In order for it to be a real assessment, practical simulations have to be a part of the program. However, the program is often split up and you first have to get through the e-assessment (capacities and personality) before making it to the simulations. In assessments for management positions, a two-person management discussion is often chosen. It is frequently important to speak to an employee about certain behaviors or to stimulate and motivate them to make different choices. In commercial positions or jobs with a lot of client contact, a client interview is often chosen. Of course, there has to be an issue at hand, so often there is a complaint or another problem. For trainees and managers, a strategic advice assignment is often used to get information about a person’s working and thinking skills as a supplement to the traditional capacity tests. It is typical for you to first be given preparation time (30-45 minutes) to study a large amount of information and then to communicate your recommendation to the assessors. Often several options have already been worked out and you have to argue why you are choosing a particular one. A consultancy assignment often turns into a role-playing situation in which your recommendation is challenged. In contrast to the consultancy assignment, the presentation focuses more on the form than the content. It is all about how you present your specific story: your clarity, liveliness, enthusiasm, flair, and persuasiveness. Sometimes, you can prepare this assignment at home. Obviously, the content is more important, because you have more time to think about it. A fact-finding assignment is mainly used for research positions (scientists, detectives, judges, etc.). The point here is that you gain insight into the matter in a short time by asking the right questions. Clear and unambiguous questions must be posed and it is essential that questioning be both friendly and determined. The mailbox, also called in-basket, is a very popular management assignment. The situation is often as follows: your predecessor has been fired or is on vacation and at there is a package of information on their desk. Memos, e-mails, the current agenda, policy documents, etc.: you have to use these items to prove yourself as a candidate. Some items aren’t worth a second glance, while others have high priority. Mailboxes are increasingly being offered digitally. Remember that you are almost always being timed. Do not spend too much time on trivial matters, because you may score lower in areas such as “problem analysis”. Group assignments may be a part of your individual program. Since your job often involves collaborating with others, an organization wants to know how you behave in a group. Group assignments vary: you may be given a free rein in the process. In this position, you can address the situation in different ways, such as determining who takes on the leadership role.
How much preparation time are you given for practical simulations?
This differs for each type of simulation assignment, but roughly it involves 15-45 minutes of preparation time. You cannot change the preparation time at the assessment agency, but you can change the preparation time before the assessment. The more concretely you prepare for this part, the more you will benefit from it on the actual test day.
How are you assessed in a simulation assignment? What is being looked at?
The majority of the simulations are focused on identifying competencies. Sometimes they are broader domains, such as the Thinking-Feel-Strength model of LTP. You will not be told how you did certain things immediately afterwards; that happens later and sometimes not at all, because it is part of the competency score in your assessment report. In order arrive at an assessment decision, assessors have taken a training course for observing and qualifying behaviors. Another widely used method is the WAKKER model. This stands for: Observing Annotating Qualifying Quantifying Evaluating Reporting (based on Dutch). Regardless of which model is used, you should be aware that you must help the assessor reach an assessment decision and the more you bring to the table, the easier this is.
What does an observation form look like?
An observation form is nothing more than a standardized way of assessing. You have to imagine that each competency consists of a definition and that behavioral indicators are associated with it. You can see this in examples showing that you have a certain competency. This type of form provides a number of behavioral indicators per competency as a tool for an assessor. For example, for competencies related to thinking (analytical ability, problem analysis, judgment, etc.), the following behavioral indicators may be included: Is able to separate primary and secondary issues. Integrates new information. Can specify multiple solutions for the same problem. Creates structure in a complex situation.
Does a practical simulation always have common ground with the job you are applying for?
Psychologists differ greatly on this point. On the one hand, there is the group that believes that practical simulations should be close to the reality of the job and on the other hand, there is a group of psychologists who feel that it is undesirable, because they believe that the field-specific matters are irrelevant. It is often decided to design simulation assignments that take place in a different context than the one you are applying for, so that a clearer assessment of behavior can take place. This also ensures an equal starting position for everyone, because the chance is small that someone in the applicant pool has actually been a consultant for an airline (fictitious example). However, the behaviors that you exhibit in such an unusual practical situation can be translated into the job that you are applying for.