Learn About SHL's Group Exercises

Are you expecting to take part in a group exercise at an upcoming assessment centre? Most of these group exercises are provided by SHL and are dedicated group exercise scenarios, which we will go through here.
Group Exercise Preparation

Online guides for the group exercise, in-tray test, and role plays + 2 online in tray tests.

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In this article we will go through the different styles and composition of the group exercise and explain how we can help you prepare for it.

It is important to note that some companies use the scenarios SHL provide for In-Tray exercise which you can find out more about on our 
SHL In-Tray page.
CEB's SHL also provide specific resources to be used in case studies and presentations. For information on those, see our page on the 
SHL Analysis exercises.

CEB's (SHL) Group Exercises

There are two types of the SHL group exercises, Unassigned role and Assigned role. In the Unassigned Role group exercise each of the candidates will be given the same brief and together as group you have to work together to reach a common goal. With regards to Assigned Role group exercises however, each person is given a different, unique brief. Sometimes known as a competitive group exercise each of the candidates has to make their case for their own personal agenda. We will explain with examples below.

There are three different streams of assessment that are used to assess different positions. They are:

Graduates –
These are used for roles where no requirement of significant organisational experience.

First Line Manager – These are used in the assessment of new or junior managers. Also used for managers with little or no experience in people management.

Executive – Used in assessing senior managers with a high amount of experience.

As each of these positions requires different skills the SHL group exercise assessments are split into three different sections. We will go into each of them below.

Level 1: Graduates (Unassigned)

For this level the participants play the role of management trainees. As a group you have to use the information given to you in the brief to come up with solutions such as how best to spend the budget. For example, in the Sceenplex group activity you as a group have to plan a film preview evening celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary. The funds generated by this evening will go to charity. It is your task to:

  • Agree on the program
  • Decide on your advertising methods
  • Work out the price of the tickets
  • Decide on the target guests.

Working within a budget and to tight timescales, you must create a plan outlining costs and deciding on a worthy charity.

Other possible SHL Group activities for this level involve working for an ethical lifestyle retailer using a recent customer survey to decide the future budget (Halbon) and working as part of Bank on the sponsorship team supporting a global charity (Ransdorf Bank Group). The exercises that you need to undertake in all of these activities are similar in nature and really just vary in terms of content. For each of these different options, you will have 15 minutes to read through your brief and 45 minutes to discuss the different possibilities and come up with solid solutions.

Level 2: First Line Managers (Unassigned)

For this level the group is to play the role of managers in a company that have to decide on a business plan to tackle certain problems. For example, in the group activity called “The Launch” you are representing a marketing team for an international pharmaceutical company. The plan is to launch a new product and you are given information concerning the company’s position in the market and where this new product falls in relation to the company’s dossier. Taking into account the following:

  • Projected sales
  • Profitability
  • Anticipated Advertising and Promotional costs

You must create a marketing plan for the new product to fit within the given budget. You are given 20 minutes for preparation followed by a 45 minute discussion which will be assessed. A further possibility is where you work for the “Legacy Group” which is an organisation that owns historical sites. You have to deal with problems including lack of diversity among visitors, selling land for retail purposes and problems in the local communities. You will be given five minutes to read through your brief, 40 minutes to discuss it and finally 10 minutes to present your findings to the assessors.

Level 2: First Line Managers (Assigned)

In the Assigned Role SHL group exercise you will work in a team of up to six candidates. You are all given the role of sales and marketing managers working for an international FMCG company. Each of the participants is given one product to represent and as a group you have to work within a budget. You are given information concerning:

  • The product
  • Sales figures
  • Market share
  • Advertising spending
  • Market information
  • Reasons why this product isn't performing well enough
  • Possible solutions

You are given 15 minutes to read through your brief after which time you will need to argue your case with the other members of the group. You will have to bear in mind that even though you are representing one specific product you also have to factor the other products into your budget.

Level 3: Executive (Assigned)

In this group exercise each of the participants plays the role of a member in a board meeting. Working for a consumer goods company, the “Glebel Group”, each participant is given a product to champion to the other group members aimed at improving business performance. The different proposals include:

  • The acquisition of a drinks brand
  • Diversification in the cakes division
  • A cost reduction initiative
  • An international marketing campaign

Each participant is given 30 minutes to read the brief following which there will be a 45 minute discussion.

Group Exercises Preparation

At JobTestPrep we offer a full preparatory service for your job application including:
  • An online preparation pack for In-tray/E-tray and group exercises, that will help you learn about prioritisation, importance vs. urgency, managerial skills and more. 
  • A live, face-to-face preparation for this exercise.

Return to the main SHL page.

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JobTestPrep is not a part of CEB or SHL and is not related to these trademarks in any way. JobTestPrep offers preparation services for psychometric tests.

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