Test capacity of assistant abroad

Ted Penner
Ted Penner used Ask the Experts™
I need a way to test assistants English Speaking and writing ability prior to engaging with them.  I need something I can give people abroad to gauge their capacity to engage in an online working relationship.  I expect this to be an on-going discussion after I quickly select the best answer.

Thanks for your help.
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You could always interview the candidates using Skype or Google Hangouts...

Any written test can be easily taken by anther person without your knowledge.
The written form is still a good option if you use the element of surprise.
As paulsave mentioned above, I believe the direct interactivity with the person gives the best impression about the communication skills. But that requires your time.
If you prepare a written test or a web form and you give it to them then may work if:
- you announce them about a test or interview or whatever - online, at a given hour, without telling them what will be.
- you use a timer. They have to complete the form in a given range of time.

Time + element of surprise reduces the the chances that someone else completes the form or they are helped in any way.
You specify that important is to give as many as possible answers and shorter time means better.
If it is a website page/form, then the test results may be checked automatically and you do not lose time. You just check the results.
It is less probable that they will cheat if they will be hired for a job, because they will lose the job afterwards and you should state that as a warning in the beginning.
The questions should be changed random for each test form a bigger database to eliminate copy/paste, known answers...
If is short enough then you eliminate the possibility of Google search to find the answers.
The questions should have different level of difficulty.
Ted PennerSoftware Engineer


Hi Viki,

Love your thoughts.  Of' course I would give them more testing as time went on either in the form of an interview, or tasks I really do need them to complete.  You hit the nail on the head regarding time.  Once I started trying to connect with lots of folks abroad to do things on a per task basis, I realized two things.

1. IF you can find the right person, they can often give you very good results at a reasonable cost.
2. That's a very BIG "IF".  If you do find someone, the challenges are enormous. Time zone, internet speed, availability, skills, etc are not small hick-ups, and all of them take an ENORMOUS amount of time to resolve and re-resolve.

I would love to have some way to put up a flag for like two minutes and say call me for XYZ, then take the flag down and not let anyone else connect.

I seem to always have way too many or nobody at all when I need them.  I would love to continue the discussion as it is interesting.

Per my question above though, where can I point them for a good English Skills Test?
It is too wide and not clear defined what kind of test do you need.
Is it related with a certain profession, domain of activity? Then the vocabulary is specific.
When I decided to make such test for English as foreign language, to be widely accepted in different countries, though I never had really the chance, maybe I was too lazy, I remember the first important book for such test related with:

then few years later I heard about another one:

Why don't you try?:

But the point is, you need your website in order to have access to members registration, questions, results....that is the hard part to find or build.
Maybe my idea was interesting, but seems not so easy to be implemented.

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