What is an Analysis Exercise?
Analysis exercises are most commonly used at assessment centres, as opposed to online, as they involve lots of pieces of paper. The candidate is presented with lots of information from various different sources, relating to a business problem. Some documents may not be related at all but are simply there as red herrings. For example the candidate might be asked to write a briefing note (no more than one A4 page) on how to proceed after a hostile take-over approach. In this example the candidate might be given information on the fictional company being approached, company reports, analysts’ reports, internal memos, proposed legislation changes, market research results, news articles. The task is then to weigh up the facts, make a decision, and justify the reasoning behind it.
Analysis exercises are common because they are a good way of predicting how a candidate might perform in the work-place; analysis exercises bare a close resemblance to the challenging decisions many people face at work. As with all assessment centre exercises the idea is to simulate as closely as possible the stresses and strains of the role, to see how the candidate might react in real life. Analysis exercises will be tailored to the company you are applying to, to make them relevant. Whilst companies can buy off-the-shelf analysis exercises, many companies will design their own bespoke exercises to closely reflect the decisions employees have to tackle.
Analysis exercises are usually in written format (indeed they are often referred to as written exercises) but analysis exercises are popular with employers because they lend themselves to being used as a presentation exercise. For example the candidate might be asked to present their recommendations to an interview panel.