Assessment Centre Exercise Design

Firstly, we offer assessment centre exercise design services.

Secondly, we are researching virtual assessment centres. One of our partners is Pinsight®.

The Pinsight® virtual assessment centre evaluates the competencies needed to execute specific business strategies, predicts when leaders will be ready to execute those strategies, facilitates continuous development, and tracks the improvement of abilities in real-time. Pinsight® enables all organizations to hire, promote, and develop leaders in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

Free Assessment Centre Exercise Resources

Thirdly, we hope you enjoy using our assessment centre practice resources. All for free!

In-tray Exercises

Competency-based Interviews and Interview Guide Design

Development Centres

Assessment Centre Exercise Practice Tips

Read the instructions to each exercise very carefully.

Always watch the time available for each exercise.

So focus on how important each issue is to the organisation and which actions you should do first, last etc.

Another competency commonly assessed by in-trays is creative thinking. you therefore need to have a few innovative ideas. Even if you are not recommending pursuing these, put each creative idea down, then assess its pros and cons.

It helps to get to grips with the main issues if you skim read your in-tray brief initially. This will help you to remember how the main issues have been linked together in the different sections of your brief.Assessment Tips – Group Exercise

Always aim to put your views forward whilst being fair to your fellow candidates.

Proactively try to involve the rest of the group. ask for their individual comments if necessary.

It’s important to build support for your ideas. This requires you to generate some rapport with other individuals.

Seek to provide direction for the group’s efforts.

Remember that everyone will be feeling nervous.

Keep a steady pace and try not to let your nervousness show.

It’s important that you project your voice and speak calmly and confidently throughout.

Group exercise tips

We hope you enjoy our free group exercise tips.

  • Such group exercises are a common feature of graduate assessment centres and sometimes of managerial development centres.
  • Group exercises typically involve a group of four to six candidates given a group or individual exercise briefs.

Group exercise preparation

A group exercise occurs whilst assessors located around the room note what individuals are saying and how they are reacting to the group dynamics. Specifically the assessors are considering how the individuals meet competency areas of behaviour.

The most popular application is graduate Assessment Centres. Group exercises are inappropriate within day-to-day selection contexts. Since all candidates must be available at the same time, a group exercise does not fit within a normal interview schedule that’s set-up for staggered candidate arrivals.

Group exercise competencies

The observable competencies can vary quite considerably, including:

  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Managing Others
  • Team working
  • Planning and Organising
  • Verbal Communication
  • Influencing skills
  • Social Confidence
  • Adaptability, Flexibility
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Creative / innovative thinking
  • Leadership
  • Motivating Others
  • Project management

Defamiliarization assessment centres

In our opinion, these use defamiliarisation exercises to take candidates out of their comfort zones to really test their abilities. The only true way to assess someone’s natural capabilities is to take them out of their comfort zone . These cannot be prepared for since there is no obvious right or wrong approach. Candidates must rely on their natural strengths and innate abilities.

Virtual assessment centres

It’s important for graduate applicants to demonstrate they can collaborate across country borders. Online, “virtual” assessment centres provide a realistic job preview of team working in a digital age. Efficient virtual assessment centres are becoming increasingly popular.

Flash Mob assessment centres

In our opinion, most University campuses have careers fairs in which graduate employers can attract final year students. The term “flash mob” is applied to such assessment events.

Assessment Centre Exercise Practice Tips

Our advice is to follow these assessment centre tips:

  • Firstly, ask yourself as you read the instructions:
    1.  What are the key things I’m asked to do?
    2. How can I demonstrate that I have the right skillset?
    3. What should I avoid doing?
  • Also, don’t ask for any hints or assessment centre tips of that nature.
  • Thirdly, don’t skim read any of the Instructions.
  • Plus, work calmly and steadily through each exercise.
  • Also, do not spend too long on a single part of each exercise.
  • Finally, keep a positive attitude..

Assessment Exercise design projects

  • Group exercise design for a financial services regulator as a Mendas associate (winner of the Association of Graduate Recruiters 2008 award for the Best Graduate Recruitment Scheme, as shown on the OnRec website)
  • Designing a full set of assessment centre exercises for a police constabulary: competency-based interview design, written exercise design, presentation design, assigned group exercise design, unassigned group exercise design (police sector)
  • Role play design and in-tray exercise designs for education
  • Role play and written exercise design (business consultancy organisation)
  • Graduate assessment exercise design and delivery (role plays, competency-based interviews, group exercises)

Assessment Centre Feedback

Receiving assessment centre feedback is a key learning opportunity for you. Firstly, you should always accept this gratefully. Secondly, stay engaged in the process.

Finally do not do any of these: criticise any exercise; compare your performance with the other candidates; or assume that the feedback is your opportunity to improve the overcome.

Psychometric Profile Interpretation

Remember, the following points about your personality profile: an overview is always given.

Firstly, an overview is useful. Secondly, a personality test measures your behavioural preferences. How you typically behave. Finally, may think of instances when you behaved differently to a particular personality trait. That’s fine. It’s how you typicallybehaviour that the personality test profile shows.

Development centres

Development centres use the full range of assessment exercises (role plays, in-trays, written exercises, psychometric tests etc) to highlight managers’ development areas, or to select internal candidates for specialised training.

Best practice in development centre design and application

  • As with the best practice for an assessment centre, there is a need for objectivity, reliability, validity and fairness. However the ethos is different, with effective feedback underpinning the key priority of exploring each participant’s areas of personal development.
  • Feedback is a key part of any development centre.

The reliability of any exercise depends upon many factors:

  • Quality of the competency framework.
  • Use of experienced and well-briefed / well-trained assessors.
  • Relevance of the exercise brief to the role being assessed.

Assessment Centre History

Assessment centres have a well-proven track record for recruiting new employees and selecting existing staff for promotion. Research supports their use as one of the most valid and fair processes available to occupational psychologists – if used in accordance with best practice.

An assessment centre involves written exercise, intray exercise, presentation exercise, role play, and / or a group exercise. Group exercises and presentation exercises are particularly popular for graduate assessment centres.

Assessment Centre Fairness

Assessment centres can, therefore:

  1. improve the quality and quantity of information on which to base the selection decision
  2. allow candidates to demonstrate how they meet requirements, rather than relying on self-report and performance at interview.

The most effective way of predicting job performance is to use a mix of assessment methods and look at the results in an integrated way to build up a picture of the candidate.

The most complex being a full Assessment Centre using a range of tests and exercises. In our opinion, assessment centres have the best ROI for graduate and for managerial positions.

We believe it is less appropriate to use a battery of assessment techniques for jobs requiring basic level skills. Rather than enhancing the outcome, this could put potential applicants off.

Assessment centre validation

Rob Williams Assessment Ltd have considerable experience in assessing validity. This is a one of the key final stages in any psychometric test design.

Many of the UK’s and US’s leading test publishers have used Rob Williams Assessment’s to assist with ensuring such psychometric properties as reliability and validity.

Aptitude test practice books

Rob Williams’s five practice aptitude tests books are all available on Amazon:

Firstly, in our opinion this is the best aptitude test practice book for Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests.


Secondly, in our opinion this is the best aptitude test practice book forPassing Numerical Reasoning Tests.

Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests gif

Practice Toolkit

Aptitude test practice  ~  Practice Assessment  ~  Abstract reasoning test tips  ~  Abstract reasoning test practice  ~  Spatial Reasoning Practice  ~  Free UKCAT practice  ~  LNAT Practice Tips  ~  Abstract Reasoning Tips

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