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HR Trends

Benefits of Simulation Exercises in Recruitment

eye 1124 Published on 20 Apr. 2011
tag #Skill development

For many companies, simulation exercises are becoming standard practice during the recruitment process. In the past, they were primarily used to assess technical expertise, but nowadays, they evaluate behavioural skills.

Speaking and listening abilities, stress management, leadership... These behavioural skills are increasingly appreciated by employers. These traits are generally hard to assess but it can be useful to examine them using hypothetical situation exercises. The objective is not to determine which reactions are right or wrong – it is to observe the candidates' natural responses to a given situation. Using simulations, recruiters can measure abilities and discover the hidden potential of prospective employees.

Group exercises

Simulation exercises involving groups are well-suited for young professionals and managers. They are often used by recruitment firms during the early stages of the recruitment process. Group exercises are also useful for testing teams who must be highly interactive. Here's how it works: three to five candidates must execute a pre-defined task. It could be about reaching a consensus, making a collective decision, or working as a team. These simulation exercises are quite time-consuming so we recommend you use them only with candidates who have passed the initial screening stage.

In-basket tests

While in-basket tests were mostly used to assess very specific skills, they have greatly evolved over the past few years. These hands-on tests, which are accessible online, are well suited for experienced executives and other senior staff. The most common example would be the "sort the mail" exercise. As the candidate executes the task, he or she is evaluated on setting priorities, getting organised, and reacting under pressure.


This popular type of simulation exercise is appropriate for all positions. Role-plays are often intuitively used during interviews. They provide insights about technical and behavioural skills which may be essential for certain positions. For example, when hiring for a sales position, the recruiter could endorse the role of a difficult client to see how the candidate responds.

Serious games

"Moonshield" from Thales, "Ace Manager" from BNP Paribas, "Reveal" from L'Oréal... Serious games are a hit with big companies. These virtual stylised simulations, which run along the same lines as video games, are a recent concept in simulation techniques. Their purpose: to help companies identify candidates who have the required skills for their particular business. Serious games are often used at a pre-recruitment stage and are effective in attracting university graduates and IT professionals. Serious games help companies reach a wider public and build a pool of talent which fit their needs.


Mariya Jilinskaya,
Head of Research and Development at Central Test

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