The fifth and last part of this series of posts is dedicated to the role playing exercise. The role playing is used to simulate – and often exaggerate – real life work experiences which you may come across if you are offered the position, and to assess how you would react to them. More than any other exercise, the role playing aims to test your ability to think on your feet and deliver results under pressure. The reason is that you are now dealing with your assessors face to face, which eliminates your chances of correcting mistakes or hiding your discomfort. Common scenarios in role playing include interaction with demanding clients or students, difficult colleagues or stringent managers.
Here are a few tips to do well:
1) Focus on delivering results: As mentioned above, the situations you are given to face as part of the role playing task may be purposefully exaggerated, in order to add to the tension you are already feeling. Your assessors will add difficulties as they will want to see how easily you give up, so prove them wrong. Never give up and try to find ways to resolve the situation no matter how difficult it is. Your aim should be for the difficult “client”, “colleague” or “manager” to feel satisfied.
2) Keep calm: Role playing can indeed be quite nerve-wracking, but don’t give in. Stay calm and keep your composure even in a challenging scenario. If you break down and let your stress and/or discomfort show, this can be as serious as to disqualify you for the position, as your assessors will get the impression that you can’t stand pressure.
3) Never lose your temper: Another challenge of a role playing exercise is that it can make you lose your temper. Especially if someone is yelling at you throwing offenses, it can be quite tough not to return the bad behaviour. But don’t fall in this trap. It is just role playing after all. If you can’t keep your composure in what you know is a staged task, then your assessor will have every right to think that you can be ten times worse if something similar happens in real life.
4) Mind your body language: Just like in an interview, your body language in the role playing will matter. Keep good eye contact, maintain a confident body position, avoid fidgeting or showing nervousness, and remember to smile when appropriate. This will help you come across as a positive and suitable candidate.