Group interviews can be a shock or a surprise. Have you ever walked in for an interview only to find yourself being interviewed along with a bunch of other candidates, in a group? Have you ever found yourself wondering how you are supposed to stand out in such group interviews?
A group interview can include multiple candidates and multiple panelists. But it is the candidates who generally find themselves unprepared: we generally expect interviews to be one on one, where candidates will be called one by one.
A company might let you know in advance about the group interview, or they might not tell you, probably to see how you react to unexpected situations.
A group interview also saves time. Sometimes, a company would interview multiple candidates in a group, all for different positions.
Group interviews are especially common in retail, hospitality industries where working with a team on a shared task is part of the job and a daily activity.
Even if you aren’t interviewing for positions in the said industries, you can be interviewed in a group to gauge the following soft-skills:
- Leadership abilities
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Listening skills
So, what are some things you can keep in mind for the possibility of a group interview?
Talking to the other candidates before the interview when you wait for your group’s turn is a good idea.
They might be vouching for the same job (although not always), but that doesn’t mean you should see them as your enemies.
Talking to co-interviewees can help establish a certain level of comfort which is necessary to engage in group and team-building exercises, which could be part of such interviews. And who knows, some of those might be your future co-workers.
The interviewer would see your communication and interpersonal skills in how you interact with your fellow interviewees, how much rapport you have been able to build in a matter of few minutes.
Proactive and Purposeful:
Being proactive is one major way to ace a group interview.
Take the initiative! Don’t wait for others to begin.
But that doesn’t mean you say something just for the sake of saying something. What we mean is speak with a purpose, and don’t wait for others to get the ball rolling. Get the discussion going and make sure to involve everyone in the discussion/activity.
But if you aren’t the kind of person to take the initiative generally, then you need to make sure you don’t put up an act.
Being yourself is important. The group interview persona might get you the job but would you be able to get the job done with your actual persona?
Many times, when someone who isn’t a natural leader tries to take on a leadership role, it can come across as uncalled for aggression.
Getting your voice heard and making your point is important, and this can be done in your own way.
Remember, they aren’t looking for the loudest voice in the room. They are looking for a sensible voice.
That brings to this very important point.
Listen to your co-interviewees. Listen to the interviewer(s).
This is an important activity which many a candidate don’t practice enough in a bid to come across as confident and the leader of the group.
You may have to answer questions based on the responses of others.
Furthermore, listening to others can help you weigh in your own responses and create comprehensive answers. Isn’t it so much better than just going on talking, only to be told that you are repeating the things the others have said?
Listening to what goes on in the discussion can help you frame your thank you email in a more personal and affable manner, by referring to particular, relevant pieces of discussions.
Isn’t it so much better than sending a generic thank you email, which would not really help you stand out?
This brings us to the next point.
Thank You Email:
Just like a regular one on one interview, it is a good idea to follow up with a thank you email.
Thank the interviewer for their time, and let them know your interest in the job.
So, apart from the regular one on one interview tips like being presentable, being prepared, being confident, these are some tips which one can use to ace that group interview, and stand out, in a positive way!