If you’ve just been invited to complete an Assessment Centre for the grad programs you’ve applied for, chances are you’ll have to do a group-based activity as a part of your day. We already have a complete guide on how you can best prepare for grad assessment centres, but in this blog as we offer specific tips and tricks on how to ace the infamous group task!
You could be asked to do a range of tasks for the group exercise – sounds daunting but that’s what keeps things exciting! Generally, the main types include:
- Discussion of a general topic/current affairs issue e.g. A tsunami has just hit Thailand. What should the government response be to ensure everyone has the best access to emergency aid?
- Solving a work-related problem/case study e.g. [Company Name] is trying to decide between investing in two upcoming projects. One is high risk and potentially high reward, one is substantially lower risk but also lower reward. Which one would you choose to pursue and why?
- Complete a team-building activity e.g. Build the highest possible tower out of straws
No ‘Right’ Answer
Remember that the primary purpose of the group task is to assess your behaviour and ability to work in a team environment. So, while it may be tempting to focus on the solution of the problem at hand, it’s important to balance this with how you’re managing your communication, contribution and leadership. We’re not saying that you can’t offer up your ground-breaking business idea, but there often isn’t a singular ‘right’ answer to your problem! In fact, employers don’t expect you to have that higher level of company knowledge yet – they care more about the process and how you go about solving the issue.
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of any group task or interview is balancing your assertiveness and leadership in the group without being overly dominant. Essentially – don't talk too much, but don’t talk too little! Some things you can do to demonstrate your proactivity include:
- Offering to set up a shared document or presentation
- Offering to be the designated speaker or scribe
And, most importantly, don’t forget to show your support for your fellow teammates:
- Show that you value everyone’s ideas – jot down notes as each person speaks and try to incorporate something from everyone in the final solution when presenting!
- Be inclusive – bring someone in who you notice may not be speaking up as much
- Address each person by their name – it’s not only immediately more personable but shows you’ve been paying attention!
Presenting the Pieces
The same rules for all your presentations apply here – make sure you have a clear structure, make good use of your hand gestures, maintain eye contact and project confidently with a varied tone of voice to impress your audience! For more on top presenting skills, check out our blog here.
Overall, it’s in the best interest of your entire group to support each other so you all do well and have the best chances of making it through to the next stage in the recruitment process. Don't view it as a competition, but a chance to network and meet new friends!