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.
|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
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Strategic thinking, writing
|Write a memo on how a specific change in legislation might affect state support for low-income families.
|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.).
|Fast-paced, attention to detail
|Complete 15-minute scheduling exercise involving multiple meeting requests.