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in tray exercises - what on earth are they?

(13 Posts)
fizzledizzle Mon 03-Mar-08 16:47:30

i really could do with some advice. have just got a job interview for a position as information officer/receptionist at a sure start centre abd have been told my interview will involve one of these but have no idea what they are! anyone have any experience of them, i have been out of the job market some time and the thought of this test is quite daunting thankssmile

stealthsquiggle Mon 03-Mar-08 16:52:08

I didn't know they still existed! AFAIK it involves them handing you a "sample" in-tray (whether real on on a PC I wouldn't like to guess nowadays!) and you have to go through and decide what to bin, what to pass on (and to whom) and what to action immediately - does that make sense to you?

fizzledizzle Mon 03-Mar-08 16:55:56

yes when i looked it up on the internet itsaid they were often used for management positions and would take up to an hr but mine is only 10 minuteshmm at least i have some idea of what it is thank you

stealthsquiggle Mon 03-Mar-08 16:58:24

I guess it is at a different level to a management one - that would consist of major and minor issues, etc - yours, I imagine, will be more about routing things to the right people / deciding what you can respond to yourself?

somersetmum Mon 03-Mar-08 17:00:34

As stealshsquiggle said. I did one late last year. They gave it to me as a list of ten things you could expect to find in your in tray. You had to nominate the order you would prioritise and give reasons why.

They were things like:

You get to work to discover the computers have crashed.
A telephone message from a stroppy customer demanding you phone back immediately.
A holiday request form from a colleague.
A "return to work" interview for a colleague; company policy demands this is completed as soon as possible.
An appraisal for a colleague.
A non-urgent letter requiring a response.

fizzledizzle Mon 03-Mar-08 17:00:48

sounds simple enough.its been so long since i had a job interview that im probably panicking over nothing

JingleyJen Mon 03-Mar-08 17:00:55

One I had to do years ago had a note at the bottom saying ignore everything else and join us in the boardroom.

I was too scared to do that so whipped through everything as fast as I could before going to the boardroom, they told me I should have read the name on the memo and realised that action was more important than the others. Hey ho...

fizzledizzle Mon 03-Mar-08 17:02:04

thanks somersetmum

somersetmum Mon 03-Mar-08 17:02:59

Ooh, I forgot to add: I got interrupted by the phone ringing halfway through, thereby having to respond to a "live" call. They warned me they would do this.

fizzledizzle Mon 03-Mar-08 17:03:35

oh i hope there are no trick questions my adled brain isnt quick enough to deal with thatwink

branflake81 Tue 04-Mar-08 15:13:12

I've had a few - much more straight forward than previous posters (those tricks are mean!), just typing stuff up, putting things in a table, saying what order you'd do stuff in. I don't think they're out to trick you, just to see how you get on and how long you take.

Incidentally, I've helped out with interviews at work where candidates have had to do them and people have asked me all sorts of things (how do I print?, how do I make it bold? etc etc)...don't ask stupid questions, even to someone you think isn't on the panel because it will probably get back to them.

JustDanceAddict Wed 25-Nov-15 10:20:54

Found this from a search.
I have one of these soon for a school job and haven't had a 'proper' interview for years and have never worked in a school.
I have read up about in-tray exercises, but a lot on line relate to management position, and this is more of a support/admin role. Any recent experience of these from anyone would be great. Hope I don't get 'tricked', but I doubt it.

HopeNotFear Tue 01-Dec-15 22:22:49

I recently done an In Tray Exercise for an admin job in the finance sector. Our exercise consisted of 4 different emails in our I imaginary in-box, and for the first 3 we had to decide which priority to give them, what we would do and who would be involved. For the last email, we had to reply by email to the customer. We had 30 mins to finish the exercise and we had to write down our answers, not a PC in sight!

The excercise wasn't difficult, but I only just finished it as I ended up writing essays for the first 3 emails. On reflection, bullet points would have been more better & quicker to get down. That said, I couldn't have been that bad as I've been invited for an interview, next week, eek!

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