The purpose of the in-tray exercise is to see how well you are able to deal with
a ‘typical days’ in-tray for the role which you have applied.
Assessors want to see how well your decisions match those of a
‘good manager or executive’ in their organisation. So with well
researched knowledge, sound preparation and practice you should
find one of the answers provided that most closely matches your
It is vital that you remember the exercise is designed to show the Assessors at your Assessment Centre how well you perform the key tasks which they have identified as essential for the role. You must be able to show your ability:
When performing an in-tray exercise you must prepare you mindset so that you are thinking as if you were a member of the organisation already. The best way you can achieve this is by maximising your score during this exercise. The best way to do this is to complete the majority, if not all, of the tasks set you. To do this you must develop your skill in quickly and accurately evaluating information provided and in your ability to form a comprehensive overview of a multi-situational environment.
As you practice in-tray exercises you will improve your reading
and evaluations skills so that you are able to quickly assess and
draw out key points from the in-tray items. You will learn to
identify the key strategic and management issues (often hidden
within text or administrative details) that enable you to select
the best answer to give you maximum marks for the question. A
vital part of your preparation must be well research information
on the organisation you wish to join so that you have a clear
understanding of their ethos, management style and mission. Armed
with this knowledge you can then ensure that your behaviours and
answers reflect this and show you to be the best candidate for the
If your in-tray exercise includes a ‘Justification’ aspect you will have the opportunity to point across your own view point and your reasoning for it. But remember to only use the information you have been provided with do not draw your own conclusions and do not be afraid to say you’d want further information before you made a final decision. During the justification you must present a well reasoned and argued point of view to support your answer; in this way you will maximise your final score.
You may also be interested in:
How should I approach the in-tray exercise?
Do all in-tray exercises include a justification section?
Does it matter if I don’t complete the in-tray exercise?
What if I don’t fully agree with any of the in-tray exercise answers?
Is it acceptable to choose ‘none of the above’ as in in-tray exercise answer?
Will I have the opportunity to discuss or justify my in-tray exercise answers?
What should I do if there is insufficient information to answer an in-tray question? and
How should I deal with in-tray items that conflict?