The mailbox exercise
A common item on an assessment day is the mailbox exercise. A work environment is simulated, which usually consists of a mailbox. This contains many messages that you have to deal with. The position you hold is indicated beforehand, e.g. the manager of a department.
Information is also given about the organization you are working for and about certain goals and visions. It is very important to have the organization in mind when working on the mailbox exercise. Your goal is to process the e-mails as best you can. Attention is given to prioritization, but also to the way in which you process the e-mails. In some cases there are certain agreements that you should or should not accept, or you may have to delegate certain tasks to a colleague or employee. The most important things that are measured are:
- Delegating matters
- Stress resistance
- Taking responsibility
- Working efficiently
- Time management
- Overall intelligence
- Understanding of politics within the organization
Generally, a mailbox exercise lasts about an hour. The first thing to do is create a good overview of the e-mails for yourself. Start by creating a list of priorities. Assess the e-mails for importance, but also based on urgency (e.g. deadlines). Marking them might be useful in the process. A tight deadline takes priority! If a message is less important, but is still urgent, then there is always the option to delegate the task: that is the second matter that you have to assess. For example, if it is a request that concerns the acquisition of a big client, then that is very important. However, the message in this e-mail may be less urgent, so you can handle it a bit later.