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UNIT B:

INTERVIEW PREPARATION
CHAPTER 16
GET READY FOR SCIENTIFIC METHODS USED IN SELECTION

Interview Preparation
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LEARNING OBJECTIVES
After studying this chapter you should be able to:
Need to deploy psychometric and other tests for recruitment
Verbal reasoning tests
Numerical reasoning tests
In tray exercises
Group exercises Problem solving
Presentation
Interview Preparation
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Recruitment is no longer an art; it is a full grown science. If you


want to land in your cherished job, you will need to know all about
the latest recruitment techniques or scientific methods employed
by recruiters to ensure correct selection of candidates. The trend is
for you to be mailed a letter inviting you to come to the employers
premises (or an external test center hired by the organization). The
letter will say something like, There will be a few tests, an
interview and a presentation. Please arrive at 9.00 in the morning
and expect to allow three hours.
This is signal that you are in for something more than straight
forward face-to-face interview we talked about so far. You will have
to appear for some psychometric tests designed to distinguish
among the applicants and ensure better selection.
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The answer is quite simple. Employers have woken up to the fact


that recruiting the wrong people costs a great deal of money.
Further recruitment advertising is expensive, the per centimeter
rates for Situation Vacant or Wanted advertisements is usually
higher than any other type of advertising. Speaking to candidates
on the telephone, sifting through applications, and interviewing all
take up a great deal of time and someone has to be paid to do this
work.
Finally, taking someone on only to discover that the person cannot
do the job, and/or hates the job and leaves it, is not an option any
longer. It is vitally important to get it right the first time.
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That is the reason why more and more organizations are turning to
so-called scientifically proven methods to select their staff.
You are more likely to come up against psychometric testing and
other high tech methods if you apply to a large organization.
Small to medium sized enterprise (SMEs) still rely to a great extent
on the traditional interview for their recruitment decisions,
although this is undergoing a change towards use of scientific
methods.
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Psychometrics is the science of psychological assessment. It was


recognized that a few measures taken over a short period of time
were able to predict future behaviour. Psychometric tests can be
divided into two broad categories: knowledge based and person
based. Tests of ability, aptitude, attainment, competence, and
achievement are examples of the former, while tests of personality,
clinical symptoms, mood, integrity, interests, and attitude typify
the latter.
A major difference between the two is that knowledge-based tests
have right and wrong answers, while person-based tests
differentiate different types of individual.
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Within knowledge-based testing, tests of general intelligence have


largely given way to tests of specific abilities.
For example, occupational psychologists use tests of clerical
aptitude, computing skills, and numerical and verbal reasoning, all
of which assess particular abilities that have relevance to different
types of work.
There are four basic scientific principles that underpin psychometric
testing and psychometric test development. These are reliability,
validity, standardization, and bias. Reliability is the extent to which
an assessment is free from error.
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The reliability of a rating scale, for example, can be assessed by


looking at the correlation between the ratings given by two
independent raters, or the same test may be given to the same set
of individuals on two separate occasions and their scores
correlated. Reliable tests should generally have a correlation of
about 0.70 or higher.
Validity is the degree to which an assessment is able to achieve its
purpose. Thus, if the purpose of a test is to select high-performing
computer programmers for an IT company, we would need some
independent verification that those individuals who achieve high
scores on the test actually do demonstrate superior programming
skills once they are employed.
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Standardization provides the benchmark against which an


individual may be assessed and can be either criterion or norm
based. Identification and reduction of bias in assessment,
particularly in terms of gender, race, and disability, are a legal
requirement within an equal opportunities society.
The reduction of such bias is an important part of psychometric test
development, although it is often found that differences between
groups in test scores, when they occur, are a result of inequalities in
society rather than of bias in the tests themselves.
Today, psychometric testing is arguably the area of psychology that
has the widest application.
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methods used in selection

Over 70 per cent of human resource


departments in leading companies
use
psychometric
testing
for
recruitment/promotions and most of
us can expect to be tested at least
once in our working lives.

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Despite the name, verbal reasoning papers are written tests, which
are conducted in exam-like conditions. Verbal reasoning is
understanding and reasoning using concepts framed in words. It
aims at evaluating ability to think constructively, rather than at
simple fluency or vocabulary recognition.
Large graduate training schemes are increasingly using verbal
reasoning tests (verbals) to distinguish between applicants. The
types of verbals candidates face in these assessments are typically
looking to assess understanding and comprehension skills. As an
applicant you will be presented with a short passage of text and
will need to answer a True, False or Cannot Say response to each
statement.
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Most employers who use psychometric tests in recruitment


selection will include a verbal reasoning test. This is because there
are very few graduate careers which do not require the ability to
understand, analyze and interpret written information, often of a
complex or specialized nature.
This test includes a number of short passages of text followed by
statements based on the information given in the passage. You are
asked to indicate whether the statements are true or false, or
whether it is not possible to say so either way. In answering these
questions, use only the information given in the passage and do not
try and answer them in the light of any more detailed knowledge
which you personally may have.
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Below you will find an example question to try. It is a selection of a


passage of text which will be followed by X statement. Read the
passage carefully and then, using only the information given in the
passage, for each statement choose whether [A] it is definitely true,
[B] definitely untrue, or [C] you cannot say as you have insufficient
information to answer.
In Japan, companies generally expect their employees to put in long
hours of overtime. But it is difficult for women, who also have
household chores to do and children to take care of, to work at the
same pace as men, who are not burdened with such
responsibilities. Many women inevitably opt for part-time jobs,
which enable them to combine work and domestic duties
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At present, 23% of all female salaried workers are part-timers and


the ratio has been on the rise in recent years. Part-time work places
women at a disadvantage. The wages of part-time workers are
considerably lower than those of full-time employees, and parttime work tends to involve menial labour. Moreover, because salary
and promotion in Japanese companies are often based on seniority,
it is extremely difficult for women either re-entering the labour
force or switching from part-time to full-time work to climb the
ladder.
Statement X is: A quarter of all part-time workers in Japan are
female.
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Use only the information given in the passage to choose whether


the statement is definitely true, definitely untrue, or you have
insufficient information to answer. Do NOT try to answer the
question in the light of any knowledge which you personally may
have. We must first take just the text in the passage which
specifically relates to the above statement. At present, 23% of all
female salaried workers are part-timers and the ratio has been on
the rise in recent years. These two statements say very different
things.
Statement X says: one quarter of part-time workers are female.

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The passage says: about one quarter of female workers are parttime.
We have no information on the size of the total pool of part-time
workers, nor any information of how many women work in relation
to men. The 23% of all female salaried workers that are part-timers
could make up 1% or 100% of the (genderless) part-time workers in
Japan.
As these two statements mean different things, the statement is [C]
CANNOT SAY: you have insufficient information to answer using just
the information in the passage.
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How to pass Verbal Reasoning tests?

Verbal reasoning papers are marked very quickly, often by


placing a specially designed grid over the paper. This means you
have to be careful about marking your answers clearly. Make sure
you follow any instructions for correcting wrong answers or you will
lose marks.
Help yourself assimilate written information by reading books
and newspapers regularly. Crossword puzzles are useful for
practicing verbal critical reasoning.

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How to pass Verbal Reasoning tests?

Use Google or other network to get some practice papers. Your


answers will be processed online and you will obtain your scores
too.
Keeping up to date with current affairs is also a good idea since
there could be questions relating to items in the news and general
economic situation.
Verbal reasoning tests come in varying levels of difficulty. The
higher the level of job you are applying for, the harder the
questions.
Before the test begins, if there is anything you do not
understand fully, ASK.
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How to pass Verbal Reasoning tests?

Remember, you will have very little time to answer each


question. Try not to panic. Work through the questions one by one,
if you come up against one you simply cannot answer, leave it until
the end. Go back if you are left with some time. If you finish all the
questions before the end of the time allotted for the test, go back
and re-check your answers. Never sit and stare into space.
Do not worry too much if you failed to complete the test or if
you think you got some of the answers wrong. Most people taking
the test will be feeling this way. You will not need to have scored
top marks to continue further into the process.
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How to pass Verbal Reasoning tests?

If you really think you messed


up, say so. Provide a good
reason and be honest and you
could get the opportunity to
appear for the test again.

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Numerical reasoning tests are designed to identify an individual's


level of ability to reason with information provided in tables, charts
and figures, in order to obtain a correct answer.
A test taker is advised to look at each chart or tables provided for
each question, and use the information in these to work out the
correct answer. The questions are provided in a multiple choice
format with about five response options to choose from. Only one
option is the correct answer.

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Contrary to the belief that these tests measure your mathematical


skill, numerical reasoning tests do not assess this knowledge.
Although a basic understanding of mathematics is required as a
pre-requisite for a graduate, managerial or professional test, it is
the reasoning aspect of the information provided that is being
assessed.
In other words numerical reasoning papers are similar to verbal
reasoning papers in that they are written tests, to be taken in exam
like environment within limited time. This strict timing is aimed at
putting you under pressure to test your ability to work under
pressure.
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You will find the questions are all of the same type, i.e. all number
sequences. Number problems can be presented in a variety of
ways; they could be
Graphs,
Sequences,
Pie charts and
Plain figure work.

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How to pass Numerical Reasoning tests?

Numerical reasoning papers are marked very quickly, often by


placing a specially designed grid over the paper.
This means you have to be careful about marking your answers
clearly. Make sure you follow any instructions for correcting wrong
answers or you will lose marks.

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How to pass Numerical Reasoning tests?

Firstly, ensure you are familiar with basic mathematics such as


arithmetic, percentages, ratios and fractions. The next steps will be
to get as much practice in as possible and familiarize yourself with
what the day will be like.
This way you will be relaxed when taking the assessment and more
likely to focus on doing a good job. Number puzzles are useful for
practicing numerical reasoning. Use Google or other network to get
some practice papers. Your answers will be processed online and
you will obtain your scores too.
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How to pass Numerical Reasoning tests?

Whilst it is argued that practicing may not actually improve


one's aptitude or ability, it is however an accepted fact that
unfamiliarity with tests can hinder your optimal performance in an
assessment. Practicing helps to remove errors due to lack of
familiarity, and test takers who have practiced have a much better
chance of demonstrating their fullest potential, than those who
have not practiced.
Numerical reasoning tests come in varying levels of difficulty.
The higher the level of job you are applying for, the harder the
questions.
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How to pass Numerical Reasoning tests?

Before the test begins, if there is anything you do not


understand fully, ASK.

Remember, you will have very little time to answer each


question. Try not to panic. Work through the questions one by one,
if you come up against one you simply cannot answer, leave it until
the end. Go back if you are left with some time. If you finish all the
questions before the end of the test, go back and re-check your
answers. Never sit and stare into space.

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How to pass Numerical Reasoning tests?

Do not worry too much if you failed to complete the test or if


you think you got some of the answers wrong. Most people taking
the test will be feeling this way. You will not need to have scored
top marks to continue further into the process.
If you really think you messed up, say so. Provide a good reason
and be honest and you could get the opportunity to appear for the
test again

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How to pass Numerical Reasoning tests?

Example 16.01
Test:

Answer

05

12

26

A
13

B
19

C
21

D
23

If you select any other than B, you lose marks.

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How to pass Numerical Reasoning tests?

Example 16. 02
Test:

03

27

81

Answer

A
23

B
17

C
09

D
06

If you select any other than C, you lose marks.

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Personality questionnaire is used to know the character or attitude


of a person. Questions related to different modes and angles are
included in this questionnaire in order to assess mindset of an
individual.

These can be related to the amount of tolerance and patience an


individual has, about an issue, the capacity to manage the stress in
life, influence others by their personality and others. These factors
can be measured by putting simple and realistic questions to them.

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Personality questionnaires are used to test your


o Motivation and thinking style.
o Emotional responses to given situations
o Ability to get on with people.
o Occupational preferences, e.g. whether you are a
good match for the job on offer.
o Honesty

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A simple question like: whether you would like to work in team or


wish to be alone can check whether the person is introvert or
extrovert.
Questions like: Will you criticize or encourage when work is
pending, will tell how things will be handled by that particular
person. Asking about the likes and dislikes of an individual,
whether he/she likes emotional music or romantic movies can tell
about the person in general.

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Questions like: What is your overall strategy can tell the ambitions
of a person in life and his progress in career.
Some open questions like: How will you tackle the problem when
you have not finished a job in time, will say whether the person is
able to manage negative stress.
Questions like: Will you work with a person even if you dislike that
person shows whether the person works towards the project
completion regardless of ego clashes.
Thus different types of questions in a personality questionnaire
help to determine various personality traits of an individual.

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Personality Questionnaire Form

Name ofIndividual:

Address:

City:

State:

PinCode:

Phone#:

emailid:

Age:

Questionnaire
Q1:

Whatsortofpersonwouldyourateyourself
tobe?

Q2:

Whatdoyoudowhenfacedwithpressure
situations?

Quiet
Energetic
Calm
Active
Staycalm
Avoidthesituation
Allotworktoothers
Getloudandhyper

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Personality Questionnaire Form

Q3:

Whatdoyouwhenangry?

GetLoud
Throwthingsaround
Becomequietand
keeptoyourself

Q4:

Whatdoyouprefermore?

Stayingindoors
Stayingoutdoors

Q5:

Howwouldyourateyourselfinsociability?

Verysociable
Sociableonlywhen
needed
Preferbeingalone

Example 16.03 Making Choices

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Example 16.04 Rating Statements


I enjoy meeting new people

I like helping people

I sometimes commit mistakes

I like to take risks

I enjoy working alone

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In addition to verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and


personality questionnaires, there are several other psychometric
tests available to recruiters. But these three are most commonly
used. Other tests measure logic, accuracy, technical skills,
perceptual ability, spatial ability etc.
If you are advised to undertake any one of them, get the data from
Google or other network, as describing them here is not possible
due to space limitation.

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If you are required to attend an assessment centre as part of a job


application process, you are very likely to face some form of in-tray
exercise. This is because in-tray exercises enable assessors and
employers to test a wide range of your skills and aptitudes in
situations that closely resemble those you might face in a real
workplace: as a result, how you behave during an in-tray exercise
offers a more accurate and reliable indication of your characteristics
and behaviours than do more abstract methods of measurement
including interviews and even psychometric tests.
This is why they are so popular with recruiters. They are also very
good at seeing how you will cope with the real-world stresses of
diary management and prioritization.
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Their popularity with recruiters makes it crucial that you are aware
of how in-tray exercises work and what they test. Additionally, it is
important to practice them to maximize your chances of achieving
your true potential.
Most in-tray exercises are designed to test a particular set of key
competencies which the employer deems to be important. For
example they might focus on your delegation skills, your readiness
to share problems with others, your independence, or your affinity
or aversion to procedures. It is important that you think about what
competencies each employer is looking for, and to emphasize these
traits when answering their in-tray exercise. Each different
employer may be looking for different attributes in their new
recruits.
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In general terms, in-tray exercises test your ability to


(a) Demonstrate the level of knowledge appropriate to the job for
which you are applying;
(b) Display the skills necessary for the job; and
(c) Show that your attitudes are a good fit for those specified for
the role.

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The exercises are, therefore, designed to assess what are known in


the recruitment industry as KSAs that is, your Knowledge, Skills,
and Attitudes. This shorthand term is often used by recruiters to
clearly identify prerequisites for a job, and so to indicate what
theyre testing for in the recruitment process.
Whatever the key competencies specified for the particular job you
are applying for, remember that in-tray exercises of all types always
test your ability to use the time you have available for the exercise
as effectively and productively as possible.

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01 How do in-tray exercises work?


The basic idea of in-tray exercises is to place you in a realistic
although simulated work situation, and to assess your workplace
behaviour and attitudes in that context. So when you are given an
in-tray exercise, it is usual to be asked to treat it as a role-play. You
wil probably be asked to imagine that you are an employee of a
fictitious company, and to work through the contents of your intray in that role.
You might, for instance, be told to imagine that it is your first day in
your job as a stock controller, and be handed a stack of documents
and tasks to prioritize and action.
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01 How do in-tray exercises work?


You might be given this role even if you are applying for a job that
has nothing to do with stock control; similarly, you might be asked
to imagine yourself as a teacher or a lawyer, even if you are
applying for a quite different job.
Another common scenario is that you have just returned from
annual leave to find a pile of correspondence in your fictional intray. The point is that the skills and attitudes being assessed will be
relevant to the job youre applying for; the types of issues and
problems youre asked to consider will be similar to those involved
in that role.
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In-Tray FAQs

How many in-tray items will there be?


It is usual to be given between ten and thirty in-tray items to work
on, in addition to a description of your role and responsibilities in
the fictional organization. You will also normally be given
information about the fictional organizations aims, objectives and
problems, as well as its structure; a list of key fellow employees;
and information about key third party organizations and
relationships, as well as a calendar of future events. The best
candidates will keep all of these things in their mind whilst
responding to the in-tray items. So there is a lot to get through in
the hour or so usually allotted to you.
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How will my in-tray exercise be assessed?

The two most common ways in which your response to the in-tray
items will be assessed are via
(a) Your response to questions in a multiple choice format, or
(b) Your performance in an interview with an assessor in which you
need to explain and justify your actions and decisions. Sometimes,
you will be assessed via a combination of these methods.
Before you start, you should be sure to check how you will be
assessed, and whether or not you are allowed to write on your intray items.
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How will my in-tray exercise be assessed?

If you know you will not have the opportunity to talk through your
answers with an assessor at the end, make sure you write down
everything you have thought of otherwise you will not get the
marks for it.
Make a note of diary clashes, time commitments, resource
constraints, appointments, interactivity between people
...anything you think is important to consider in your
answer.
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How will my in-tray exercise be assessed?

Online or computer-based in-tray exercises are referred to as an etray or inbox exercise.


The same principles apply but they are becoming more common
because in the real world most of the information employees deal
with arrives by email so this is a realistic simulation of the demands
of the role.

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What is the best way to approach an in-tray exercise?

Remember that it is crucial that you identify the key issues arising
from the in-tray items: while you should aim to complete every task
in the limited time allotted, do not lose sight of prioritizing more
important tasks.
You will be assessed, after all, not simply on your ability to get
things done quickly, but on your ability to spot whether some tasks
are more urgent than others, and on the balance you strike
between working quickly and working effectively.

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What is the best way to approach an in-tray exercise?

The best approach is to quickly read through every item in your intray before answering any questions. But do make notes on your
thoughts as you read through each item.
It is best to wait until you have read everything before responding
because an item which comes up might affect how you react to an
earlier item, or even contradict it. The assessor will not look
favourably on you just ploughing in to the questions..

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What will my in-tray exercise be assessing me on?

Whatever the topics covered, and whatever the nature of your


fictional job, all in-tray exercises assess your ability to sort through,
take in and analyze complex information efficiently even under
pressure of time; your ability to explore and identify key issues and
prioritize your work accordingly; and your ability to communicate
effectively about the decisions you have made and to identify any
special problems or issues that arise from the set of tasks and
documents you are given.
You will also be assessed on how clearly and effectively you can
explain your decisions and actions.
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What will my in-tray exercise be assessing me on?

So although you will be asked to imagine that you are at work


when carrying out the exercise, it is crucial not to underestimate
the importance of communicating your thought processes to your
assessors. As mentioned earlier, you need to show what you know
in order to be given credit for your responses so, you must be
clear about the reasons behind your actions and decisions.
Remember that your attitudes are being assessed, too: because of
this, pay attention to how you present yourself during the exercise
including how you organize your desk area, how neat your notes
are, and whether you display a frantic or rather calmer approach to
dealing with the in-tray items!
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What will my in-tray exercise be assessing me on?

Be aware that many in-tray exercises have a central theme to


them that you are expected to identify: this might be the fact that a
merger or takeover of your fictional organization is imminent, or
perhaps that a major re-structuring is on the cards.
It is important to identify anything like this because it will enhance
your understanding of your fictional role, and affect the way in
which you evaluate and prioritize tasks and information, as well as
influence your decisions.

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Tips for performing well in your in-tray exercise

As well as keeping in mind what type of job you are being assessed
for, and so which particular competency you should display, it is
important to work in as organized and logical manner as you can.
Try to approach the exercise in an orderly manner, ensuring that
you neither miss out anything nor spend too long on any one task.
One great strategy is to scan through every in-tray item right at the
start of the exercise, and to sort them into an order than makes
sense (whether it is chronological, or perhaps topic-based)
keeping an eye out for items that affect each other.
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Tips for performing well in your in-tray exercise

You should be especially alert to items that have perhaps already


been dealt with (so you no longer have to worry about them), and
also to items that are in need of particularly urgent attention.
Despite the pressure of time, you need to play close attention to
details including the names of key personnel, the date of each
document, and actions that have already been taken that might
affect your decisions.

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Tips for performing well in your in-tray exercise

Also remember to show what you know, rather than assuming that
an assessor will credit you with characteristics that you do not
actually display during the exercise. So, for instance, be sure to
make notes of reasons for your decisions, and to explain your
thought processes either during the role-play, or in the test or
interview following it.
Keep calm as you go through the in-tray items, and being
methodical in your approach to handling them. Making brief notes
in relation to each decision you make is important, too especially
if an assessor asks you to explain one of your decisions, but also to
ensure you do not lose track of what you are doing as well as how
and why you are prioritizing the tasks you need to do.
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Tips for performing well in your in-tray exercise

One final word of advice for your in-tray exercise: be sure to take
into account the personality and style of the fictional organization
you are asked to imagine working for. Then ensure that your
actions, decisions and any work you produce reflect your
awareness.
It might be that your role-play requires you to be highly
independent, or, alternatively, to be very much a team player but
in either case, be sure and do your best to show your ability to fit
with the organization for which you are pretending to work. This is
important to employers, and is something you should consider in
any recruitment situation
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Eight important tips to score in in-tray exercise.

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Eight important tips to score in in-tray exercise.

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Many employers choose to set up Group Exercises (GE) or group


tasks as a preliminary round before Personal Interviews. Applicants
are assessed on
their leadership skills, communication skills,
tactfulness, problem-solving abilities, and
ability to stay focused and get the task done in the
designated time.
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o In a group exercise, you do not always have to play the


leader. It does not pay to dominate the group. Be assertive, not
aggressive.
o If you make good and sensible suggestions in a confident
and clear manner and contribute well, it is enough. The idea is
to accomplish the task while avoiding conflicts.
o You can help the group by seeking the views of quieter
members and encouraging them, being the ice-breaker when
the group is having a dull or quite moment or being diplomatic
while dealing with a bully. Use your opportunities well.
o Stay focused and keep an eye on the watch. Summarising
everyones views in the end might help in accomplishing the
task better and drawing a consensus.
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There are simply two types of


people in a group ones who
take things forward and ones
who stall things. Employers are
looking for positive people with
passion to do big things in life.

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You can attempt these positive roles that you can play in a group:
Leader: Keep things on-track, coordinate resources and
people well, and take initiatives. Recognize the skills of others
and put them to good use. However, be careful that you do not
turn out to be domineering.
Motivator: Be enthusiastic or use light, funny comments to
break tensions.
Team-builder: Draw out shy people, ask their views and
make them feel comfortable. Create a congenial environment
and learn to compromise.
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You can attempt these positive roles that you can play in a group:
Visionary: Come up with creative and innovative ideas to
solve a problem. You can be original and radical, if not always
practical.
Summarizer: If you are calm and cool, and a good observer,
you can help in clearing out group objectives, work as a
mediator, and tie-up loose ends.
Rationalizer: Logical, analytical and objective, a rationaliser
points out the practical points in implementation of a solution
or idea. You can play quite an important role in crucial decisionmaking stage.
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Negative roles you must not assume in a group exercise are:


Do not be a Hitler. Do not expect that everyone will bow
down to your ideas.
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Do not show off or interrupt others. Give others a chance to


state their views and opinions.
Do not switch topics too quickly or before things have been
discussed properly.
Do not make negative comments. Remember, everyone in
the group is your peer and successfully cracked the entrance
exam too.
Do not be shy or choose to show no involvement in the
group task. Find a way to contribute.
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Do not lose focus and do not distract others from the topic.
If you do suggest a negative side of an idea or argument, be
ready with the alternatives.
Do not shout. Keep your tone in check. Speak clearly and
confidently.
Do not play the victim. Here is a group competing with you.
It is not there to nurse your self-confidence or ego issues.
In the end, if you are preparing for a
group exercise round, be prepared to
back up your arguments with logic and
defend your actions with logic during
the
personal
interview
round. (GE) or group tasks
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Everybody can benefit from having good problem solving skills as


we all encounter problems on a daily basis; some of these problems
are obviously more severe or complex than others.
It would be wonderful to have the ability to solve all problems
efficiently and in a timely fashion without difficulty, unfortunately
there is no one way in which all problems can be solved.
You will discover that the subject of problem solving is complex.
However well prepared we are for problem solving there is always
an element of the unknown.

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Although planning and structuring will help make the problem


solving process more likely to be successful, good judgement and
an element of good luck will ultimately determine whether
problem solving was a success.
What is a Problem? The Concise Oxford Dictionary (1995) defines a
problem as:
A doubtful or difficult matter requiring a solution and
Something hard to understand or accomplish or deal
with.
All problems have two features in common: goals and barriers.
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Goals: Problems involve setting out to achieve some objective or


desired state of affairs and can include avoiding a situation or
event. Goals can be anything that you wish to achieve, where you
want to be. If you are hungry then your goal is probably to eat
something, if you are a head of an organization (CEO) then your
main goal may be to maximize profits. In the example of the CEO
the main goal may need to be split into numerous sub-goals in
order to fulfill the ultimate goal of increasing profits.
Barriers: If there were no barriers in the way of achieving a goal,
then there would be no problem. Problem solving involves
overcoming the barriers or obstacles that prevent the immediate
achievement of goals.
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Following examples above, if you feel hungry then your goal is to


eat.
A barrier to this may be that you have no food available - you take a
trip to McDonalds and buy some food, removing the barrier and
thus solving the problem. Of course for the CEO wanting to increase
profits there may be many more barriers preventing the goal from
being reached. The CEO needs to attempt to recognize these
barriers and remove them or find other ways to achieve the goals
of the organization.
Effective problem solving usually involves working through a
number of steps or stages, such as those outlined next.
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Problem Identification: This stage involves: detecting and


recognizing that there is a problem; identifying the nature of the
problem; defining the problem. The first phase of problem
solving may sound obvious but often requires more thought and
analysis. Identifying a problem can be a difficult task in itself, is
there a problem at all? What is the nature of the problem, are
there in fact numerous problems? How can the problem be best
defined? - by spending some time defining the problem you will
not only understand it more clearly yourself but be able to
communicate its nature to others, this leads to the second
phase.
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Structuring the Problem: This stage involves: a period of


observation, careful inspection, fact-finding and developing a
clear picture of the problem. Following on from problem
identification, structuring the problem is all about gaining more
information about the problem and increasing understanding.
This phase is all about fact finding and analysis, building a more
comprehensive picture of both the goal(s) and the barrier(s).
This stage may not be necessary for very simple problems but is
essential for problems of a more complex nature.

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Looking for Possible Solutions: During this stage you will


generate a range of possible courses of action, but with little
attempt to evaluate them at this stage. From the information
gathered in the first two phases of the problem solving
framework it is now time to start thinking about possible
solutions to the identified problem. In a group situation this
stage is often carried out as a brain-storming session, letting
each person in the group express their views on possible
solutions (or part solutions). In organizations different people
will have different expertise in different areas and it is useful,
therefore, to hear the views of each concerned party.
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Making a Decision: This stage involves careful analysis of the


different possible courses of action and then selecting the best
solution for implementation. This is perhaps the most complex
part of the problem solving process. Following on from the
previous step it is now time to look at each potential solution
and carefully analyze it. Some solutions may not be possible, due
to other problems, like time constraints or budgets. It is
important at this stage to also consider what might happen if
nothing was done to solve the problem - sometimes trying to
solve a problem that leads to many more problems requires
some very creative thinking and innovative ideas.
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Finally, make a decision on which course of action to take decision making is an important skill in itself and we
recommend that you see our pages on decision making.
Implementation: This stage involves accepting and carrying
out the chosen course of action. Implementation means acting
on the chosen solution. During implementation more problems
may arise especially if identification or structuring of the original
problem was not carried out fully.

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Monitoring/Seeking Feedback: The last stage is about


reviewing the outcomes of problem solving over a period of
time, including seeking feedback as to the success of the
outcomes of the chosen solution. The final stage of problem
solving is concerned with checking that the process was
successful. This can be achieved by monitoring and gaining
feedback from people affected by any changes that occurred. It
is good practice to keep a record of outcomes and any additional
problems that occurred.

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In the exercise that you will have to participate each


candidate is provided with certain piece of information. You have to
sit in a group collect all the data (remember some of it may be
irrelevant, but provided to mislead you) and follow all the steps
above to arrive at a solution. The assessors observing the exercise
are able to judge whether
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

You pulled the data intelligently.


Used it creatively.
Worked a team.
Respected other candidates ideas.
Helped others.
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If your CV has been shortlisted, these days, you can get call to
make a presentation at the interview you are invited to attend in a
weeks time. If you are lucky you may get an opportunity to select
your topic. It is quite likely that your potential employer may
provide you the subject for presentation which could be common
for all candidates or , luckily, one picked from interests you included
in your CV.
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Presentations skills and public speaking skills are very useful in


many aspects of work and life. Effective presentations and public
speaking skills are important in business, sales and selling, training,
teaching, lecturing, and generally feeling comfortable speaking to a
group of people. Developing the confidence and capability to give
good presentations, and to stand up in front of an audience and
speak well, are also extremely helpful competencies for selfdevelopment and social situations.
Presentation skills and public speaking abilities are not limited to
certain special people - anyone can give a good presentation, or
perform public speaking to a professional and impressive standard.
Like most specialisms, this requires preparation and practice.
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The formats and purposes of presentations can be very different,


for example:
i. oral (spoken),
ii. multimedia (using various media - visuals, audio, etc.),
iii. PowerPoint presentations,
iv. short impromptu presentations,
v. long planned presentations,
vi. educational or training sessions,
vii. lectures, and
viii. simply giving a talk on a subject to a group on a voluntary
basis for pleasure
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Fear of public speaking and presentations.


You are not alone if the thought of speaking in public scares you.
On the contrary, everyone feels fearful of presenting and public
speaking to one degree or another. Giving a presentation is very
worrying for many people. Presenting or speaking to an audience
regularly tops the list in surveys of people's top fears - more than
heights, flying or dying. The key to managing and controlling
anything is first to understand it, especially its causes. The cause of
fear is (a feeling of) insecurity and/or an unfamiliar or
uncontrollable threat. In the context of presentations and public
speaking this is usually due to: lack of confidence, and/or lack of
control (or a feeling of not having control) - over the situation,
other people (the audience) and our own reactions and feelings
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Preparation and rehearsal are usually very manageable elements


that allow you to build confidence and take control in your hands.
It is a matter of making the effort to prepare and rehearse before
the task is upon us. Presentations which do not work well usually
do so because they have not been properly prepared and
rehearsed. Experience can be gained simply by seeking
opportunities for public speaking and presenting to people and
groups, wherever you feel most comfortable.
So experience, is actually just another manageable element before
the task, although more time and imagination is required than in
preparing and rehearsing a particular presentation.
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Tips for effective presentations


1. Preparation and knowledge (of subject and the presentation
itself) are the pre-requisites for a successful presentation, which
importantly produce confidence and control, in turn important
for relaxing the presenter, and the audience.
2. Good presenting is about entertaining as well as conveying
information. As well, people retain more if they are enjoying
themselves and feeling relaxed. So whatever your subject and
audience, try to find ways to make the content and delivery
enjoyable - even the most serious of occasions, and the driest of
subjects, can be lifted to an enjoyable or even an amusing level
one way or another with a little research, imagination, and
humour/humor.
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Tips for effective presentations


3. Research and studies generally indicate that in presentations
you have between 4 - 7 seconds in which to make a positive
impact and good opening impression. So make sure you have a
good, strong, solid introduction, and rehearse it until it is
'second nature' to you and an action of 'unconscious
competence'.
4. Smiling helps a lot. It will relax you and the audience. In
addition to giving you a relaxed calm appearance, smiling
actually releases helpful 'happy' chemicals into your nervous
system, and makes you feel good. So does taking a few deep
slow breaths make you feel relaxed - low down from the pit of
your stomach - before you take to the stage.
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Tips for effective presentations


5. Research and collect as much data as possible on the subject.
Then summarize it into time slot allotted to you. In case no such
slot is provided, please ask for it.

6. Try your presentation out. Stand up and practice it before your


friends or family and seek feedback. Act on it.

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7. If you are using overhead projectors:


a. Be familiar with the operation of the projector. The use of a
projector provides professional feel to your presentation.
b. With enough time and good graphics software, you can
prepare all sorts of pretty pictures, graphs, pie charts, diagrams,
etc. and impress the audience.
c. In absence of software, you can write plain text on acetate
and use the slides. Be certain you do not crowd the text on a
single slide.
d. Place the slides correctly, the right side up. Do not stand in
front of the projector and do not hide behind it.
e. Talk to the audience and not to the screen.
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8. If you are using flip charts:


a. Be comfortable; you do not have to worry about technology.
b. It is quick and simple. Write your text on the paper with a
thick felt pen.
c. Make certain your writing is large and can be seen by all.
Use two or three colours.
d. Place the slides correctly, the right side up. Do not stand in
front of the projector and do not hide behind it.
e. Talk to the audience and not to the screen.
f. If you are going to write as you speak, ensure you write in a
straight line.
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Recruitment has now become a science and employers deploy


scientific methods like verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning,
personality questionnaires, in-tray exercises, group exercises,
presentations etc. for selection of a right candidate. Substantial
efforts and costs are incurred by employers in selection and
recruitment, hence they want to exercise enough care in selection
process. These scientific methods enhance the quality of selection
process. If you are looking for an opening at a higher level, it is
absolutely necessary to be well acquainted with these methods and
acquire required proficiency.
You can now be rest assured that you are fully prepared to
successfully face the long awaited interview for your dream job!
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1. Why do employers resort to psychometric test for selection


of candidates for the vacant jobs?
2. Describe numerical reasoning test and provide two
examples of tests candidates have to solve.
3. What is a personality questionnaire? Why do recruiters use
it prior to interviews?
4. What qualities of the candidates are assessed during in-tray
exercises?
5. Enumerate precautions you will undertake if you are asked
by a recruiter to arrange for a presentation on a given subject?
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0
With this we complete

& that is the end of our session on

Good Luck!
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