Landing the Job | Group Interview Best Practices

Group interviews have become more common among employers since they’re time efficient and allow the employer to meet with several job candidates at once.  It’s a comparative approach that helps filter out weak candidates quickly. Group interviews also allow the interviewer to determine the teamwork and leadership skills of potential employees.  In order to succeed in a group interview, you must create a memorable impression and stand out amongst the pack.  Here are a few tips to get an edge on your competitors.

Interact with Other Applicants—But Don’t Argue Over Questions.
Introduce yourself to the other candidates when you arrive in the interview room, instead of waiting for them to give an introduction.  Taking a proactive approach will show the interviewer that you’re a team player.  A group interview is an opportunity for the employer to assess your teamwork skills, so they’ll be taking note of which candidates are more proactive.  Participate in the discussion, but don’t be too dominating.  You want your voice to be heard, but do not interrupt or argue with the other candidates. It’s okay to disagree with what another candidate is saying, but avoid attacking them.

The “Yes, and” approach can be very valuable here. For example, if one of the other candidates gives an answer that the best way to solve XYZ is ABC, but you think of an alternate solution that might actually work better, try saying the following:  “Yes, I agree that solution ABC would work great, and I also think that if you did ______, you could solve the problem even quicker.”  This shows that you’re taking the other candidate’s idea into consideration and not automatically discounting them like you would if you said “Yes, but”.  Remember, you want to give answers that will support the team, not just try to “one up” everyone.

Remember Proper Interview Etiquette.
Even though a group interview may seem a little more laid back and less formal than a one-on-one interview, your etiquette is still extremely important—arguably even more so.  The interviewer wants to see a strong candidate that can behave properly and look presentable in a workplace.  Not only does the interview scrutinize the following things, they have other people in the room to compare you against.

  • Appearance: How you dress, groom yourself, etc. will be judged.  Make sure you wear proper interview attire, and look well put together.  Even though they would probably never admit it, how your appearance rates against the other candidates in the room will play in to their hiring decision.  Don’t be remembered as the guy who looked sloppy or the girl whose skirt was too short.  Dress to impress.
  • Body language: The interviewer will pay attention to how your present yourself.  Try not to slouch or fidget.  Make sure to introduce yourself and offer a firm handshake when you walk into the room.
  • Interest Level: Just like in a regular interview, the interviewer will try to assess throughout the conversation how interested you are in the job.  Therefore, it’s important to not look bored or disengaged at any point in the duration of the interview.
  • Thank You Note: A surprising number of candidates neglect to follow up with a thank you note after a group interview.  Even if you didn’t have their undivided attention, the interviewers still took time to meet with you, and you should send them a follow up note to thank them for their time.

Answer Questions by Speaking to the Entire Interview Panel.
Don’t just speak directly to the interviewer when answering questions.  As previously discussed, a big purpose of the group interview is to assess how you communicate and work within a team environment.  Ignoring the fact that other candidates are present will only make you seem egotistical and uncooperative. A group interview is supposed to be an open conversation, so you want to add value to the discussion—not take away from it.

Remain Interested When another Applicant is Speaking.
Listen carefully to what the other candidates say when they’re answering questions.  Take note of good points they make, so you can effectively add on to what they’re saying.  This demonstrates openness and the willingness to learn from others.  If you feel someone gives a great response, acknowledge them for doing so.  Try your best to remember the names of the other applicants during introductions.  Addressing them by name when adding on to a point they made or commending them on a great answer demonstrates that you’re attentive and personable.  Most importantly, don’t ever interrupt another candidate or try to make their answers wrong.  Being disrespectful will get you noticed, but not in a good way.

The best way to stand out in a group interview is to showcase your skills and background, without being a bossy, know-it-all.  As long as you keep the above tips in mind, you’re well on your way to acing any group interview.

If you have more questions about the interview process or are looking to get your foot in the door at some of the hottest companies in Northeast Ohio, Area Temps is the resource for you.  Our team of skilled recruiters will find a job that best suits your career goals. Contact us today and you could be staring your new career tomorrow.

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