Trainee Blog: Get Group Exercise Ready

Michelmores' spring assessment days are fast approaching. Group assessments are notoriously the least predictable aspect of any assessment day, owing to both the variety of scenarios you could face and the approaches of the other applicants you are grouped with. With that in mind, here are my five top tips for the group exercise:

Communicate

Try and express your ideas in a way which is clear, confident, and concise. Bear in mind that although it can be tempting to keep pushing your own ideas, listening is also a crucial aspect of communication. 'Active listening' which involves listening to others, understanding their points and responding can show assessors that you are engaged with others in the group and that you are able to work as part of a team.

Remember the Purpose

Keep the purpose of the group exercise at the front of your mind. The exercise allows assessors to measure and observe your ability to work in a team, contribute, delegate, think creatively and solve problems. Consider these aspects when deciding how best to approach the exercise and ensure that you do your best to display these traits.

Georgie Lewis (recruitment business partner) adds "the group exercise is a great opportunity for assessors to see how you work with others to deliver a team objective, how you approach a piece of work and your ability to ensure you deliver a high-quality end product".

Be inclusive

Always try to improve the group dynamic. This could be including everyone in the discussion or suggesting compromises between two opposing ideas. Whilst there are undoubtedly going to be quieter members of the group, encouraging these individuals by asking for their input by name could help them to feel more confident. Supporting others' ideas and successes within the team will also help to keep morale up. That being said – don't be afraid to challenge other people's ideas if you can do so in a constructive way which helps push the group forward.

Adrian Bennett (second year trainee) adds "when people tried to dominate the conversation, myself and a few others in the group started inviting applicants who were a bit quieter to speak – this definitely seemed to go down well".

Take a role

Taking a role can help you find your place in the group. This doesn't have to be a leadership role – good alternatives are volunteering as a timekeeper, notetaker or presenter. The important thing is not to restrict yourself to this role at the expense of your participation in the exercise.

George Carey (first year trainee) adds "though it is a good idea to show your organisational skills, being the timekeeper shouldn't distract you from involving yourself in the discussion".

Think Commercially

You will have to demonstrate commercial awareness at all other stages of the assessment process, so be mindful not to forget about it here. Try to think outside the box - you can use any research or knowledge that you may have accumulated when preparing for the day when you approach the exercise. If you can apply your understanding of the firm to the task - all the better!

Tegan Osborne-Brown (second year trainee) adds "the assessors were always most impressed when my group were aware of how both law firms and their clients operate within a wider economic, social and environmental backdrop, and not just the legal arena".

I wish you all the best of luck with your group exercise on your assessment days and look forward to seeing those attending the Michelmores summer vacation scheme.