Assessment days are a useful way for organisations to narrow their applicants down to find the most suitable candidates. The day will typically consist of assessments by means of interviews, presentations, group exercises, written exams and role plays. When it comes to preparing for a one to one interview, the preparation and research you do is left largely up to you. This means that you are mostly in charge of how you deliver and present yourself in the interview. When it comes to group exercises however, it is a different matter.
Group exercises are the toughest part of an assessment day because one depends on the behaviour of others. This gives candidates the opportunity to show the employer that they are good team players and are capable of working effectively with others. Although group tasks seem challenging at first, using a few useful techniques can go a long way in helping you to relax and perform to the best of your ability.
To begin with, introduce yourself to the other members of your group. Listen carefully to their names and be sure to use these throughout the task as a matter of being courteous but also to demonstrate to the employer that you pay attention to detail and are sensitive to other members of the group.
There is a general misunderstanding that to stand out in a group task means to dominate it. This is not the case. Employers will not be keen on a bossy, dominant candidate who does not give others the chance to speak since this does not demonstrate that they are capable of working well within a team. Remember that the employer is looking for a candidate who they would like to work with. Instead of dominating the group, be assertive and get your point across. Do not sit back and wait for your turn; it may never come!
Think carefully about the task your group is given and do not be afraid to add something a bit different to the debate. Employers are looking for an individual who is able to bring something new to the company and will notice a candidate who thinks outside of the box. Sometimes it might be the case that specific roles are available to candidates during the group task. Always volunteer for these and be prepared to lead the group if there is an opportunity to do so. Be careful however as if the group were to fail to complete the task in the allotted time, your leadership skills may be questioned.
It may seem hard not to be competitive but try to support other members of your team by listening to them and praising someone for a good point they make. Remember that group tasks are essentially a way for employers to pick out candidates who are able to work well within a group.
Most importantly, be sure to smile and be yourself.