For those of you who have been invited to an Assessment Centre, which includes a Group Exercise, or if you just want to find out a bit more about this than read on…
Assessment Centres are used by employers during the recruitment process, as a way for them to determine a candidate’s suitability for a role by testing them through various different tasks and activities. One of the popular activities used by employers is the ‘Group Exercise’. So how you can perform well on this?
First of all the Task…
If you go for an Assessment Centre which includes a group exercise, the employer will set you a task or exercise. This will vary depending on the type of company and role you have applied for. For example, if it is a sales role, the exercise may be related to selling or promoting a product. You will be placed in a group with a few of the other candidates. Now the important thing to remember is you are being observed all the time and the purpose is for the assessor’s to see how well you work in a team.
Have a think about how you might be able to gain the attention of the assessors (for the right reasons of course). If you feel confident this might be by putting yourself forward as the team leader. Alternatively you could offer to be take notes or to be in charge of time. Remember, you don’t want to be domineering but likewise if you sit and say nothing the assessors will have nothing to note down about you.
Three areas or competencies that the assessors will focus on during a group exercise include:
One of the key competencies that the assessors will look out for is how you communicate with the other team members; the way you talk, listen and respond. When you are talking speak with a clear voice and talk to each member of the team so that you’re not facing just one person.
Listen to what others have to say and perhaps write down any key points if this will help you to remember. Ask questions if you can, to show that you are participating in the group discussions and have an interest in the opinions of others. Be involved by bringing ideas to the table which will hopefully open up conversations within the group.
In a Group Exercise the assessors may not always be listening in on the conversations in your group, they might just be observing from a distance, so as well as actually listening and participating in the group exercise, you have to also show that you’re doing this by using your body language.
You can do this by using hand gestures when you are talking or describing something. When someone else is talking show that you’re listening by facing the person, nodding your head when you agree with their comments and keeping eye contact. Think about good posture. Sit up straight and try not to fidget with your hands or get distracted by something else in the room. If you have to stand up and talk or present to your group stand up straight, use hand gestures, talk to the audience by facing them and talk in a clear voice.
The Group Exercise will involve working with others together in a team, to achieve the goals of the task that has been set. This can sometimes be difficult in a competitive environment, as at the end of the day you are competing with one another for the job. However it is important to show that you can work well with others in a team.
Try not to be too assertive or dominant; even if you have been assigned ‘team leader’ you need to show that you can listen and take on board the views of others, even if you don’t agree with their opinion. If another team member is being overbearing, try to ask a question to pause that person and give them time to think, which will also bring others into the discussion. The last thing you would want is for any friction or arguments to arise within the group, so be understanding.
If you find another group member to be too quiet or not involved, try and bring them into the conversation by maybe asking them something like ‘so what do you think of this…’ this will show the assessors that you are including others and encouraging them to participate in the team.
One thing to bear in mind is to keep track of the time. The exercise will have a time limit but that will be easy to lose sight of when you are caught up in discussion. Make sure you have come to a decision before time runs out.
And lastly….try to be calm, relaxed and comfortable throughout. Enjoy the experience; if anything it will be a great opportunity for you to learn and develop on your skills.
QMUL Careers & Enterprise Centre