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Written tests

The written test you’ll be asked to complete usually reflects the sort of activity you will be required to perform in the role you are applying for and may involve writing an essay, email, letter or report on a given topic. You may also sometimes be asked to proofread, review or summarise a document.

Tasks typically last 40 to 60 minutes, and assess your common sense, comprehension and written communication skills. They Ensure that you read all the instructions and materials carefully.


Interview presentations are becoming a regular part of hiring practice and can be the final element of a group task or, in this case, as a lead in to one of the interviews you’ll have. You’ll be given some material to read which can be in advance of the day, for a more senior role, or more typically be a short news article or other type of report on the day itself. You’ll be asked to make a brief presentation that demonstrates your understanding of the topic and communication skills. No prior knowledge is required.

Finally, you may be asked to simply provide a five minute presentation on a topic of your choice and interest.

In-tray/e-tray exercises

In-tray/e-tray exercises are designed to simulate a real work situation. You will be given relevant information on the organisation and the role you are taking on during the exercise, and an in-tray of paperwork or an email inbox (some information will be crucial, others more trivial) and asked to work through it within a time limit. This might include drafting replies, delegating tasks, and recommending actions for example.

Assessors will be looking at how you absorb information and make decisions under time pressure and how you prioritise your workload. Some employers may also want to know why you made certain decisions and ask you to discuss this with the assessor.

Group exercises

An assessment centre is often the final stage of the recruitment process. It is an oportunity for you to find out more about the company and role, and for the company to 'assess' you and decide if you would be a good fit for them. Find our more about the likely group tasks.