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Assessment days with group exercise

#1 Assessment days with group exercise
19/03/2009 23:45

Newbie to assessment days

I'm new to this Assessment day thing and would be grateful for help on what they look for especially group exercises. Anyone out there who run these things or candidates have some advice?

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#2 RE: Assessment days with group exercise
20/03/2009 00:44

ABC to Newbie to assessment days (#1)

Companies look for a good performance in all exercises during the day, with a very good performance in a couple to make you stand out. They look for different things in their group exercises: almost all say they want candidates to show good ideas and communication skills without dominating the group. However some will be looking more for leadership, others more for team-working. Some are happy with lip-service to "tick the box" of consultation and team-working, but ultimately reward those who steamroller their ideas through. Others reward candidates who facilitate the discussion even if they don't bring up any original ideas in the discussion. It depends on the culture of the organisation and the type of role you're applying to.

A company engaged in a lot of outsourcing (e.g. EDS) may be going looking for someone who is capable of giving clear directive instructions to a large, not necessarily highly educated group. A company engaged in a lot of market research (e.g. Corporate Executive Board) may be looking for someone who can take on board briefing information as well as explaining their own ideas clearly.

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#3 RE: Assessment days with group exercise
20/03/2009 08:34

Cynic to ABC (#2)

All experienced consultants know how phoney these 'group exercise' things are. It's pathetic. It's like watching an episode of The Apprentice where everybody scrambles in a desperate challenge to be the leader.

My advice is: make sure you contrtibute something during the exercise, but don't stand out too much. These are invariably 'filter' activities used by HR people to pad out their week and make it look like they're doing something rigorous. Just get through the exercise and work on the interviews the most, as this is where the hiring decision is really made.

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#4 RE: Assessment days with group exercise
20/03/2009 08:59

ken to Cynic (#3)

Im still a newbie at all this but I have to disagree with Cynic. I have attended ACs, nailed the interview parts of the day and narrowly missed out due to the group exercises.

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#5 RE: Assessment days with group exercise
20/03/2009 09:46

Cynic to ken (#4)

Hi Ken, what you're saying isn't contradictory to my post... basically what I'm saying is that the 'group exercises' are merely a filter. For these, you just have to make sure you do OK and don't give HR any good reasons to take you out of the running. Sometimes people try too hard to be the 'leader' and annoy somebody in HR that then mentally marks their name off the list. I think it's best to make sure you don't do anything too contentious during the group exercises and get noticed but in a way that doesn't make you look overly competitive. Obviously however I can't comment on what happened during your own experience

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#6 RE: Assessment days with group exercise
20/03/2009 10:19

anon to Cynic (#5)

I agree with Cynic.

This exercise of assessment centre is all about making HR happy - in other words its a load of cr**p!

I fail to understand how they can judge how you will perform in your career given the situation you are in. I personally think having first, second, etc interviews and maybe a case study is sufficient (when and if you get to last interview it should be with manager and above).

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#7 RE: Assessment days with group exercise
20/03/2009 11:09

rollercoaster to anon (#6)

Hilarious! The group exercise is probably the most insighful part of assessment centres as you get to see what it would actually be like working on a project with the candidates.

Alos interesting how people can shine in interviews, tests, etc but fall down when needing to work with a team of people - something which is actually very important as a consultant.

And not assessors are HR drones.... depending on the firm they might be the people that actually would be working with you if you are sucessful.

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