Group interviews are becoming a more common hiring practice as companies place greater emphasis on teamwork and communication skills in addition to basic competencies.
There are two types of group interview.
The first, more correctly called a panel interview, involves a team of employees interview an applicant at the same time.
The second type of interview, which we will discuss here, is an interview that includes multiple applicants for the same position being interviewed together.
What to expect in a group interview.
Obviously, different companies will host group interviews in different ways but…
- You may receive a presentation about the company and the position.
- You may be asked to introduce yourself, explaining a little bit about you and your background.
- An open discussion may take place where you’ll be asked the common interview questions.
- Or, you might be asked to take part in group activities.
As you would imagine, group interviews can be incredible competitive and could make or break your hiring chances.
Getting off on the right foot.
The first few minutes of a group interview usually involve ice-breakers and warm ups.
The interviewers will probably introduce themselves and you’ll probably introduce yourself.
Make sure you maintain good eye contact at this point and SMILE. You have to stand out from everyone else and the more nervy people in the group will be pretty obvious.
Also, make sure you look like you are listening attentively. Give the presenter some non-verbal feedback by nodding your head, establishing eye contact and maintain open body language.
Do your homework.
Do your research before the group interview just as you would for a one-on-one interview.
Learn about the company from its website as well as trade publications, news reports and marketing material like brochures.
You should also have a think about what it is like to work at the company by reviewing blogs or other social networking sites maintained by key employees.
These will give a good idea of the company culture and what key staff members are like.
In the group interview, you want to appear to be similar to the current employees. Your subtle message is “I would fit in here.”
Remain calm and collected.
As with any other interview, it is really important to stay calm (or at least look calm…)
When you introduce yourself, act relaxed and speak clearly and slowly.
Look at each person around the table while you speak and don’t forget to smile.
Stand out favourably.
Remember, throughout the interviewing process, all the interviewer wants to know is:
- Can they do the job? Make sure you talk about your skills, whenever you can.
- Will they work hard? Show your passion with research and enthusiasm.
- Will they fit in? Show this with your great, friendly personality!
So keep this in mind when you’re answering any of the questions they throw at you.
You should also be willing to step up and ask meaningful questions at the first opportunity.
This will show that you’ve done your research and you’re really interested in the job and that you’re confident enough to step up in front of others.
It’s also important to…
…treat your fellow job candidates with respect. No one will want to hire someone who’s overly competitive or who is a bit of a trouble-maker.
- While other candidates are introducing themselves, asking or answering questions, you should be interested and supportive.
- If you work on group tasks, even if you do take a leadership role, give everyone else a chance to speak up and give their ideas.
- Never interrupt, (overly) criticize or disrespect other interviewees.
Remember, one of the main goals of the group interview is to assess your ability to work well with others.
The group interview is similar to any other interview really…
- Be confident, calm and collected (or at least act it).
- Do your homework.
- Dress professionally.
The major difference is that a group interview gives interviewers unique insight into how well you work as a team and/or how well you get on with others.
So it’s pretty important to show how bloody great you are working with others.
If you’d like to read more job-seeking tips, click here to subscribe to our Candidate Blog today!
Good luck with your interview!