Assessment Centre Exercises

Along with establishing a candidate's mental aptitude and personality fit for the job, many recruiters seek to create work simulations through exercises when assessing candidates. There are numerous exercises that form part of the more personal human interaction assessment, including interviews, group exercises, role playing and/or simulation real life office tests and projects like presentations and case studies.  Assessment Centre Exercises

E-tray/In-tray Exercises

Scenario: During the e-tray exercise, a candidate is placed into the position of an employee, many times occupying the position they are applying to.

Task: As an employee, the candidate needs to sort through a group of resources that make up their “in-box”, be it virtual or material, and make sure to prioritise the most important tasks to be dealt with first while assigning tasks to a later date or another person. All of the materials and information needed to complete the task are provided during the exercise. The candidate's task is to use the resources and your organizational and management skills in order to organize the “in-box”.

Please note that the E-tray scenario is the online version of the In-tray exercise. This exercise can come at many different job levels, from graduates to senior management, as the skills involved are always crucial for employees.

Case Study Practice


Once again, the candidate must put themselves into the mind of an employee, often occupying the role they are applying for. The candidate is given an assignment to complete in this role.


Using information provided through case study material (sometimes real and sometimes false) the candidates, acting as an actual employee, must make certain job-related decisions based on that information.

Further Tasks

Once the case study has been read and understood, the candidate can be asked to use the information
to create any of the following:
  • a business plan
  • a presentation
  • take part in a panel interview
  • a written report
Case studies are real life practical scenarios that a company could ask a candidate to execute, as a way to see how he/she handles a real work project. Case study practice can be done by doing practice samples as well as training over Skype as well. For more information on case study interviews, visit our dedicated page. Find information on case studies here.


This is a core skill in many walks of life. Interpersonal skills and the ability to give over information in a clear yet concise manner are often tested by being asked to create a presentation on a certain topic (can form part of a case study). Being aware of confident body language, delivery methods and audience engagement (and perhaps participation) are all crucial factors in delivering a great presentation. Using technology here, such as powerpoint or videos, is often a good idea. This not only shows versatility but also can make these assignments more dynamic and interactive. Practising public speaking whether in front of a few family members, friends, or in front of sizable crowds is a good way to gain confidence in this regard. Find information on presentations here.


Interviews are often the final stage of the recruitment process. When deciding if a candidate is right for the job, recruiters factor in results from psychometric testing, performance in exercise and the impression received from the interview, each weighted equally. Just like tests and exercises, different companies and roles use different types of interviews to meet their needs, such as strength based interviews, competency based interviews and case interviews. For information, check out our guide to interviews.

Role Play

While many of the exercise mentioned above require a role play element to them, some candidates may find themselves
in a scenario where they are required to play a part.


These role play scenarios often assign candidates with not only a job but a specific position, situation and attitude. The situation can be a board meeting or a one-to-one meeting with another employee or subordinate. In this last type, the applicant usually takes the role of the one giving feedback or counsel to his/her colleague.


The candidate needs to complete the role play, making judgments based on the responses of the other people. These other people may be fellow applicants playing a role or they may be hired actors. No matter who you are facing, remaining calm and confident throughout is crucial. Following the exercise, the employer may ask the group of applicants to critique each other, citing good points and things that could be improved upon. In an extreme case, the employer may ask for your opinion of who should be eliminated from the group. Whilst one is competing with the other applicants, one must be careful to remain polite at all times, and never make things personal in a negative way. Visit our role play page for more details.

Group Exercise

The major focus of group exercises is both initiative and team working skills. In this vein, the scenario of the exercise is not necessarily related to the role the candidate is applying to. An example of a non-work related scenario is the desert island game where candidates need to decide together the most crucial items to keep for survival after a shipwreck (this scenario varies, but the basic idea is always the same).

In work-related scenarios, candidates can be asked to complete a case study together or another task which involves teamwork in the job they are applying to. The important thing is not so much whether one achieved the correct answer but that effective teamwork was used throughout. Remember the interviewers are watching and observing your social interaction and communication skills. For more information about group exercises, visit our group exercise page.

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