Group assessments are likely to come up when you are attending an assessment day, and are often the thing that students worry about the most.

However, they are not as scary as they sound. In this article we are going to look at what a group assessment might involve, and how to succeed.

What are group assessments?

Group assessments are usually conducted with three to six people in a group, though some firms may put you in larger groups, depending on their process and also how many people are attending the assessment day.

There are often assessors in the room who tend to make notes on what people say within the group, rather than assessing them there and then.

In these situations, it is not advisable to ask advice from the assessors. You should greet them, but do not interact with them any further than this.

Some firms, however, opt to have the assessors absent from the room. Instead, you will be filmed and assessed in a separate room. This form of assessment is often preferred by students as they tend to feel more relaxed and often forget they are being assessed.

However, be wary of this, there is a risk of you becoming too relaxed, so always keep it in the back of your mind that you are being filmed.

Don’t worry about being filmed unknowingly, you will always be told about the cameras – there are no secrets! It is all very open and geared towards helping the prospective employees perform to the best of their abilities.

What tasks will I be asked to perform?

The content of the group assessments vary. They range from the directly relevant to the not relevant at all.

For example, you may be asked to read through some documents and prepare a presentation on those documents. The idea of this task is to simulate a real working environment where you would have lots of information available and limited time to prepare, so assessors are looking at not only teamwork but also the ability to process lots of information in a short space of time.

Another example could be asking to solve a business solution. Roles are assigned, such as the finance director, HR director etc., and as a ‘leadership board’ graduates must decide their corporate strategy. Examples often relate to hot topics in the industry, such as a new regulation or something happening in the wider public sphere that may have an impact on the industry.

Subjects such as these are given to encourage teamwork, discussion and debate.

The less obvious relevant examples could include making a structure out of straw or a paper chain. These tasks may appear trivial as they seemingly have no relevance to the job you are applying for. However, these tasks are set to see how people organise themselves, communicate, hit the deadline and work together whilst needing no technical knowledge to complete the task.

What are recruiters looking for in group assessments?

Recruiters are looking for lots of things during a group assessment, but they are mainly looking for team work and communication skills, though they will also look for business acumen, problem solving and drive.

It is key to strike a balance in showing these skills in the session. Assessors do not always necessarily look to employ the leader, as long as you show drive, problem solving and communication skills. It is important to also add creative and constructive ideas to this. Other desired qualities are negotiation skills and proof that you can work in a group by combining to complete the task successfully.

The following are good things to say and do which may show these competencies:

Teamwork

  • ‘Does anyone have any experience of this market at all that they can bring to the team?’
  • Clarify any time constraints and team goals
  • Suggest how to structure the group to complete the task in time
  • Acknowledge the contributions of others and build on them

Communication

  • Try to get quieter group members involved. Try to do this using their names as it personalises the questions and makes them more likely to contribute
  • Clarify any points or decisions made
  • State points clearly and concisely, using evidence to back up those points
  • Defend your ideas, but also be flexible and willing to accept when others put good arguments forward
  • Don’t dominate the conversation
  • Be tactful and respectful when challenging suggestions
  • Talk and engage 0 if you don’t contribute very much or cannot be heard you cannot score well

Problem Solving

  • Identify the problem/factors and try to think of wider implications
  • Take reasonable logical steps to resolve the issue
  • Use evidence to validate your arguments and solutions
  • Ensure the chosen solution is practical

Hopefully you now have a better idea of what a group assessment is, why recruiters like to use them and some top tips on how to succeed. The most important thing is to be yourself and let your skills show so the assessors can see what a great candidate you are. Good luck!

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