Acing the Group Exercise

25 Jan 2023, 13:32

At Fidelity International, we often have feedback from candidates that knowing how to show up in a group exercise is the hardest. Here are our top tips to help you ace the group exercise!

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At Fidelity International, we often have feedback from candidates that knowing how to show up in a group exercise is the hardest. If you encounter a group exercise during a recruitment process, remember this; we want to know that you’d be a good colleague, and that you can work with other people! We haven’t designed our process to catch you out - in fact, we want you to come in feeling prepared and confident. So, here are our top tips:

Is it a collaborative or competitive situation?

  • The answer is… both!
  • It is important to balance being collaborative with taking the lead.
  • You want to show that you would be a good colleague: That you can take responsibility when appropriate, but also that you can support others, listen to different people’s point of view, and bring people together.
  • If you end up taking the lead, try and involve quieter group members; taking control does not mean bulldozing people. It can actually mean checking in with everyone and ensuring they’ve had the opportunity for their voice to be heard.
  • There are different ways to show leadership & collaboration: communicate your ideas clearly, Be authentic - don’t say what you think we want to hear, Be respectful: Listen and discuss others’ ideas/opinions, even when you don’t agree with them.
  • You do not need to be an official ‘leader’, scribe, or timekeeper in order to show leadership.

Show off your storytelling skills:

When presenting back on case studies, or talking through your opinion on information, try and do so with good structure. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to build a complicated PowerPoint deck! What you want to do is provide a roadmap for your interviewer to follow.

Here’s a guide - remember to adapt this to suit the task you’ve been given:

  • Quick introduction: What have you been asked to do? What steps have you taken, and what are you trying to come to - a recommendation, an evaluation?
  • Your key insights and findings - and where did they come from?
  • Solutions considered, solutions dismissed and why - What did you consider as a possible solution based off your insights and findings? Link this to your commercial and cultural understanding of the business - e.g. ‘I thought about reducing headcount by 30% but that doesn’t fit with the people-led values of this company and is out of step with your current approach’.
  • Final solution - So what is your recommendation, or evaluation? Again, link this explicitly to your key insights and findings, any data you’ve been given, and any knowledge you have of the commercial or cultural reality of the employer.
  • Recap and conclude - Summarise everything you’ve just spoken about and remind us of your final solution.

Don’t forget, in a group exercise, you will often be presenting together! Remember all of the advice around collaboration when you decide who will lead what portion; don’t structure your own points well and leave others to struggle.


Be brave - if you don’t participate, it will be difficult for an assessor to award you marks. We know it might feel daunting, but we are aware that you might be nervous, and we want you to do well!

Be Enthusiastic:

In a strengths-based assessment, which is what we use at Fidelity International, demonstrating engagement and motivation is key. This can be done through:

  • What you say – using enthusiastic language such as explicitly telling us you are excited or curious, or that you find something interesting.
  • Positive Facial expressions - smiling, eye contact
  • Positive Body Language - lean forward, nodding, open body language rather than slumping in your chair or having your arms crossed

Please know that we also understand that not everyone demonstrates enthusiasm in the same way. As a disability confident leader, we encourage you to talk to us about any disabilities or long-term health conditions that you might have. We can discuss reasonable adjustments with you, and account for this in the interview setting.

You can also demonstrate enthusiasm and engagement by showing that you have done your research, prepared great questions, and have detailed and specific examples to draw on. Very few people would practice in that level of detail if they weren’t excited about a role!

Be Yourself!

We have a strengths-based process at Fidelity International because we want you to feel free to be yourself. Don’t pretend you understand something you don’t or are amazing at something which you find difficult. Don’t force yourself to be super loud and outgoing during a group exercise, if that’s not how you’re comfortable behaving - again, there’s lots of different ways to show enthusiasm and leadership.

When interviewing, you want to decide whether a role or programme will suit you as much as we want to know that you will be suited to our role or programme. The skills that are needed for one role are not needed for every role - and it is in no way a personal failure, or a commentary on your value as a person, to decide that your strengths are better used elsewhere.

We hope you now feel prepared to ace your group exercise! Don’t forget to check out the wide range of opportunities we have at Fidelity International - there really is something for everyone.

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