In general terms, a role play exercise is used to assess your “fit” to the job at hand, by simulating real life situations, in which either the assessors at the assessment centre or hired actors take part in the simulation.
There are many different types of role play exercises and these are tailored to specific jobs. They can be used in a group setting, a presentation or in the most common use where a candidate is asked to take a specific role. By putting yourself in the shoes of that person, by becoming that employee, you will be showing the assessors how you will react to different situations and how you go about completing different tasks.
For first line managerial positions in the typical role play scenario you will be asked to play the position of someone very similar to what you would expect on the job itself. For example, you are asked to play the part of a store manager for a branch at a high street shop. You will have to meet one of your workers who is having problems in their work ethic and quality. These issues include: lack of attention to detail, not following company procedures and not optimising sales performance. You have to give this worker correct feedback explaining where they are going wrong whilst at the same time motivating them to do the job in the manner more required. You will be given a brief with all the information needed to answer any questions and comments that may come up. This exercise usually lasts for 30 minutes.
These role play exercises are geared to the highest level of managers. For example, you will be asked to take the position of a national sales manager working for a large travel company. You have to meet one of your regional managers, someone who will actually be an assessor, who is having difficulties with some of the staff under their direction. You have to show that you can give advice on moulding the team together in order to develop it to be of a higher standard. This role play simulates a meeting where you, as the senior manager have to coach and coax a subordinate manager to achieve the best they can. Although you are given a brief which you will need to refer to as it contains valuable facts and figures that you will need to bring up, the main part of the exercise is to show how you deal interpersonally with the assessor.
The cabin crew role play scenarios are quite varied as they reflect the particular job on hand. People in this job often get asked some very varied questions and as such the role play exercises are diverse as well.
For example, you may be given the scenario where you are working in a restaurant and you spill sauce over a customer, what do you do? Another example is that you are working in a hotel and the guests have arrived but their room isn’t ready yet. How do you cope with this situation?
There is a difference in this role play than in others in the fact that for these role plays you are not given a plethora of information to use in your discussion, you have to rely on your own skill and awareness of how to deal with an irate customer.
An example of this role is the following: A shop-owner has been caught distributing leaflets without a permit to do so and comes complaining to you. You will be playing the role of a police officer in charge of the security team who has stopped the shop-owner from doing so. He is very irate complaining that he has been running this shop for years without any trouble and now the security officers are giving him a hard time. You need to explain to him that it is indeed against the law to distribute this material at this time and place. This needs to be done in a sensitive and calm manner, keeping the shop-owners trust whilst at the same time not giving into his demands. Learn more about Police assessment centre.
We have seen that there are various different assessment centre role play exercises and each one is tailored to the position you are applying for. The goal of these role play exercises is to see how perform in the role you have applied for with particular emphasis on your demeanour throughout the exercise. Each company has different values and these are often the benchmark by which you are judged. In order to do well in an assessment centre role play exercise, you need to incorporate these values into your performance.