite handy.
I connected with a Lady via cam and she asked me to show via cam in a 360 style if I had anything else in the room I was in (books, someone helping,etc).
Took the exam after that and passed it. It is a bit unusual but very very convinient. If I had to take the exam physically somewhere I would have needed to take a day off.
I'd just take it naked. I'm a fat hairy guy. I'm sure it'll be fun for all of us.
I can't imagine why...? That would be like seeing a freeway and instantly thinking of the Nazis.
In the news right now: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/new-program-decides-crimina...
It's not exactly that far fetched to think that someone might someday think it's a good idea to start applying some of those new AI APIs to the candidate interview videos just to see what happens. In fact given enough time and enough departments/companies, it frankly seems more likely than not.
Especially given that we already have AI scouring GitHub looking for people to recruit. Assuming it's not already happening, it seems unlikely that there won't be startups applying AI to hiring interview videos within the next couple years.
That's a pretty serious accusation, one that could spark a lot of successful lawsuits against those companies -- especially in the current political climate in the states they tend to be located in. Do you have any specific evidence to back it up?
C.f. what Malcom Gladwell has to say about this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLQC3EzDGr4
Okay, then. Good luck with the lawsuits.
Using GPA as a screening measure when members of a racial demographic routinely preform more poorly due to socioeconomic factors, it starts to look more like a proxy for race.
Any website you visit
What a fantastic way of driving away virtually every candidate that's even remotely high-caliber.
These conditions only apply for the 24 minutes in which you take the test. How is this different than if a person were watching you during an interview?
Using such a system in the first place also signals their ineptitude at hiring, or at least an ignorance of quality hiring practices.
>What are you going to do, take a break and load up some porn?
Paid homework projects are far superior. Plagiarism checks can be run on the provided solutions, and a follow-up conversation concerning the project at the interview should easily suss out anyone who had a third party to do it for them.
That approach also has the advantage of actually being a relevant to the position—unlike some generalized intelligence test.
Frankly if people are putting up with the test they have now, Amazon could probably get away with issuing unpaid homework projects, however classless that would be.
This will lead to hiring people who can be coached until they sort of understand a solution, although they still couldn't create it.
Every non-perfect solution is worthless?
I've found that the answer to all this is to give a 30-60m remote test (no proctoring), where they get to write the thing as they want, and a 15m discussion where you analyze their solution and assign one new feature then let them walk you through the changes. No code, no whiteboard, just discussion.
A lot of people can't whiteboard code from scratch but can take a piece of code they've just written and discuss next steps. And it's also an actual work skill that many good coders are bad at, so it gives you a good insight into high and low-level people.
If they're collecting this much data already, how much of a stretch do you think it is to obtain your browser history?
It's different because they're recording you, not to mention they're doing it by installing spyware on your computer. That's not what a person does when they watch you, unless they're watching you through a camera.
Although in this extreme case it does sound like checking stackoverflow is considered cheating.
This is hardly a new concept: exams work pretty much the same way. There are other ways to assess candidates (like looking at their portfolios), but they have their own weaknesses, and testing skills in a constrained environment can still reveal things.
 And this is for the benefit of both parties: I've lost count of how many people I've heard complain about companies that have gauntlets of technical interviews.
This is the core problem with tech hiring circa 2016. The sooner this idea dies, the better. It's surprising that more companies haven't noticed the most effective interviews are ones that resemble the company's day-to-day work as closely as possible.
It's kind of like when you notice someone staring at you in the subway -- you note to yourself that it's creepy (which it is), and you move on.
(Disclaimer: I completed an internship at Amazon and accepted a second internship)
"Secure Exam Proctor Exam Environment: You can generally utilize the Secure Exam Proctor for taking a proctored examination without revealing any Personally Identifiable Information about yourself. The types of information collected depend on the exam settings and can include video, audio, desktop recording, and websites visited. The aforementioned data is encrypted and will not be used by Proctorio in anyway. This information may be used by "Authorized School Officials" to review the actions of Students during exam administration. Proctorio may collect additional information set forth below in the "Aggregate Information" and anonymous information. Aggregate and anonymous information will be used to improve the quality of the Secure Exam Service.
Note: Proctorio utilizes zero-knowledge encryption to keep your information safe."
They’d be completely fooled.
It’s completely useless, and so needlessly invasive.
If you stick a magnet to your tongue, and move it around, a modern phone can recognize that even from below the desk.
So if you had a tongue piercing, and magnetic jewelry for that, you could use that as a crude input device that’s invisible.
That’s why you install the system below the desk, and use it that way.
Holy hell, did I miss that or wasn't it mentioned? This might even be the most invasive of all.
Also at an in-person interview, the interviewee has a symmetrical power relationship to the interviewer in that they can both observe on another. This practice slides the power relationship heavily toward the interviewer.
Furthermore, at an in-person interview, the information is not analyzed in an unspecified manner which further skews the power balance toward the large corporation.
Finally, at an in-person interview, the information is not digitally stored at an unspecified location for an unspecified time and transmitted to unspecified parties. Nor is it subject to unauthorized access by unspecified parties in unspecified countries due to unspecified security arrangements.
I will probably never be in a situation that comes close to the staggering power asymmetry of someone deciding whether or not I will have a job. Even if I'm charged with a crime the court has less power over me than an interviewer, in that its decisions are subject to juries and appeals and I get to watch the proceedings.
The information is analyzed unscientifically according to the personal biases and tastes of the interviewer to form an emotional impression he may not even be conscious of. "Not enough eye contact, I don't like this guy." I'd much rather it be judged by an algorithm trained on actual job performance years in.
Ever heard of Greenhouse? Your interview performance (as reported by the interviewer) is absolutely stored indefinitely in some 3rd party's database subject to unspecified controls.
Amazon has piloted a program to make offers solely on the basis of the test, not just to put a gate in front of the onsite. They should be making it at least as resilient to fraud as an onsite, which is why I think these measures are appropriate.
It's not so much the recording of these metrics that I'd be worried about, but them storing it to build profiles. Different story.
These particular metrics are now quite common for online exam systems.
Mind you, these are valid concerns, and anyone should feel free to reject them. But on the other hand it's nice to have a remote option (for certifications, exams, interviews...) and at the same time a cheat-prevention system.
You'd be creeped out by the stories I have of freelancers or even consulting companies having some "star" employees doing interviews and then other employees showing up at work instead (remotely or even physically). Once you've been burned by stuff like that, you understand they take precautions.
In OPs position, I'd ask for the storage and retention terms and conditions though.
They just want you to be able to take a test remotely without cheaters.
If this were a regular website, sure, but it's for a specific reason, during a specific event, that ultimately you are participating in.
If you were to go and 'take an exam' on Amazon campus - they'd be doing the same thing - but a human proctor would be looking for the same things :)
I think the contextualization of it (i.e. it's 'your home') definitely seems 'creepy' - but I don't think it's a cause for concern - there's a reason they are doing it, it's not nefarious, they are open about it.
Again - it may feel a little creep-show because we're not used to this, or rather, in any other situation it would be truly creepy ... but I don't think there is cause for concern here.
I also think that the logical questions are not unreasonable.
i have no problem with a candidate doing something totally by themself in part 2 of 5 before in in person interview; theres still another 3 different interviews (many of which will be in person) to catch cheating and such
it's just a filter; it's not the interview
I did a post-grad interview for Epic (epic.com - healthcare software) in a similar fashion, that was at least as draconian.
After passing a 15 minute phone screen, they sent me a link to a service that:
* Installed their proprietary software on my Mac
* Connected me to a real person who verified my DL against who they were expecting
* Had me swing my laptop 360 degrees around the room I was taking the test in, to make sure there were no notes or people assisting me on the quiz
* Took remote control of my computer and force quit any programs in Activity Monitor that were on their 'blacklist' (including Dropbox, etc)
* Gave me what I imagine amounted to a three-hour SAT style test with English proficiency, math, logic, etc.
* The whole time, had that same person watching me through my webcam and watching my screen, to make sure that I was not cheating.
I passed, and during my in-person full-day interview in Wisconsin, they had me do a few more of these tests (that were slightly harder and more about communication skills), as well as some interviews with people in person.
It was an interesting experience for sure - definitely a different side of the coin compared to what a lot of HN is probably used to. I ended up getting an offer that was very good considering they are based outside of Madison, but ultimately decided to go somewhere else.
In one of them, my interviewer was a little late and found me trying to open .. and /. I could get a file list of a root file system. There was a file in / titled something like HACKING.txt and explained that you were in a container, but if you did find something, there was a bug bounty program.
What they're looking for, I think, is not necessarily your ability to "hack" and program, but that you fit the mold of someone they can put through a rigorous 6 week (or more? I forget) training program that will teach you the basics of their stack, and then have you banging away.
If they're using mumps they have to get them early before they know any better.
I think the only ones who really like their jobs are a barista and a cook.
For all of the flaws though, they had a fantastic and cheap cafeteria. It's surrounded by cow farms, though, so they have to have some sort of meal accommodation.
I had my resume up on several job sites. I got an email using the name (and a plausible email) for a real, quality software company that sent me a list of HR-type questions. I sent some answers (no PII involved), and they told me I had the job and asked for some bank account information.
That obviously set off some alarms, so I followed up with the company and found out that they were being impersonated. I would guess that someone spent 3+ hours just on hustling me - they'd clearly read my resume, which was ironically better than a lot of real interviews.
Wow. The worst thing is that collecting this information isn't even a red flag when starting a new job, although it's always been done when I get there in person on day 1 for me.
My current job required mountains of background checks and verification, more than enough to do some thorough identity theft. This was setup through a recruiter I met in person though. Imagine how many people they could get if they opened a legit recruitment office for a month?
I can only imagine what a placement company or recruiter could do, just by doing the real job for a bit then bailing with the personal data obtained. It's not pretty, since job offers are such a standard reason to cough up PII.
2) What if you don't have a web cam, say a desktop, not a MacBook?
> If you do not have a webcam, your computer doesn’t meet the technical requirements, or for any reason you'd prefer to take the exam at a proctored location near you, please let me know. I’ll need you to provide your full legal name and current address, and I’ll be able to make alternate arrangements.
I believe the company they use to proctor these tests offers physical locations if you do not have access to a computer with the requirements
What happens if you have a computer without a webcam? Do they just not hire those people?
Then again, I run i3wm atop Linux. Even if I wanted to take such a test, it would be... interesting.
In order to take the assessments from your home, you will need:
* a webcam (either internal or external is fine)
* a microphone
* a computer that meets the technical requirements and equipment test (most Macs and PCs meet these requirements – Linux and Unix are not compatible)
* a basic calculator (please do not plan to use your phone, computer, or graphing calculator)
* a government-issued photo ID
I think the company they do this through has testing locations around the USA to accommodate.
>a basic calculator (please do not plan to use your phone, computer, or graphing calculator)
Who even has a basic calculator anymore?
You'll have job interview clothes and printed resumes as part of every job hunt. That's just a part of the job hunt itself; there's expectations that you'd need those if you're looking for a job.
A basic calculator, without the ability to use an alternative, is not, and forcing someone to go out of their way just to get through your setup, meanwhile being treated like a cheating high schooler, is not going to make them want to work for your company.
I'm a grown ass man, I don't need to be treated like I'm going to cheat at an interview, especially when said cheating can easily be exposed in any sort of discussion or the first day on the job. Requiring a calculator is fine, but disallowing people from using basic tools they have available to complete the same task because of the potential of cheating (how can you even cheat on a coding challenge with a graphing calculator, anyway) is ludicrous. A 1 minute discussion about the code I just wrote can tell you just as much about whether I cheated or not as the arbitrary rules imposed here.
If I had to code purely from memory, without the benefit of language or library docs, I would not be able to write anything of use.
Personally when hiring, I'm not interested in a candidate's memory recall, but the ability to use resources when faced with a new challenge.
Personally, I'm doing mostly Python & C++ development at my new job (4 months in) after not using either for 2 years plus. I'm mostly fine with syntax for both, but constantly have my browser open for documentation, mostly for library related info.
The first is kind of a standard phone interview with a Google Doc. There is no expectation that the code you write would actually compile or run. When I conduct this interview I'm always sure to explicitly say that it's not a test of memory and they shouldn't worry about remembering specific standard library functions, etc. If they need something that they know exists but they don't remember the specifics, I encourage them to make up something that seems reasonable and just go with it.
The second is an onsite interview where we plop them at a desktop machine, give them a relatively simple programming task, and ask them to produce a runnable program. They have access to the internet and really the entire machine. They can Google whatever they want and even use Stack Overflow. Nobody is standing there hovering over their shoulder. This interview gets weighted more than the previous one.
Those are all things that I'd consider invasive that I don't have to deal with during an in-person interview. And the wording is just creepy anyhow.
And given that all of this happens voluntarily, and assuming that Amazon isn't going to infect you with malware(which seems very unlikely) this kind of testing is a great opportunity for people who have the resources or time to show up in person.
There's some kind of privacy chauvinism involved in these discussions that ignores the realities of people who don't live next to the Amazon HQ.
> And given that all of this happens voluntarily
There's voluntary in the sense of willingly (I have no reservations about doing this; heck, I'd offer even if you didn't ask me to), there's voluntary (I choose to do a thing that sucks because I don't seem to have another choice), and there's everything in between. My problem is when the "voluntary" action is more on the negative side of that scale, which it often is when someone's looking for a job.
I'm not trying to criticize candidates' choices. I'm trying to criticize Amazon's implementation of their hiring process. The point isn't that "candidates should be principled enough not to stand for it", but that Amazon should decide "this way sucks, let's find something better".
> assuming that Amazon isn't going to infect you with malware(which seems very unlikely)
True, they just have you voluntarily install someone else's malware.
Sorting a list of points or finding a simple pattern in an array will not. If you need SO to answer the types of questions they ask, you probably shouldn't be seeking an engineering position at a software company.
I know I might get shit for it from HN, but I don't remember jack shit about specifics of implementing sorting algorithms or how to invert a binary tree, because I don't need it right now. I know some of the ideas about why and when you need some sorts over others, but the ins and outs I can get if or when I need them.
Currently I could talk you damn ear off about 9 different ways of doing a topological sort (and which ones you can use if it's guaranteed to be a DAG, etc...), but that's only because I spent my last few days working very closely with stuff like that. Ask me in a month and I'll be back to knowing jack shit about the specifics.
I'm terrible at these kinds of interview questions, but I feel I'm a productive developer.
I left a nice note explaining how I spent a lot of time trying to do it with the language feature, but couldn't due to runtime restrictions, and gave them a working non-optimized solution.
I was emailed to schedule an interview the next day.
I think the anger comes because I see it as a cop out, and I feel I get the short end of the stick in interviews because of it.
I imagine part of this is a response to the very, very large amount of time we spend interviewing interns every winter (I know I typically do 2 or 3 sessions of 3 1-hour interviews in a row). There's just too many interviews to do.
Someone wants to innovate and find ways to sort the good from the bad without SDE time spent, I would guess. I hope this isn't the new system for everyone. Then again, if it saves me hours and hours of phone screens...
I get that the author cares about privacy, but without doing what they do there should be no way to make the process as smooth as it is without getting tons of cheating. (It sounds crazy, but being in uni, I've seen crazy amounts of people cheat, often on the order of >50% of the graduate cs program.)
I work for one of the big 5 in demand software companies to work for - originally I would do a live-programming question on Coderpad as part of a first round pass with candidates. I used a pretty basic question as sort of a fizzbuzz - build a Pascal's triangle. The amount of people who took the exact top sample direct from StackOverflow without even attempting to change anything or mask their cheating was astounding.
We've since adopted a better heuristic approach that more accurately reflects the day-to-day work and abandoned the smoke test, but as everyone knows, the most valuable resource any interviewer has is time - the more of that you can save, the better off you are.
aka "I wasn't the one being violated, so I don't care."
I didn't take up SDE time, but my friend did. I'd be curious whether it's costing you more time because you need more candidates to fill a slot...
So perhaps a big part of the problem is figuring out what candidates you want to interview first. A lot of these questions are designed just to rule out people who aren't very logical or won't take the time to do it properly, and I understand that.
A manager once told me about a hire they had to fire on the first day. They did a lot of interviews remotely as he was in India. When they finally flew the guy in and put him in the chair, he was a different person. Literally. He had someone else do all the interviews for him so he could get in the door. Pretty weird that he thought they wouldn't notice, but people are that weird sometimes.
If you have too many hires to do, it sounds like you either need to outsource hiring, or build an internal hiring team that can do the technical interviews. This could be a semi-global or traveling team if you're often looking at non-local talent. Or they could do a lot of interviewing via webcam, perhaps with a second webcam shipped by Amazon (it's not like you don't have cheap shipping already) the user could point at their own screen for extra security.
It's about finding someone who can see things more generally, but then implement solutions with the tools on hand. It's really hard to do, but it means I get to work with incredible people.
(Also, I did a webcam interview this week. It's not a great format.)
I also find it mildly insulting that essentially i'm interviewing for a job I don't know i'm going to have, as if I had no choice in what I do, or my choice was irrelevant. If I get hired for a Perl job, don't put me on a Java team, because I hate Java. They could also just skip certain interviews by asking if I have any interest in X team in the future, or if I have any experience with it.
I will say I did appreciate and enjoy my own experience with Amazon - two phone interviews, possibly some code sample, and an in-person. Really nice people. Just an unfortunate waste of time, especially for the interviewers.
That's even more fucked up. It really shows that they view all developers as interchangeable cogs.
However, from a philosophical point of view, it's Draconian and unnerving. What assurance does the interviewee have that Amazon isn't storing and using all this telemetry? Amazon is dictating the entire procedure, right down to the specific browser and extension, and the interviewee has no control over this. In fact, I have to wonder if the job seeker's acquiescence is part of the assessment; if they will bend over and take this massively invasive procedure, perhaps they will make for a good little subservient drone at Amazon.
I'm with the author, screw that shit.
This sort of behavior by teachers is exactly what got me to write my first serious z80 assembly program to mimic all of the menus on the TI-83 circa 1996. Teachers had already caught on to the fact that there were programs that would display the "Mem Cleared" message on the calculators, so mandated they had to do it manually. I never used my program to cheat, I just didn't want to lose my games (had a really good zelda clone & penguins).
I admire your tenacity too.
I'll probably have to order one off Amazon at some point.
I don't disagree, and I recently stopped using all Google products in part because of how much information they have collected and still want to collect from me. After the account suspension drama from several days back, I was spooked and came to realize just how dependent I was on the company, and what I stood to lose should I come into the crosshairs over a simple ToS violation or even just a random bug in their service.
But that only strengthens my point of view about this hiring process and how wrong it is. When a company wants to exert that much control over someone who doesn't even work there yet, it speaks volumes about their overall culture and attitude towards people in general.
How is that different from being recorded by multiple cameras during an on-site interview?
I honestly don't see why the information they're collecting is a big deal. They are remotely interviewing you for a position, and would like to minimize cheating as much as possible. Instead of sitting you in a room, they use the technology available on your computer, while clearly telling you upfront what kind data will be collected. If you don't like it, get an interview elsewhere.
there are still in person stages; this is just a filter for them. it's not like it's the only data you get to hire or not hire someone
These are the cases where monitoring is needed. Whether or not what Amazon is doing is actually effective is another issue entirely. All I'm saying is that it's not as huge a deal as a lot of people on this thread are making it out to be.
I'd refuse this too. But the difference is that the on site one isn't a massive security threat.
It doesn't even satisfy the legal requirements for informing people their personal data is going to be collected (in my country at least). They don't tell you what happens to the data, who has access to it, they don't provide a way to let them know you want it deleted, and so on.
Let's chill here, 'Draconian' is a strong word.
'What if Amazon is using the data for nefarious purposes'.
It's a reasonable conclusion, but also a big 'what if' :)
Their motivation is pretty reasonable - they just want you to be able to take a test remotely.
They 'dictate the process, right down to the extension' for reasonable cause.
It's reasonable to ponder the ways in which there could be bad things going on, but I don't think it's reasonable to assume that there is, or even malicious intent here.
It just 'seems' creepy.
Unless you are working with a really small API surface then it is unlikely that a programmer is going to have much of the API memorized than the ones he uses on a daily basis. And with people radically changing their stacks every few years it is unreasonable to expect it.
Also, people copy/paste/tweak things from StackOverflow all the time. Disabling clipboard is unreasonable for that reason.
What a programmer can do using only things completely in their head is quite different than what programmers do in reality. Programmers are constantly looking up things they don't know throughout the entire day.
Keep in mind too that online tests are for screening, not a complete interview. You bring people in after that and do several rounds of interviews. Under that circumstance having a friend next to you or supplying you the answers doesn't really get you far if you know you have to do similar tests once you get into the office. There's isn't a lot of incentive to cheat.
The bigger concern is that this is a red flag about the work environment / culture. If I saw that I wouldn't go anywhere near it as well. In fact I deliberately put things in resume that some companies might find objectionable in order to purposely weed out with such cultures.
Of course, I think that the real answer for that is to use a human to interview everyone. It's crazy to treat potential future employees this way.
I've even had a candidate whisper the question to someone else in the room with them. Seriously, it's ridiculous what some have done.
But what you can say is: "If you want me to jump through all of those hoops, send me a $99 tablet that's already configured for the test conditions you want to subject me to."
I took the first test just like the OP, the logical reasoning part seemed kind of irrelevant and a waste of time for me. That was nothing compared to the second online test.
The environment of the second test was like a scenario out of Black Mirror. Not only did they want to have the webcam and microphone on the entire time, I also had to install their custom software so the proctors could monitor my screen and control my computer. They opened up the macOS system preferences so they could disable all shortcuts to take screenshots, and they also manually closed all the background services I had running (even f.lux!).
Then they asked me to pick up my laptop and show them around my room with the webcam. They specifically asked to see the contents of my desk and the walls and ceiling of my room. I had some pencil and paper on my desk to use as scratch paper for the obvious reasons and they told me that wasn't allowed. Obviously that made me a little upset because I use it to sketch out examples and concepts. They also saw my phone on the desk and asked me to put it out of arm's reach.
After that they told me I couldn't leave the room until the 5 minute bathroom break allowed half-way through the test. I had forgotten to tell my roommate I was taking this test and he was making a bit of a ruckus playing L4D2 online (obviously a bit distracting). I asked the proctor if I could briefly leave the room to ask him to quiet down. They said I couldn't leave until the bathroom break so there was nothing I could do. Later on, I was busy thinking about a problem and had adjusted how I was sitting in my chair and moved my face slightly out of the camera's view. The proctor messaged me again telling me to move so they could see my entire face.
The whole experience was degrading. If you're wondering why I did it, well, I've been using various AWS services for five years and I admired the work that the AWS team had done. Furthermore, I need the income to support my parents and Amazon was the best chance I had at the time. I got invited to do an on-site interview but I declined once I had another offer, and I'm glad I did.
EDIT: Small detail I forgot to mention. When I was showing them my desk, I had the monitor for my desktop (I was using my laptop for the test) and they asked me to turn the monitor so it was facing backwards.
Even when I was in college my university (Rice) had an honor code which meant, among other things: (1) professors didn't have to be present in-class during exams, and in fact they were encouraged to leave; (2) professors could give take-home exams and students were trusted to not cheat or otherwise violate the terms of the exam.
It wasn't just theoretical; most of my exams were not directly proctored in college, and I never personally knew of anyone who cheated. If you did cheat and got caught, though, you would have a trial before the entirely student-run Honor Council. If found guilty the punishments were extremely severe.
I know Rice is not the only school with this sort of honor code. I believe Caltech has one as well, and there are definitely some others.
Justifying this as "just to make sure people aren't cheating" is like justifying the police putting a camera in everyone's living room "just to make sure people aren't criminals" or putting a GPS collar on your spouse "just to make sure she's not having an affair". Totally unacceptable.
While you might have good reason to get offended and find this to be a big privacy invasion, probably like 90% of people here, the comparison you use here is invalid. Putting a camera in people living room or a GPS tracker is a permanent surveillance. This in comparison is only for the duration of the exam. In many schools, especially in some cultures where cheating is more common and accepted , there's pretty strict measures implemented for exams, including humans checking all of the same things that tool is checking.
Again, it's definetely a big privacy invasion, but it's Amazon tentative at scaling/automating the first phase of the job interview process. I'm sure anyone with proven credentials could bypass this step, but if it gives a chance to prove one's skills for a job without having any special degree, I'm sure some people would be fine with the temporary privacy invasion.
It is an invasion of privacy. Is it an unacceptable invasion of privacy for the duration of an interview/test ?
To make a comparison like your comparison: Apple stole $500 from me when I bought my iPhone! Thieves!
Giving something up of your own free will (in exchange for something else), is very different than having it taken from you.
If you disagree, argue with the actual facts of situation.
If I don't pay Apple, they won't give me an iPhone. Am I involuntarily paying Apple for my iPhone?
As for the camera, a mafia-esque threat of "if you don't have a camera, we get very suspicious" by a government which has the power to prosecute and put people in jail, is incredibly coercive and horrifying.
Amazon is making you an offer, which if you refuse, leaves you no worse off than the status quo. If you accept their offer, there is potentially a job which you are apparently interested in, since you are applying.
This is a completely false comparison.
You are taking a test remotely, they want to make sure you are not cheating, it's completely reasonable - during the duration of a test.
It's beyond unfair to suggest that this is in the same category of 'state authorities putting cameras in your house to arbitrarily spy on you' or putting a GPS collar on you.
I suggest it would help if in the terms that Amazon spelled out that they are not storing any data or what-not.
We live in a new world of tech, we have to think a little bit about what these things mean, and when we can apply tech reasonably and when we cannot, we can't just be knee-jerk about it.