Assessment centres part 3 – group discussions & group exercises

So. Now the activities where you get to talk. See also part 1 for an assessment centre overview and part 2 about written exercises, psychometric tests and case studies.

TIP: Say something.  No input, no score.

Typical Tasks

Group discussions: chaired, all taking a turn as head honcho. Propose ground rules which ensure that no-one can dominate. Encourage silent members of the group to participate by asking their options. It shows teamworking and communication skills.

Group discussions: unchaired Can degenerate into a free-for–all. Do not get involved, unless as the voice of sweet reason. Earn extra kudos by using the ground rules ploy above.

Group exercises

– a commercial project

– team case-study

– something a little more left-field – building structures using just paperclips and card, getting from A – B without touching the floor (you think I’m joking?).

Initial activity may conclude with a team presentation. Just to keep you on your toes.

There’s more…

– Test of powers of persuasion / negotiation such as a “balloon game”. Look it up.

– Test of logic e.g. .survival in some exotic yet hostile location – the moon / the Sahara / the planet Zog.

Not just a team effort…. 

Oh no. Going solo, you may have to rationalise a case study, explain e-tray choices, (see blog Assessment Centres 2: The Sequel)  give a presentation, prepared in advance or on the spot.  Either way, keep it simple, clear, concise.

Getting Involved: Ways and Means

● Offer to be time keeper (NB be sure to fulfil that basic obligation to watch the clock)

● Mind blank? Quiz others about their ideas.

● Use multi-purpose key phrases, lobbed into the mix at judicious intervals:

“Let’s move on”; “Who has something to add?”; “Can you expand?”; “Interesting points, what do the rest of us think?”; “Let’s summarise what’s been said so far”; “How can we / you take that forward?”; “We have five minutes left.”

Above all

Stay focused: lose concentration and you’re toast.

See? Easy when you know how.

Gill Sharp
Senior Careers Consultant
QM Careers Centre

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