Assessment centre tips for problem solving group exercises

young professional group assessment problem solving exercise

Find out how to handle group assessment problem solving exercises with flair. Be the candidate recruiters are looking for!

These days, job interviews for multiple vacancies (like apprenticeships) often take place in small groups at assessment centres. How do you shine in their group problem solving exercises?

  • Your problem: You want to do well in group assessment exercises
  • Your solution: Check out the tips below!

When you attend a group assessment for a job or opportunity, you’ll often get asked to take part in a group exercise. This exercise is often run on a theme of a work-based problem that needs a solution.

You won’t know the problem in advance, but there are certain ways to tackle that problem and help you shine as a candidate!

What kind of group exercises might you get at an assessment centre?

They can usually be broken down into three types:

1. ‘Getting to know you’

You might get a group exercise to help break the ice and get to know each other as candidates. You will probably get asked to do something fun and quite relaxed that involves team building, like building a tower out of newspapers or making a box that will keep an egg safe if it’s dropped on the ground.

2. Discussion

You might get asked to have a kind of conference or discussion as a group about a work issue, putting the world to rights like a mini United Nations. You might all get asked to lead the discussion in turn, or there might be no leader in the discussion.

3. Role play

We don’t mean dressing up as Wolverine or Sailor Moon at comic and cosplay conventions. You might get briefed to play a certain kind of character – basically yourself, but in a certain work situation. Then you’ll get to act out a work situation together, either with each other or with an assessor.

Assessment group exercises all involve problem solving, as you can see. They also involve other Young Professional skills like communication, teamwork, self-belief and self-management.

In a group exercise, it’s not just about figuring out a problem. It’s about how you figure out a problem, especially when working with others. The assessor wants to know if you have a can-do attitude, and if you can work with others.

Assessment centre group exercise tips

  • Actively contribute ideas and actions
  • Don’t criticise or interrupt others. Disagree with something and want to have your say? A polite way to do it is to say “another approach might be…”
  • Stay calm. It’s okay. This is an assessment, but it’s also fun. See the positive side.
  • Make sure you understand the brief. If you’re given something to read, read it several times. You won’t look bad if you ask questions to clear up a point – especially if they are questions where the answers might benefit the whole group!
  • Feeling like your ideas aren’t getting heard? Try getting yourself smoothly into the conversation by saying something like “I agree, and would also like to add…”
  • Aim to work quickly and with purpose. If you’re not actively doing anything, think about next steps and smart ways to find solutions to whatever problem you are giving. Solutions take thinking ahead, communicating, listening and experimenting.

Good luck! Have fun in the group assessment, do your best and stay fresh!

FINAL THOUGHTS: Don’t wear jeans to a group assessment. We just chose this photo because everyone looked nicely relaxed! If interview clothes are something you are not sure about, always go with an interview suit or smart casual…

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