A group exercise can be either:
- a group role-play, where instead of one role-player involved in the interaction with you there will be two or three actors in character.
- a discussion between a group of up to 8 candidates who are all given the same brief and who have to resolve issues, analyse data, debate a topic or plan actions together.
In both scenarios you will be given the relevant information you need to plan your response and prepare for the interaction. In both situations you will need to adapt to whatever topics and perspectives arise during the discussion. The difference with the role-play version is that the assessors and actors will know which direction the scenario is likely to take, whereas a group discussion format is more fluid and outcomes less predictable.
In both types of exercise you will need to recognise your objectives, and work with the group to achieve them. It’s a common preconception that a group exercise will always be interested in seeing how you lead a group of other individuals. This is not necessarily the case, sometimes it can be about how you work in conjunction with them rather than taking a leadership role.
- you are a member of a partnership forum and you need to agree priorities for the next few months
- two of your team are having difficulties working together on a project and you need to work with them to reach agreement
- A new policy has just been implemented. You need to identify the priorities and plan how to implement these
- There are four options of community projects you need to decide between to allocate funds.
What will be assessed
Assessors will observe the way you all interact with each other and how you tackle the discussion or objectives. They will evaluate your performance against set criteria to get an impression of how you might tend to work within a team.
It’s important to contribute in these situations; you can’t be assessed if you don’t say anything! Its not just about what you say but also how you come across. It is useful to consider how others perceive your personal style in advance if you can gain feedback on this.
These types of exercise can assess a range of your abilities, including:
- listening to others
- appropriate questioning
- evaluating data
- reasoning with others
- explaining your perspective
- suggesting ideas
- supporting the ideas of others
- encouraging contributions
- being sensitive to dynamics
- recognising priorities
- managing time
- asserting yourself
- standing your ground
- accepting other views
- meeting challenge
- Technical assessment
- Ability tests
- SJT/ MJT
Next Page: Presentation Exercise
Some FRS are starting to use presentations as part of their promotion assessment process. The format of these isn’t standardised i.e. there wasn’t a presentation exercise….