Group Exercises for Assessment Centres – What You Need to Know

Group exercises play an important role in assessment centres because they allow recruiters to see how well you perform and communicate with others as part of a team. The most common type of exercise is a group discussion where you need to tackle a given topic with other candidates, whilst being closely observed by the assessors. Here are some things they will be looking at:

Your Contribution to the Discussion

  • Initiating the discussion or bringing in new ideas
  • Asking questions to keep the conversation going
  • Suggesting a solution or answer to a challenging issue
  • Inviting the contribution and support of other team members.

How You Interact with Others

  • Paying close attention to other people’s opinions
  • Encouraging contributions and supporting others’ points
  • Using colleagues’ contributions to either paraphrase or add to them
  • Constructively presenting counter-arguments for other members
  • Asking questions to clarify others’ claims.

How You Helped the Group

  • Tactfully avoiding digressions or bringing the discussion back to topic
  • Reinforcing awareness of both goals and time constraints
  • Diplomatically seeking to deflect tensions or conflict between participants
  • Summarising the discussion as a whole
  • Gaining agreement and reaching a consensus within the group.

At the same time, the employers will be looking out for negative behaviour which can impact the group as a whole. Be sure you avoid:

  • Lack of participation or disengagement with the topic
  • Off-topic contributions or comments
  • Ignoring or not paying attention to other candidates’ opinions
  • Interrupting or talking over other participants
  • Disagreeing with or dismissing someone’s contribution without justification
  • Behaving aggressively and trying to dominate the discussion.

If you want to know more about group exercises and assessment centres, visit our website or drop by our office to pick up some resources. You can also make an appointment to talk about your assessment day with a careers consultant. Just come to room WG3 in the Queen’s Building or give us a call at 020 7882 8533 to book a session.


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