Job Simulation Exercises

Last updated: April 25, 2018
Estimated reading time: 1.5 min

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 (e.g., 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 direct report. In the follow-up, ask them how they might approach this conversation if the candidate and their direct report were working across lines of difference and power.
Communications associate Writing, racial equity and inclusion competence Share a newsletter or email blast and ask for their suggested edits, with at least 2 recommendations for ways to be more explicit about the organization’s commitment to racial justice
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 (e.g., 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.

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