Hiring the Perfect Proctor

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Finding a proctor or knowing what makes them a qualified proctor can be an important step for an organization. It is not easy to find the perfect proctor, and sometimes people don’t know where to begin looking. Because proctors do the majority of their work alone and on a one-on-one or group basis with students, being able to depend on their abilities and work ethic is where you need to focus when hiring them.

“Usually look for somebody with customer service or some kind of experience working with people or any type of supervisory experience,” said Ken Toht, director IT Academy/ACT Center at Bucks County Community College.

“What we are looking for are individuals that are mature, that doesn’t mean old, who have personalities that enjoy details and order,” said Louis Woodruff, director of testing, Bucks County Community College. “Then we are looking for individuals who are emotionally stable, have good social skills, have a sense of compassion, that create a friendly and warm environment at the same time manage the details and control the security. Also people who do things the same way each time and consistent in the terms of their availability and punctuality.”

Although it is not required that a person who is looking to be a proctor have an advanced higher education degree, having either some work or a degree in the IT field is beneficial for the job role.

“A field of study that requires a commitment to logic and order — people who are majoring in the science or behavioral sciences or math probably will make the best proctors,” Woodruff said.

Special courses or certifications are not common or required to become a proctor. There are, however, certain aspects within the technology field that could be helpful within the position. “It is a good idea in general that they know Microsoft Office, not as an expert but just as a suggested area of knowledge prior to coming in to become a proctor,” Toht said. Depending upon the center in which a proctor will be working, sometimes having a certification can do more harm then good. “There are certain certifications that if a student has they can’t be proctors. View (center) as an example doesn’t allow me to hire Microsoft certified professionals or Cisco certified candidates,” Toht said.

The training that a proctor needs will depend upon what kind of center they will be working in. For the most part all of the training is done on site. But if the proctor is training to work in a view-testing center, they must pass an administrator test, Toht said. They will be given a proctor manual for preparation and studying, and then they will take a test online before they can become a proctor. “It’s a matter of training people to assume the persona of a proctor; it’s not just a job it’s a persona. It’s a personality that you put on to enable you to do the job well,” Woodruff said.

The question to be answered is, what makes the perfect proctor? “The key is that they (proctors) have to be willing to accept the responsibility of being alone and handling just about any situation that comes up,” Toht said. “It is nice to have some knowledge of computers, but you don’t have to be a computer expert to be a proctor. All you need to be is eager to learn and able to accommodate the test taker and be flexible with hours.”

Woodruff said they also need to be detailed oriented and intelligent. “(They should) enjoy things that are orderly as opposed to being improvisatory kind of people, individuals who find comfort in the orderliness of procedures and then individuals who are compassionate and socially welcoming,” Woodruff said.

There are many different places that organizations can look to find proctors. A few of the different areas that proctors can be found are through schools (colleges and universities), through student workers or retired individuals. Some of these schools use advertising on their Web site, much like that of a classified section in a newspaper to hire their proctors. “I advertise within our own school placement program, career services, I would suggest other companies to contact career services departments of colleges and let them know that they are seeking proctors,” Toht said. Another way is by word of mouth or through the local newspaper. If people are looking to become proctors in colleges, Woodruff advises that they look at school Web sites as well as the paper to see what is being posted and where the jobs are.

The biggest advantage, or to some disadvantage, of being a proctor is that success within the field relies on social skills and dependability as an employee. “The ability to accept responsibility and communication skills to be able to communicate with not only the test taker but with people in the organization on any issue that occurs within the testing environment,” Toht said.

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