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The types of Assessment Exercises

The types of Assessment Exercises

Each exercise will be used to assess several different competencies and skills areas. Most competencies will be assessed through at least two different exercises, so if you feel you missed something in one exercise, you will have another chance to prove yourself in that area later on.

The most common types of ADC exercises are
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Written exercise

Written exercise

The aim of this exercise is to give the candidate certain background information on which a written plan or proposal needs to be based. It is up to the candidate to determine which of the information is most relevant for completion of the task, which will usually last around 1 to 2 hours. There is likely to be an element of problem solving and dealing with a variety of issues within a short time frame.
 

Inbox/ In-basket/ In-tray exercise

Inbox/ In-basket/ In-tray exercise

This is a written exercise where you will be presented with a number of communications, like memos or emails, and you need to tackle each one within your allocated time. Each item will contain a different problem but will be something which is likely to be similar to something you might face in your new role, for instance a letter of complaint, a request for some data to be analysed, a problem with a member of staff etc.
 

One to one role-play

One to one role-play

This will involve you dealing with another individual, who is playing a pre-determined role, on a one-to-one basis. The role-player will have guidelines to adhere to, to ensure all candidates experience the same set of concerns or issues. An outline will probably be given to the candidate prior to the exercise so they are aware of what to expect, and have a short amount of time to prepare. Although it is a role-play situation the candidate themselves will be expected to behave as they normally would, but in the role specified in the exercise brief. This exercise can look at scenarios of a professional or personal nature, with the professional role-player acting the role of either a member of the organization or external to it. The candidate is expected to deal with the situation as issues arise and communicate effectively with the role-player to reach desired outcomes. An example might be that the role-player is a member of staff who has had some performance issues which you need to address; it might be an external stakeholder who you have to negotiate with; it might be a member of the public or press who you have to ‘manage’ in order to get best outcomes for your organisation.
 

Group role-play

Group role-play

The group role-play exercise will be similar to the one to one role-play except there will be more than one role-player. This may involve presenting information to individuals who would then question you on this, or to deal with role-players dynamically as a situation evolves. You will be given the relevant information you need to enter into the interaction and time to prepare. You may not know everything that will arise in advance, that’s why it is wise to keep your eyes and ears open and respond to what is presented to you as effectively as you can.
 

Group discussion

Group discussion

These sorts of exercises are less popular now as they are difficult to standardise, but some organisations do still use them. This will involve you and a number of other candidates being given information to analyse, which you then need to discuss as a group. There will often be an objective which you need to reach, or a problem to resolve. These types of exercises aren’t necessarily looking for how you lead a group, which is a common misconception. It depends what competencies you need to prove you have for the job you have applied for, but often the assessors are interested in how you work with others to generate solutions and then take steps to ensure they are implemented.
 

Presentation

Presentation

Many Assessment Centres will include some element of a presentation, although it can be more common to use this if the organisation has decided to test you on what you know about the organisation. Its good practice to only give you a presentation if it is something you are likely to have to do as part of the new job; however, many organisations still like them even if this isn’t the case! You may be give information at the ADC to prepare from, or asked to prepare something in advance. Usually it is how you formulate your key points and present your arguments that assessors are most interested in, and not necessarily how many facts and figures you have memorised.
 

Analysis/ case studies exercise

Analysis/ case studies exercise

These types of exercise might be quite similar to the written or in-basket style exercise, they just have a slightly different format and name. You will probably be given plenty of information to review and time to create a proposal or identify problems/ risk. It depends on the job you are applying for as to what would be relevant to include here.
 

Leadership/ team building exercise

Leadership/ team building exercise

Some ADCs will involve more active or group style exercises which may involve you solving a problem together or engaging in something quite physical such as trying to get from one side of the room to another using only certain pieces of equipment for example. You will be told in advance if you can expect this! Often these sorts of exercises will be used in more physically based organisations such as the military, or for practical, hands-on type roles.
 

Psychometric testing

Psychometric testing

Psychometric tests are paper or computer based tests, often multiple choice, which test a range of skills such as verbal, numerical, managerial, judgement, reasoning, spatial or problem solving skills. These tests aren’t based on the competencies and are much more ‘black and white’ i.e. there is a right and wrong answer, and your performance will result in a score. This score will then be matched with a sample population to see how well you match up e.g. you scored higher or lower than most other candidates from an average population of graduates/ professionals.
 
 

What will the outcomes be?

Following the ADC all candidates will be notified as to whether they have been successful or not. You should be offered feedback, either written or over the phone. It is advisable to take this irrespective of the result, as it is a unique opportunity to learn more about your strengths and development needs.
 

 

Top 10 Assessment Centre tips

Top 10 Assessment Centre tips

If you think you’ve messed up in one activity or task, don’t give up . it doesn't mean you've failed the whole thing, so don’t quit. Make sure you are being clear in what you are thinking - in both written and interactive exercises. If you keep ...

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