Career Advice

5 Tips to Nail a Group Interview

3
min read
Vera Chan

What is a Group Interview?

A group interview is different from a panel interview. A panel interview is an interview whereby you will be the sole focus and the only candidate. There may be multiple interviewers but you will be the only interviewee.

In a group interview, there are multiple candidates. There can also be multiple interviewers. In this setting, you are up against other candidates that have made the cut. You can expect them to be equally qualified and experienced for the role. The key is standing out in your own way. That does not mean tooting your own horn, but there are tactics to standing your own ground. Showcase what you can bring to the table in the most well-mannered but memorable way.

Why is Group Interviews Used?

Time is money. In a group interview session, a hiring manager can easily identify key candidates. They can fast whittle down players to one or a few. A group interview may be used in cases where there are several positions available. If customer service is a key part of a role, a group interview may also be used in this instance. Why? Because it shows first-hand how you interact with other candidates professionally.

An employer can kill many birds with one stone in the hiring process from just one session. This saves both time and money for the interviewers involved.

2 Types of Group Interviews

This is the time where job interviewers see how you react to others. They want to see that you are adaptable and that you are cooperative. Demonstrate how you would work in a team by being forthright but not cocky, clear, and not waffly. Articulation shows good communication and leadership is key without dominating the scene.

Turn-Taking

You could be sat amongst other candidates in a room where the hiring manager asks the same question. As mundane as this is, it is important to stay sharp and to listen. This will help you refine your answer when it comes to your turn. You can also use this opportunity to call upon other ideas mentioned before you. Without stepping on toes, mention the name of the other candidate that talked about 'x'. You can then continue to elaborate from there without seeming as if you've just hijacked a point. Listen and learn.

Team-Building Activities

In this scenario, you may be given a problem along with other candidates to work together as a team to solve. The employer may sit back and watch until the end before asking questions, such as 'why did you choose to do x and x?' During the process, the hiring manager may monitor how you handle possible conflicts. They will also take a look at how you cooperate as a team.

2 Skills to Help You Succeed in a Group Interview

So how do you create a positive, lasting impression? There are two key points to bear in mind.

Be Calm & Collected

Be friendly but also cool. What does this mean? It means, be approachable but not overly chatty and cocky. And whatever you do, do not make jokes. Do not try to be the funny guy. this could easily backfire. Just be yourself and be natural. Walk into a room with humble confidence.

Listen & Think Before You Speak

The plus of being in a group interview is learning from others. What you want to do is listen intently to how they are phrasing certain things, and you can see if you can add to that. Top it without stealing an idea as your own by mentioning who talked about it, and then say you would like to add more. This is where it helps to remember other candidates' names. You will impress by showing your memory and professional skills to remember individuals.

Group Interview Tips

Do not try to sabotage somebody else's chances of success in the interview. It is not your job to do so and will reflect badly on you. You want to shine on your own. Strike a balance between listening and speaking, so that you are not dominating the floor. Give others the opportunity to speak, but also show the employer what sets you apart.

1. Break the Ice

Get to know the competition. You never know if they could be your future peers or co-workers. Get to know them before the group interview starts. This means that if you were to be given a team-building exercise, you will have already broken the ice. Problem-solving will become more seamless to manage between the candidates.

2. Show You Are a Leader

Know how to support another candidate, but also how to take charge. A natural reflection of leadership entails allowing others to vocalise their thoughts. But it also means elaborating on this further in a clear and concise manner. Take charge but also know when to hold back if it is not your turn.

3. Body Language

Nail basic interactions. This means eye contact and an open stance that shows you are approachable and not closed. Shake hands where it makes sense and do not look at the floor or flit your eyes around when talking. Look at the person you are talking to, be it the interviewer or a fellow candidate.

4. Take Notes

Show that you are listening intently and learning from others by taking notes. This also makes sense when multiple questions and answers are flying around. Draw from what you have heard to refine your answer before you present it in the most articulate way. Speak when it is your turn or monitor the environment before you interject. But Never cut somebody off.

5. Be Polite

Do not forget your manners. Be courteous to fellow competitors as well as the interviewers themselves. This means going back to the basics, saying 'please' and 'thank you and shake hands with the hiring managers. If you are sitting down in a room and need to grab a chair, take one for the person next to you too.

The Takeaway

Maintaining grace and professionalism in a group interview is paramount. You also want to build positive relationships early, even if they are short-lived. The interactions you build before and during the group interview can help you.

Once you have had your interview and are waiting to hear back, read 'Why it can Take a While to Hear Back from an Interview'. Reduce your concerns and understand the reasons behind why there may be a bit of a wait.

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