How to Prepare for a Group Interview
There are different types of job interviews, and the group interview forms one of the major types. How do you prepare for the group interview, much more how do you present yourself, so you stand out from the other candidates?
The group interview is just like other interviews you would face as a job seeker, only that, in this case, you get to be interviewed alongside other candidates.
Types of Group Interviews
Group interviews can take place in different types of settings. One variant of the group interview is where there are multiple interviewers and one job candidate. This is also sometimes called a panel interview. The panel usually consists of a human resources manager, department manager, and sometimes co-workers that you would be working with if you got the job.
In another type of group interview, multiple candidates are interviewed simultaneously, usually by a hiring manager. Job candidates are interviewed simultaneously; there are different types of formats possible during such an interview.
It’s also possible that a combination of the options above is integrated into the group interview. This means that a group of job candidates is interviewed simultaneously by a panel of different interviewers.
If you do not know which exact type of interview you’re going to get, group interviews could take you by surprise. If you’re anticipating a one-on-one interview only to find yourself amid a group of other candidates, this could be experienced as intimidating. There is, however, no need to worry; we will provide you with all the information you need.
Why do employers use Group Interviews?
There are multiple reasons why employers use group interviews. The most important reason is that the method of interviewing multiple candidates is very effective and efficient; it allows the interviewer to conduct multiple interviews at the same time, which saves them both time and money than if they were to do it individually.
Employers might choose a panel of interviewers because it allows the panel members to get to know the job candidate at the same time. This is efficient because the different people who the candidate will work with (should they get the job) are introduced to him or her simultaneously.
Another reason for employers to use group interviews is to analyze how the participating job candidates work with others. It’s also a great opportunity for them to see how you react in certain situations. This will give them a clear indication of how much a candidate will fit into the culture of the company and work well within their team.
So when are group interviews used? Good question. Think of job positions that are high-stress and fast-paced or jobs that require working in a team intensively to achieve certain goals. It’s of high importance that people who fulfill these positions are able to react quickly to certain situations. Group interviews are also used for positions that include heavy customer interaction.
To sum up, group interviews are used, because:
- It is a cost-effective and efficient means of conducting interviews. You can imagine that being able to interview 10 to 20 people at the same time saves time and money in comparison to one-on-one interviews.
- It gives the interviewers quick insights into the personality and suitability of the job candidates in front of them.
- By gaining quick insights and seeing people performing in a group, it gives the interviewers the possibility to compare the job candidates.
- The ability to interview a group of people at the same time makes it possible for companies who need to hire large numbers of employees quickly to simplify and optimize the interview process.
- Interviewing in groups allows employers to view and analyze candidates in an environment that resembles the job environment that they will be working in before they get the job. This will give them valuable insights into their characters and suitability for the job, before hiring them.
What can you expect during a Group Interview?
Group interviews are usually conducted for specific reasons. There are specific traits, attributes, and skills your interviewers are looking for. Depending on the format of the job interview, the interviewers have different ways of extracting the information that they need.
If the format is one job candidate and a panel of interviewers, they usually take turns asking the candidate questions. Here it’s up to you to provide each interviewer with an answer to their specific questions.
When there are multiple job candidates, you can expect that you and the other candidates are asked questions as a group, as well as questions to each of you individually. It’s not uncommon for the group interview to end with all participants having short individual interviews.
Group interviews are also the perfect opportunity for employers to include a work simulation or problem-solving exercise in which the candidates are to work together as a team. This will give the interviewers the opportunity to see how the candidates work in a team and which roles they play in projects. Usually, at the end of the exercise, a discussion is held, or a presentation is to be given.
During such exercises, employers are looking for skills and behaviors, such as:
- Decision-making skills
- Problem-solving abilities
- Effective communication skills
- Effect listening skills
- Leadership potential
- Ability to assess
In short, expect the following during group interviews:
- Expect to be asked individual questions.
- Expect to be asked group questions.
- Anticipate to still have a brief individual interview at the end.
- Expect to work on a simulation or problem-solving exercise.
- Expect to be involved in a discussion or presentation regarding the group exercise.
Group Interview Questions
Depending on the type of group interview, there can be made a separation in questions you can expect. There are the general questions that you can expect and the questions that might be asked to the group after the group exercise part of the interview.
General Group Interview Questions
- What do you think your teammates would say about how you participated in the assignment?
- Why do you want this job?
- What can you offer the company?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
- Why should we hire you?
- How do you perform within a team?
- What are your career goals, and where do you see yourself in 5 years?
General Group Exercise Interview Questions
- Would you consider this team to be successful at the assignment? If so, what made it?
- What was your personal contribution to the team’s performance?
- On what points do you think your team succeeded in the assignment?
- On what points do you think your team failed at the assignment?
- Who would you hire from your team, and why?
- What was the major challenge faced by your team in the course of trying to achieve the task allocated to it?
Whichever method employed by the hiring company, the result is geared towards selecting the best candidate(s) out of the group. This is another reason for you to aim to stand out from the group in a positive way. With the right attitude, the right preparation, and right knowledge its possible to ace your group interview!
Group Interview Preparation
To prepare you as well as possible, we summed up some quick tips to ensure your success in the next group interview you attend.
1. Make the right first impression
First impressions are very important. Remember that you’re being observed from the moment that you walk through the door. Be polite and professional to everyone you meet. Make eye contact, shake hands firmly, and make sure that you speak in a clear voice.
2. Keep a calm composure
Your ability to keep calm and focus while managing stress and maintaining performance is also something the interviewers will look at. Proper preparation will help you to reduce your nerves. Make sure you know about the company and the position you’re applying for.
3. Show confidence and respect
Everything about you from the way you’re dressed, to your body language and way of speaking, to your manner of approach, and the way you participate in assignments should exude confidence. You want to make sure that your voice is heard during the group interview but always avoid coming across as a know-it-all or cocky. Wait patiently for your turn to speak, and when you see an opportunity to do so, speak calmly and get your point across.
Tip: Show that you’er assertive, but not aggresive. Show confidence and state your ideas and points clearly but never alienate others.
4. Demonstrate listening skills
Do so by paying attention to what others are saying during the interview. By demonstrating active listening skills, you show that you’re a team player and that you value other peoples’ opinions. Body language plays a big part in active listening. Maintain a positive body language through body movements and gestures. This way, you communicate interest and enthusiasm.
Tip: pay close attention when people are introducing themselves and remember their names. This goes for other candidates as well as the interviewers. When talking to or about a person mention their names too. This shows that you paid close attention to them and possess active listening skills.
5. Seize the moment; Speak up!
Don’t forget that this is your moment to shine too. While being polite, calm, and showing active listening skills to show that you’re a team player, you should not forget your goal, showing that you’re the right person for the job! It’s easy to get overlooked in a group if you do not make sure your voice is heard. This does not mean that you should do all the talking or be the loudest person in the room; when you see an opportunity to speak, do so.
Tip: Clarity of speech and articulation is important when speaking up; everybody should be able to understand what you mean. By speaking first, you get the advantage of gearing the discussion in the direction that you want. If you’re not the first speaker, make sure you do get into the conversation within the first couple of minutes.
6. Demonstrate team playing skills
This is a good moment for you to show that you possess team playing skills. Remember that it’s a group interview for a reason; to assess you in a team setting as a group even though you probably will be hired on an individual basis. Don’t interrupt others during the assignment and also include people in the discussion who might be more introverted of not yet had their say. Treat your competitors as colleagues who will show that you possess the ability to work as part of a team.
Tip: Don’t be too aggressive in your approach. Let others talk and don’t interject when someone else is speaking. Courtesy and politeness are important when working in a team. What matters is that you show clarity of thought and speech.
7. Demonstrate leadership skills
Group interview assignments are used to test your ability to work well within a team, as well as your leadership and problem-solving skills. When the opportunity arises, take the lead and contribute your ideas while also listening to others and valuing their ideas.
Don’t steamroll your group, but be proactive when possible. This is not the same as being controlling and too dominant towards others. Just show you have the capacity to motivate others and carry people along. Don’t forget that an important aspect of being a leader is giving credit to whom it is due.
8. Act like you’re the one for the job!
If you are not an extrovert, don’t push yourself too hard trying to be one. It might end up coming across unnatural or awkward. Just be true to yourself, make sure you’re included in the group task and answer questions wisely. Show that you possess the skills and abilities to do the job that you’re applying for.
What to Lookout for During a Group Interview
Just as there are tips to help you ace your group interview, there are also characteristics that will decrease your chances of proceeding to the next round drastically. Avoid the following characteristics at all cost:
1. Dominant behavior
This type of behavior is not wanted in any team. Being dominant will get you nowhere. You’re being tested on your ability to communicate and work as part of a team. Remain professional while contributing your ideas, include others in the task/discussion, and listen to other ideas too.
2. Fading away
A group assignment is not the time to fade away into the background and keep quiet. This is your opportunity to shine. Focus on why you’re there, not the other participants around you. Whereas being too dominant will decrease your chances to show you’re suitable for the job, fading away and keeping quiet will too. Speak up, talk clearly, and make sure you at least get your points and views across.
3. Not paying attention
Focus. Pay attention to what is said around you and what others contribute. Not knowing what is said, who said what or saying something that somebody else already said is not the way to go. Therefore, try to immediately remember names and take notes.
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic