Preparing for Interview Exercises

Many organizations incorporate practical exercises into their management assessment process. These enable potential employers to see how you behave when you are asked to perform some of the tasks required by the role in various situations. They are designed to show:

• How you approach a scenario
• How you react to problems
• How you relate to others

Interview exercises

Whether you are seeking a position in a commercial, nonprofit, or educational organization the successful candidate will be able to show:

• The desired role competencies
• At the level appropriate to the role
• In their actions and words

Your success in these exercises will depend on your ability to display the 'right' behaviors and use language that reflects the ethos of the organization.

The development of your competencies is a continuous process and taking the time to regularly check how they compare to your desired role is paramount if you want to succeed. This comparison of how well your current competencies match those required in the role should be an essential part of your preparation for an interview or internal promotion.

It is important to keep your mind focused on the fact that each exercise you perform is designed to determine how well you demonstrate the required competencies of that specific role. This often means being able to act appropriately at the 'next level up' from your current management level.

Our Management Interview Exercises eBook describes how competencies and their associated behaviors relate to the management exercises used in selection. If you would like more in-depth information on what competencies are and how they are measured then download our free eBook 'Developing Competencies'.

The most common management exercises can be grouped under the following five headings and are recognized as the most effective for assessing competencies and their associated behaviors.

Interview exercises for management level jobs

In-Tray Exercise (can include a justification element)
Role Play Exercise
Group Exercises: Critical Incident, Organizational Issue, Problem Solving and Simulation, Written Output
Media Interview Exercise
Presentation Exercise: Flip-chart, Group Exercise, Impromptu, Prepared, Verbal Career

Frequently you will encounter an exercise that combines several of these elements into one. For example, a critical incident may incorporate a media interview. Many exercises use 'real-life' scenarios that are designed to test an individual's ability to adjust to the different situations that they are likely to encounter in the role.

Interview exercises and competencies

These exercises will be your only opportunity to 'show' a prospective employer that you are able to behave appropriately in the role.

Prior to each exercise, you will be given instructions describing the exercise, your role, timeframes, equipment, etc. You will not be told in detail about the individual indicators that will be measured. During each exercise, a group of observers will rate you on a range of set indicators, using a prescribed performance scale.

Results are then cross-compared against the same indicators, which are measured in other exercises. Following exercise completion, observers meet to discuss the test results and reach a group consensus about your ratings.

You may also be interested in:
Preparing for Interview Exercises | In-Tray or In-Basket Exercise | Role Play Exercise | Group Exercise | Presentation Exercise | Handling the Media Exercise.

Key Points

  • Interview exercises allow potential employers to see how you behave when performing some of the tasks required by the role.
  • Your success will depend on your ability to display behaviors that reflect the competencies required by the organization.
  • If the job represents a promotion then you may need to show competencies at the 'next level up' from your current level.
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