Job-Simulation Exercises

Having candidates complete exercises similar to what they’d be doing on the job can give you a good idea of how they would perform if hired. This list of sample exercises tests for specific qualities. 

Position Must-have Sample Exercise
COO Critical thinking, writing Observe the organization in action (delivering a training session, staging a rally, holding a hearing, etc.) and propose recommendations for improvement in a 2-3 page memo
Manager of programs Strategic thinking Read and analyze a set of goals and objectives and come up with recommendations to pursue
Director of communications Public speaking, judgment Rehearse a press conference or a call with a reporter about a controversial program we support
Manager of a small- or medium-sized department General management, staff supervision Simulate giving positive and corrective feedback to a supervisee
Fundraising associate Persuasive communication Write a brief funding proposal or cover letter to a donor
Special events associate Organization/project management Develop a project plan for an annual conference
Director of policy and advocacy Strategic thinking, interpersonal skills Sit in on a meeting with a potential partner organization. Afterwards, give feedback including a recommendation on whether and how to engage with them
Senior associate for policy and advocacy Ability to explain complex ideas in a simple way Produce a visual outlining key players in the healthcare industry and the relationships among them
Research associate Strategic thinking, writing Write a memo on how a specific change in legislation might affect state support for low-income families
Trainer Presentation and teaching skills Make a short presentation teaching a skill of your choice (how to write a grant, how to create a work plan, how to plan a conference, etc.)
Executive assistant Fast-paced, attention to detail Complete 15-minute scheduling exercise involving multiple meeting requests