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Whats an ' In tray test' - interview next week

(22 Posts)
shoptilidrop Wed 29-Oct-08 12:47:57


Ive got a job interview next week for the council next week, but half an hour before im due to meet the pannel, ive an In tray test. Does anyone have any idea what this involves???


ruddynoraaaaaaggggggghhhhh Wed 29-Oct-08 12:49:09

it's to do with prioritising and organising. what's the exact role? it may also involve proof reading.

MamaG Wed 29-Oct-08 12:49:46

I don't know but I like the sound of it blush

Tinkerisdead Wed 29-Oct-08 12:49:54

ive had an intray exercise before. i was left in a room with some documents like emails, charts etc. i had to read the documents and then respond appropriatley. mine was respond to an email, planning someones day meetings etc and sending them a schedule and some analysis on the previous days results and where we should focus in the following week. it was more about reading and processing information effectively.

TheSwarovskiCrystalsGoat Wed 29-Oct-08 12:50:29

i suspect it is a prioritisation type test. you have half an hour in the office you have a lis tof tasks how do you prioritise etc. i.e. if there are some things tht can be delayed and some quick tasks how do you go about sorting them. (i am only guessing you should probably phone up and ask)

Tinkerisdead Wed 29-Oct-08 12:51:04

i actually also had this laptop where software would send me email after email but i realised that was to put me off as the key info was in the documents but it was to see if i would sit responding to the emails rather than the key tasks of the day

WideWebWitch Wed 29-Oct-08 12:53:33

I've had one.

you're given a scenario, mine was that I worked for a radio station whose audience was 50 somethings iirc. You then had to go through the in tray items and decide what to do with each one and explain why. They were things like an offer to advertise something for a 20 something market (declined that one), a request from your boss (prioritised that one), some irrelevant stuff etc.

I quite enjoyed it but when I took mine I hadn't worked for a while so it was a break from small children! I didn't get the job but I'm pretty sure I did ok on the test.

The main thing to do is keep an eye on the time, read all the stuff before deciding what to do (some of it may be related). And make sure you delegate it where appropriate. Good luck!

soapbox Wed 29-Oct-08 12:53:55

The key thing they are looking for is appropriate delegation - making use of your team but keeping close to the output. So instead of writing 'Joe pick this up' - you write - 'Joe pick this up and fix a meeting with me next week to discuss progress.'

There is usually one task in there that is very high priority and which needs to be done by you. You need to spot what it is and make sure you prioritise it.

Some of the tasks are longer term things so you just need to schedule in time to do it.

Bink Wed 29-Oct-08 13:05:17

Never had this myself but have heard it used (at in both cases a rather high-pressure level) as interview technique for the BBC and the Treasury .... great big pile of stuff, vague task guideline (BBC's one was Obituary of Specified Famous Person by Yesterday Please) and then you're left to spin the straw into gold.

Dh was the Treasury one and he had a lovely time, merrily binning armfulls of paper while he homed in on what mattered. They took him.

shoptilidrop Wed 29-Oct-08 13:06:41

oh, doesnt sound too bad then. I just hope i can see a bit better, as im having problems with my left eye at the momment, and cant really focus!

shoptilidrop Wed 29-Oct-08 13:07:47

This is not a high pressure job though...

its a 15 hour per week, maternity cover admin thing..... LOL

Bink Wed 29-Oct-08 13:09:12

Of course - sorry - what I meant was that the BBC/Treasury's version of the test was high-pressure. Not that yours would be, or that these things always are.

I was meaning "don't be scared by these examples, they're the utter extreme of the idea"

flowerybeanbag Wed 29-Oct-08 13:12:58

If it's an administrative job it will probably be a few tasks of the type you would normally encounter as part of the job, to test your letter-writing skills, proficiency at using software, Excel, Powerpoint or whatever, and prioritisation as well.

Just to add, if you will struggle because your sight isn't good at the moment, you should ask them to make adjustments - print instructions in large type or whatever you will need.

shoptilidrop Wed 29-Oct-08 13:15:56

will that not make it less likely that i will get the job?? Ive an opticions appt on friday, so am sorting it out.. but i doubt it will be sorted by wed ( interview day).

flowerybeanbag Wed 29-Oct-08 13:59:27

No it shouldn't do. They will be used to making adjustments where people have some kind of disability.

I know you may not consider this a disability because it's temporary, but my point it is won't be unusual or difficult for them to alter things slightly. If you would struggle to do the test otherwise definitely do mention it.

RuthT Wed 29-Oct-08 20:20:46

Some in tray's also have linked info. So just be aware as you read through stuff to note if you have already read something on the same subject so you don't duplicate effort

somersetmum Wed 29-Oct-08 20:26:23

I have done one for a council job.

I had to prioritise a list of tasks, giving reasons for the order I gave.

I was warned that I would be interrupted by a phonecall at some point. I was telephoned by a member of the interview panel posing as a customer.

LoveBeingAMummy Fri 31-Oct-08 06:37:53

Does anyone have a sample of a test like this - had an idea for when I go back to work and would like to inflict develop and support my team grin

DavidWCP Wed 17-Oct-12 15:02:16

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

notcitrus Wed 17-Oct-12 15:06:36

The ones I've done usually have a sneaky page near the bottom saying 'project X cancelled' or 'meeting delayed' - worth having a very quick flick through all subject lines to ensure not wasting effort.

flowery Wed 17-Oct-12 15:10:08

As the OPs interview was in 2008 I imagine she probably won't be back to update us on how it went...

squeaver Wed 17-Oct-12 15:15:29

You see, David, this is what happens when your social media strategy uses "search" as a blunt instrument. Better luck next time.

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