Learn About SHL's In-Tray Exercises

Are you expecting to take an SHL In-Tray exercise? This exercise normally takes place at the assessment centre but in some situations will be given over the internet. In this article we will explain about the different types of SHL In-Tray exercise you can receive as well as some tips to help you overcome them in the best possible way.
In-Tray Practice

Practice in-tray and e-tray concepts online. Learn about tasks prioritization and decision making.

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The CEB's SHL In-Tray exercise simulates an office environment where you will receive many different emails relating to myriad tasks that you need to take care of. In addition, there will be memos and reports to read through and respond. Thus, your time management skills are put to the test during this exercise. Additionally, as there are many different tasks that need to be done during the In-Tray exercise, your ability to multitask will also be scrutinised.

There are three separate levels of SHL In-Tray exercises:

  • The first level is for administrative staff such as secretarial and clerical staff, call centre staff, and frontline customer service roles.
  • The second level is aimed at the first line manager type roles, namely new or junior managers, or managers with only a small amount of people management experience.
  • The last level tested in the SHL In-Tray exercise is for middle managers, those with more experience than first line managers.

Level 1 Administrative Staff

The SHL In-Tray exercises in this section; Clockwork Events and SmartClothing, are both 75 minutes in length and are based on a template that requires you to attend to an inbox of your predecessor. There are a number of different activities that you will need to complete within the time limit. For example, you are taking acting the place of a newly appointed office assistant at a large online clothing retailer. You will be expected to do the following tasks:

  • Some proof reading
  • Some simple maths
  • Meetings to arrange
  • Write some emails responding to enquiries and complaints
  • Diary to schedule

Level 2: First Line Managers

There are two different possibilities time wise with these In-Tray exercises with some taking 45 minutes (Manzi-Westbarton and Manzi-Portland) and others taking 90 minutes (Aniko Passel Beech Valley In-Tray) to complete. In these exercises you are to take the role of store, depot, or service manager and have to quickly catch up on your predecessor’s activities. You will have to work your way through the In-Tray and decide on the course of action you want to take in the following activities:

  • Dealing with requests for sickness absence
  • The launch of a new product
  • Dealing with staff morale
  • Declining sales figures
  • Dealing with a report from a mystery shopper
  • Finding out what happened to a missing consignment
  • Dealing with the results of a customer survey
  • Dealing with a request for some careers advice

Level 3: Middle Managers

In these scenarios you are given the position of Operations Manager in a delivery service, either in the form of rail operator (Gold Coast Rail) or in the guise of a parcel delivery manager (Passel In-Tray). In this task you will not only need to make decisions but they will need to be made with a correct analysis taking in all the different alternatives and coming to a reasoned decision. The different tasks you will face include:

  • A cost-benefit analysis of the different safety changes
  • Poor customer service
  • Poor employee engagement
  • Poor employee behaviour
  • Resourcing shortages
  • Training needs
  • Budget considerations
  • Preparing the above for a board meeting

All of these activities and decisions will need to be made within the 90-100 minute timeframe given.

In conclusion

All the SHL In-Tray exercises have some things in common with each other. First of all, you will need to make reasoned decisions and suggestions for every decision that you make. Moreover, these decisions need to be made in a very short space of time and therefore you will need to be calm under pressure.

Here at JobTestPrep, we have a practise pack available along with a full explanatory guide dealing with how to approach an In-Tray exercise giving you tips and help with the goal of helping you achieve the best possible result.

With our help and guidance we are sure that you will be able to perform your best in your next job application. Looking forward to hearing your positive reply after using our products. Good luck!

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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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