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Print Assessment Centre Secrets Revealed: What Is the In Tray Exercise?

An important component of assessment centres, in-tray exercises (or in-basket or e-tray exercises, the latter being used when they are administered on a computer) are role playing exercises where a candidate assumes the role of an employee and is given a set of tasks to perform under time pressure. These tasks can include writing memos, answering emails, creating reports, or handling organizational charts. By involving candidates in these tasks, assessment centres are able to determine their professional attitudes and also evaluate if they are fit for the job.
 
Assessment Centre Secrets Revealed: What Is the In Tray Exercise?An important component of assessment centres, in-tray exercises (or in-basket or e-tray exercises, the latter being used when they are administered on a computer) are role playing exercises where a candidate assumes the role of an employee and is given a set of tasks to perform under time pressure. These tasks can include writing memos, answering emails, creating reports, or handling organizational charts. By involving candidates in these tasks, assessment centres are able to determine their professional attitudes and also evaluate if they are fit for the job.
 
In Tray, E-Tray, and In-Basket Exercises
 
The terms in tray, e-tray, and in basket exercises are used interchangeably in many test interviews and recruitment exams. In-tray exercises are done in the presence of an interviewer using pen and paper while e-tray exercises require the use of a computer. In basket exercises include a set of written correspondence that is provided in a basket. 
 
What the In-tray Exercises Include
 
Typically, in-tray exercises include a number of writing tasks ranging from answering emails to creating reports. Candidates are given a short outline of their job role in a hypothetical organisation, without any direction about the writing style or information on what evaluators are looking for.
 
The exercises can include one or more of the following tasks:
 
  • Writing memos, letters, emails, and documents.
  • Creating organizational reports and charts.
  • Composing or replying to emails. 
  • Taking telephone messages or replying to them.
  • Creating calendar items based on a hypothetical schedule.
Why In-Basket Tests Are Important
 
In-tray exercises provide an insight into your aptitude for a particular job. The tasks that you are given in such a psychometric assessment are reflective of the actual tasks that employees perform. By observing your performance and taking notes, interviewers can assess your skills and see how well suited you are for the job. 
 
Additionally, these exercises are also a great way of knowing about job responsibilities and requirements. They can help you decide if the organization and the role suit your skill set and goals.
 
Test Taking Tips
 
Like with any other testing interview, it is important to stay calm and focused during in-tray exercise assessment. Time management is crucial: split your total time into parts so that you can work according to a pre-set timeline. Speak to the interviewer and research the company and industry that is recruiting to get as much information as possible. Pay attention to what they are saying since it will help you perform better in the test.
 
If the writing tasks come with a set of instructions, ensure that you read them extremely carefully and then attempt to answer any questions. Many candidates get very low scored because they answer a different question than the one that was asked. For example, when the test requires you to “provide an executive summary for your superior on the issues outlined in the file” and you happen to provide a more analytical, detail-oriented note, this will not go down well with assessors.
 
Prioritize your task list and perform critical tasks first. Remember that interviewers are not looking for answers to all questions: they are looking for your competences in various fields, and domain-knowledge is only one of these. They want to understand how you approach the problem, even if you choose to delegate a task to another team member or a junior employee.
 
If you want to familiarize yourself with this type of exercise, look for online e-tray exercise tests which can help you prepare.
 
 
 

art dar 25 Jun 2012

works in communities as development facilitator

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