Detailed Preparation for a Management Assessment

The following example works through the type of information you would receive inviting you to take part in a management assessment and how the information it contains can be used. This example includes a:
• Letter
• Agenda
• Role Specification

Using these three items you can identify key characteristics about the assessment. They also direct you to ask specific questions to help you prepare.


From the letter above you can see the following key facts that will prompt you to ask yourself certain questions that will affect your preparation:

The management assessment starts early on a Monday morning. You'll need to arrive at 7.30am so that you have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the location layout. Depending how long it'll take you to get to the hotel you may want:
- To book an overnight stay so that you arrive fresh and avoid the morning rush hour.

You are told lunch is included so if you have any special dietary needs you must include this in your confirmation email.

You are asked to give a presentation (the topic has been set) as part of the assessment. You need to decide:
- Which of the facilities offered do you want to use?
- How many individuals are likely to be on the panel and what are their backgrounds?
- Do you feel a handout would be appropriate?

Ensure that you only use 12 of your allocated 20 minutes to present your perfect project because you have been asked to include an 8-minute Q&A session.
- Decide how best to handle questions asked during the 12-minute presentation and how you'll record them.

Knowledge of the background of each person on the panel is essential because this will dictate the level of technical detail you use and the focus of your messages.
- Does the panel consist of internal and external people?
- Is the panel made up solely of technical or management individuals? Or is it mixed?
- How do you want to handle the Q&A session? Do you want to use the flip chart or white board to record the questions?

With only 8 minutes for the Q&A session and a panel of people who can asks questions you must prepare carefully to ensure your behavior matches that of someone in the role. Don't forget to plan for what you will do if there are no questions, because the assessors may want to see how you respond to this situation!

Looking at the agenda you can recognize certain factors that are key to your assessment:


The day is full on with only three opportunities for breaks and before lunch you have three different exercises.
- To ensure that you perform at your best throughout the day you may want to take a bottle of water and a few energy bars.

The role play is the second exercise you will be asked to undertake. Using the job specification you will be able to discern the ranking they give to your responsibilities and qualities they require in the person.
- Are contractual issues, customer relations, or a problem with the project team most likely to be the scenario?

The second exercise has a 15-minute justification at the end giving you the opportunity to explain your reasoning. This is something that is most often associated with In-tray exercises.
- Decide on the best way to identify key items that you may want to use in your justification.

The first break provides you with an opportunity to people-watch the rest of the group prior to the group exercise.

The group exercise takes place in the dance studio. There is also a 15-minute period at the beginning of the time allocation - this could indicate that time has been allowed for you to change clothes.
- You need to ask Ann Dale if casual clothes are needed. A suit is not ideal for building a human tower in!
- This also gives you the opportunity to ask what the dress code for the day is so that you are dressed appropriately.

An hour and a half has been allocated to lunch so be aware that you are likely to be observed during this time. Ensure your behaviors match those of the role at all times.

Your interview is the last exercise and you will need to ensure that you have easy access to your portfolio so that you can give examples of your achievements and competencies.

Use the last break to prepare yourself for the feedback session. Be prepared to tell the assessors your impression of the day. Be honest but diplomatic if this is asked before you know whether or not you have been successful.

If you haven't already taken a personality test or aptitude tests they could be the remaining exercises. To learn more about different types of interview exercises you may encounter in a management assessment refer to our free eBook 'Management Interview Exercises'.

One of the most useful documents you can analyze is the role specification because this gives you the best indication of the competencies and behaviors that are expected of someone performing the role. This example has four sections that you must read carefully to determine these items.


Position section tells you that knowledge of commercial and government contracts is required. Whilst based at Mountford you work closely with four other teams and sites. Experience of multi-site operations and matrix management would be desirable.

Experience section asks for international and national project experience. You must be familiar with managing multi-disciplined teams and budgets of several millions.

Responsibilities & Personal sections provide a ranked list of their requirements helping you to prioritize the role's competencies within the common framework.

In addition to those requirements you also need to ensure that your preparation clearly indicates that you have a comprehensive knowledge of competitors and the market the organization operates in.

You may also be interested in:
Management Assessment | Assessment Exercises and Format | What Assessors are Looking For | Initial Preparation for a Management Assessment | Detailed Preparation for a Management Assessment | Professional Development and Assessment.

Key Points

  • Use the invite letter, agenda, and role specification to work out what you will be expected to do on the day.
  • There are several eBooks available on this website that can help you with aptitude tests, personality questionnaires, interview exercises, and competency-based interviews.
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