Candidates are usually given a case study or topic to discuss or a problem to solve within a given time limit. To simulate a workplace environment, recruiters may offer additional information relating to the scenario during the exercise itself to see how candidates respond to dynamic situations and changing information and/or priorities.
The recruiting employer hopes to gain an insight in to how individual candidates operate and behave in teams and are looking for the following character traits:
- Clarity of thought and expression
- Ability to analyse information, ideas and to identify key points
- Lateral thinking and creativity
- Communication skills (especially interpersonal skills)
- Focus, drive and motivation
- Leadership skills
- Commercial awareness
- Ability to influence and persuade others
The provided task is usually related to the industry that the candidate is being recruited for. Throughout the duration of the exercise all candidates will be observed, and their behavior and performance will be analyzed by the assessors. There are several variations to the group exercise, of which practical tasks, discussions and role-play exercises are the most popular ones.
Every candidate is assigned to a group and every group is given a task, normally a problem-solving assignment which needs to be resolved by group members. These tasks may be relevant to the workplace or may not be relevant at all. For example, group members can be required to build a structure out of straw. These exercises are given to test every member’s capability of working as a team member and coordinate the team effort to maximize the accuracy of the result. Also, it is important that individual contributions and knowledge are easy to recognize.
An applicant may be invited for a group discussion on leadership, while the group will receive a presentation with a workplace relevant problem or scenario. The task for the group can be to address the problem and avail a logical solution. For instance, candidates can be required to recognize an organizational problem and resolve it within a certain amount of time with the help of other group members to prove their capacity of solving issues with a combined effort.
In role-play exercises, the candidate will be required to undergo tasks with a distinct role to expose his/her ability to keep pace with situations and resolve problems taking remarkable initiative. Information and briefing will be provided to every member and each of them has to play a particular part and complete their own task to comprehensively get the project done. For example, a mock meeting can take place and every applicant needs to assume a specific role to meet the assigned target and group objectives.
Preparing for an assessment centre or online aptitude test can be stressful because you don’t know what to expect. The best way to familiarize yourself is with practice aptitude tests that mimic the tests used by employers and recruiters. Assessment-Training.com has prepared thousands of candidates for their assessments and aptitude tests by offering realistic test simulations with fully worked solutions.
By practicing group exercises you can improve your performance during the real test by familiarizing yourself with the format and time-pressure.