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Recruitment: How and when to use group exercises to assess candidates

by , 16 May 2014
Gone are the days of using traditional interview techniques to choose the right candidate for the job.

To find the perfect employee you need to ditch traditional methods of recruiting and get creative. It's the only way you'll ensure your recruitment drive is a success.

One of the alternative assessment techniques you can use is group exercises. Read on to find out when and how to use group exercises to assess job candidates.

What exactly is a group exercise and how will it help you when recruiting?

This is simply a discussion between the applicants where you give candidates a problem or topic to discuss and watch how they tackle it without assigning the group with a leader.

Doing so will help you assess:

  • How they behave in a real life group situation;
  • How each candidate initiates, maintains and directs the discussion; and
  • How each candidate interacts with others, makes decisions and deals with conflict.

So what can you learn from this?


The A-Z of legal recruitment

  • Did you know there are 11 legal requirements for recruitment?
  • Do you know how the Employment Equity Act affects your job advertisement?
  • Do you know what checks you can legally conduct on an applicant?
  • Are you sure your employment contract includes the 16 clauses the law says you must have?

If you don't have all of these aspects correct, you'll be on the wrong side of the law when it comes to your recruitment process.



Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using group exercises to assess candidates

Advantage: Group exercises are a good predictor of how a candidate will perform when working in a team.

Disadvantage: The observers or assessors need to be competent in interpreting behaviour to ensure valid and reliable results.

Now the big question is: When should you use this technique to assess applicants?


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Here's when to use group exercises to assess candidates during your recruitment

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management advises the use of group exercises when:

  • It's part of an assessment centre, or a stand-alone test.
  • You need to assess personal and/or interpersonal behaviours, for example influence, leadership, communication or teamwork.

Now that we've told you everything about using group exercises to assess candidates, try this technique on your next recruitment drive and see the difference it'll make.

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