In tray exercise design
In-trays simulate the (administrative) day-to-day issues someone in the assessed role would face. The candidate must offer solutions for as many items as possible, a typical in tray will instruct the candidate to prioritise the full set of issues and their associated actions.
In Tray Design – Pros and Cons
- Tricky to develop
- Take 2-3 times the time of other assessment exercises to develop
- Require a mixture of job-relevant items to be supplied by 1-2 job incumbents
- High face validity with a cross-section of role-specific issued raised
- Provides some timetable flexibility, since in trays exercises can be scheduled for individual candidates to complete, or with two or more at a time
- Can assess a range of different job specific competencies, particularly organisational and quality-focused competencies. For example:
- Problem analysis and solving skills
- Time management and prioritisation
- Delegation skills and decisiveness
- Concern for quality and equality
- Concern for customers
- Leadership style and motivational skills
- Skill in the officer/Member interface
- Performance management
- Technical knowledge
- Coalition or partnership building skills
- Written communication
- Planning and organising
- Strategic thinking and breadth
Checklist for Designing the In-tray Exercise
- Have clear assessment criteria
- Each item must be based on an existing work related issue.
- Clear and concise candidate instructions are required. Here are the key points to highlight in the in tray instructions:
- Candidate’s assumed name for the purpose of the exercise (the addressee on all correspondence);
- Candidate’s assumed job title (usually the job being applied for);
- An explanation of the contents of the in tray exercise (as consisting of memoranda, letters, reports, e-mails and other documents).
- The specific time and date, i.e. the in tray exercise context.
- Group exercises typically involve a group of four to six candidates given a group or individual exercise briefs.