Group interviews are a popular way for employers to assess a large number of applicants in a cost-effective and quick way. They’re often used to determine qualities such as communication, leadership and team work, and are a good way to assess how well candidates are likely to behave in a stressful environment.
Normally an employer will begin a group interview with a presentation about the company and give participants the opportunity to introduce themselves. They will probably then outline how the session will be structured and the activities interviewees will be involved in, such as role plays, group discussions or problem solving exercises. During the session there’s unlikely to be very much one-to one-interaction with the interviewers. Instead, they’ll be seated around the room quietly observing and taking notes.
Tips for success in group interviews
- Before you begin the interview introduce yourself politely to the other candidates. You will be observed from the word go.
- Appear confident but avoid coming across as aggressive.
- Avoid dominating the conversation and don’t interrupt the other candidates.
- Some participants may tend to be more quiet than others – encouraging their involvement will reflect well on you.
- Make sure that you take criticism and give feedback constructively.
- Give praise when possible and acknowledge valuable contributions from other candidates.
- Avoid obvious power conflicts as these will make you appear uncooperative and unprofessional.
- Stay cool under pressure.
- Be aware of your body language. The interviewer will be observing you throughout the whole process so it’s important to actively listen, smile and be attentive at all times.
- With many candidates all trying to contribute, someone may make your point first. If this happens, think of a statement that adds to this point. This demonstrates that you listen actively and think on your feet.
- Prepare meaningful questions to ask. You will be asked at some point if you have any questions, and you’ll stand out from the other candidates if you have a list of insightful interview questions to ask.
- Do background research and find the right information on the company to help you plan your questions and interview answers.
- It’s important to present yourself as an active participant rather than a passive observer. Contribute your views and ideas while also listening to what other candidates have to say.