Program Advisor Simulation (758)

As of June 30, 2023, this simulation exercise will no longer be available.  


The Program Advisor Simulation (758) provides rich and unique information on 9 key competencies needed for program advisor jobs. These are non-managerial positions at the level equivalent to that of a middle manager. It gives the hiring manager an opportunity to observe individuals dealing directly with different issues and challenges.

The information yielded on the different competencies assessed can be highly useful in selecting or promoting people to advisory positions. It can help to establish the needs for training and development of current employees for organizational training, and for counselling for career transitions.

What Competencies are Assessed

The simulation assesses 9 key competencies:

  • Communication
  • Thinking Skills
  • Action Management
  • Team Coordination
  • Consultation Skills
  • Effective Interpersonal Relationships
  • Initiative
  • Judgement
  • Flexibility

How the Simulation Works

The Program Advisor Simulation (758) simulates the important aspects of a program advisor's job. The simulation requires handling a variety of problems involving services and programs, production, decreasing resources, irregularities in performance labour relations, clientele, management information systems, and policy.

Before the assessment, the individual receives background information on a simulated organization, including a description of the organization's purpose and function, organization charts, and specific responsibilities. The individual should study the information carefully and bring it to the next phase of the assessment.

At the time of the assessment, the individual receives specific problems requiring the program advisor's attention and action. These are presented in the form of memos, reports, minutes of management meetings, descriptions of problems, special studies, written complaints from clientele, directives, policies, and other file information.

The individual is given 3 hours to:

  • identify organizational problems, propose recommendations leading to possible solutions, and explore the implications of these recommendations;
  • complete a three-page written summary of proposed recommendations and solutions;
  • prepare a 30-minute oral presentation.

The oral presentation is usually followed by a period of questioning by selection board members.

The actions and decisions taken by the individual in handling the problems presented in the simulation are evaluated in terms of their effectiveness within the context of the organization, and the information provided in the simulation material.

Ratings are based on the individual's behaviour, decisions and approaches. Ratings are on a scale from 1 to 7, with 4 being “meets expectations”.

Definitions of Competencies

Communication – Presents and discusses concepts and issues in a clear, concise, and effective manner, both orally and in writing.

Thinking Skills – Identifies, defines, and analyses problems and situations using rational and intuitive processes that result in the drawing of accurate conclusions, the generation of viable solutions, and the visualization of new potentials.

Action Management – Achieving expected results through appropriate planning and prioritizing, effective decision-making, and timely completion of activities.

Team Coordination – Develops and maintains a cohesive team that works to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization in a timely and effective manner.

Consultation Skills – Consults and advises others using listening skills, empathy, and persuasion to effectively communicate and receive messages which advance the organization's objectives.

Effective Interpersonal Relationships – Interacts with others in ways that advance the work of the organization by developing respect, mutual understanding, and productive working relationships.

Initiative – Actively and enthusiastically attempts to influence events.

Judgement – Uses appropriate strategies to achieve objectives, considering the situation, the issues and the persons involved. Reaches sound decisions and takes wise courses of action.

Flexibility – Demonstrates sensitivity to the environment by changing style and responding with new approaches as needed to deal with the demands of changed conditions.

Candidate Information

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