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Group exercises may be made use of by some employers to predict the performance and evaluate the skills of the candidates for the roles they will be required to perform if employed. In group exercises, the candidates are usually presented with problems or situations that they might face while working at the company; and they are usually asked to deduce a solution to tackle the situation by analyzing the given information. The candidates are usually asked to discuss various aspects of the given problem and the possible solutions among themselves. The assessors usually do not take part in the discussion but they stay there to evaluate the candidates’ performances.
The group exercises, usually administered in an assessment centre, have two categories. The first type is known as Assigned Roles while the second one is Unassigned Roles. Let us now take a brief look at each one of them:
In assigned role group exercises, every participant in the exercise is assigned a job position or a designation as they would have while working within the company. A briefing may be given which is distinct for each candidate and may contain specific instructions about their part in the given group exercise session. The candidates are pitched against one another with each of them trying to push their own agenda while competing among themselves. An example of such a situation may be multiple candidates vying for a job promotion which will be awarded only to one of them. In such a situation, the participants in the group may have to present their case forward while also having to arrive at a unanimous decision as to who will be the best choice.
Usually, unassigned role group exercises do not assign dedicated job role to each candidate but give them all a common task requiring them to work unanimously as a team to achieve an objective or arrive at a solution for a problem. Unlike assigned role group exercises wherein the candidates have to compete against each other, the unassigned role group exercises require them to work together. An example of an unassigned group exercise may be a situation wherein a recently launched product by the company has been performing poorly in terms of sales and all the participants are asked to devise a marketing strategy to help in improving the turnover generated from the product.
Candidates in an assessment centre may be administered either assigned or unassigned group exercises based on the job position in the company they are being interviewed for. As different roles require different levels of experience, the level of group exercise may also be based on the same.
Fresh graduates and recruits appearing for the assessment centres are usually administered unassigned group exercises. In this case, all the participants in the exercise are given a common briefing, making them part of a team as if they were trainees with the company. Then, they may be given a problem or work situation that may require them to find a solution to tackle the given work situation. The candidates will have to put their heads together and brainstorm to work out a solution. Some part of the given time may be available to read the briefs assigned to them while a major part of it may be allocated for coming to a solution. While they will be working on the problem, the assessors will be in the background assessing them for their skills and capabilities.
Individuals applying for managerial positions may be administered either assigned or unassigned role group exercise depending on the tasks that they will be required to perform for the specific job position.
For individuals who have applied for first-line managerial jobs, the unassigned role group exercises may contain briefs that may require them to take decision based on complications at the workplace. The problems will usually relate to the managerial roles that the participants will be fulfilling at the company if selected. All the participants have to work together as a team, analyze the given briefs, lay forward their deductions and arrive at a unanimous solution. They may also be asked to present their solution at the end of the exercise to the assessors.
Candidates who are appearing for the position of first-line managers can also be administered an assigned role group exercise if needed. All the participants in the exercise will be provided with their distinct briefs or dossiers. The subject of all the dossiers may be the same but with a few distinct details. For example, all the participants may be assigned the position of managers in the production department of a car manufacturing company and each of them may be asked to represent a distinct car model. In such a scenario, each participant may push forward their own respective product by comparing it to the product being proposed by other participants and evaluating them on various parameters that may include feasibility, market demand, expenditure incurred and revenue generated.
For selecting the right candidates for the executive and top-level job positions, some companies make use of assigned role group exercises. Just like the managerial positions, the candidates are given a distinct dossier and each of them may have to advocate the agenda assigned to them. The role that they will be playing or the decision that they will be required to take will be of significance and will have a major influence on the organization. These will generally include decisions that might be taken by a board of directors. Every candidate may have to compete for the agenda given in their briefs and may try to impress upon other participants for their own cause.
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