Imagine it’s your interview for that dream job you always had. The pressure is already killing you. You are nervous and your palms and sweating. Still, you kept your calm. Your turn is next. You went in. You saw your biggest fear. No, not your ex on the panel. You saw 10 other people waiting as well. It is a group interview.
Group interview? What is that? Why did they even choose to do that? You start losing your calm.
Now rewind a bit. What if I can help you avoid that? That’s right. In this piece, I’ll tell you what a group interview is, and help you with some group interview tips because it is a thing now.
What is Group Interview?
A group interview is when employees interview multiple candidates at the same time. It could also be when employees form a panel to interview just one candidate. Nowadays, it could also be in a form of a video interview. Either way, a group interview involves multiple people.
So why do employees use group interviews anyway?
Employees use group interviews for so many reasons. One of the top ones is it saves cost and time.
Why interview just one person when you can interview 10 at a time?
Group interviews also help employees judge the applicants’ communication skills and teamwork skills. This will all help determine whether you get the job or not.
This is becoming a big deal now. With the pandemic and the way it affected businesses, you might as well get used to it. This is why it is important to know some group interview tips that will help you ace them.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Group Interview Tips
1. Research the Company and the Interviewers
This is one of the golden group interview tips.
Before you apply for a role, make sure you conduct your due diligence on the company.
What do they want?
What do they stand for?
Why are they hiring?
Who are on the interview panel?
These will help you prepare for the interview, and ace it. Now, it may be hard to search for the panel members sometimes, because they mostly come as a surprise, but that is the more reason why you should try. If you listen closely, you might even gain more information when the panel members are introduced. The same goes for the other interviews.
You can pick up their first names, and address them in turn during the interview.
2. Be Confident
Now re-imagine our first scene. You walk into a room and there are 10 other people. Your eyes will probably be on you.
Don’t falter, or indicate any weakness or nervousness. This will be used to judge you. Instead, maintain a neutral face and walk straight up to your seat. Pretend this is the most natural thing in the world.
Making eye contact when speaking and avoiding fidgeting will give the impression that you are a badass. Which you are.
3. Greet Every One Individually
This is not just one of the group interview tips, but a general interview tip.
You walk into a room, and you say a general greeting and sit down.
Walk in with a smile, introduce yourself to the other applicants and greet each with a greeting and a shake. If it’s a panel, greet everyone individually too, while maintaining eye contact.
This will show that you have great people skills and effective communication skills.
4. Listen Closely
This is one of the most underrated group interview tips. To quickly pass your point across, or answer the question posed to you in time, you tend to babble a lot of unnecessary rubbish.
We don’t want that, do we?
Instead, listen carefully to what the panel is saying. If it involves other applicants, listen carefully too. You can even respond to what each applicant said when you get your chance.
For example, you could say, “…In addition to what (applicant’s name said)…”, “I think I agree with what (Applicant’s name) said” or “I think I understand (panellist’s name hesitation about my x, but…”
You can only do that when you listen. This brings me to my next point.
5. Don’t be Scared to Disagree with a Point
In a bid to impress the panelist, don’t be scared of disagreeing with a point as long as you do it respectfully. Especially when you have the stats to back it up.
“…While I admire (panelist) suggestion on this, I think I have a different approach. If you look at the number of employees who…”
Damn, that’s sexy!
You do not want to come off as this lame pushover who goes along with the crowd or agree to whatever your boss says without any argument. Sometimes, arguments are necessary for leadership roles.
Remember this as one of the group interview tips next time you are in one.
6. Don’t Be Shy to Answer First
Remember that dork in high school who always answers every question the teacher poses first? Or that college nerd who sits in the front to answer the Professors question every time? Well, you just have to be them for that day.
Calm down, I am not saying you should answer every question first and deny others the opportunity to talk. But to stand out from the crowd, you have to be willing to answer first every once in a while.
This demonstrates leadership and indicates you can own up to your failures and mistakes.
7. Involve Everyone
This is one of the best group interview tips. A group interview is meant to involve everyone who’s there, both interviewers and candidates. Direct your answers to all present, not just the interviewers.
Address other candidates by name when appropriate. It shows off your leadership skills.
If you have interacted with one of the applicants before the session, casually insert your conversation. The whole essence of a group interview is to interact with others and demonstrate your strong interpersonal relationship.
When you don’t involve others, you may not stand out among the crowd.
8. Be Respectful
Lastly, be respectful towards everyone; the applicants and the panelists. If you have to disagree with a point, you can do it respectfully. Treat everyone with the same respect. The janitor, colleagues, boss etc.
This is one of the great interview tips out there.
Now that you have learned some common group interview tips, why don’t you check some common group interview questions? The questions in a group interview might differ slightly from those in one-on-one interviews.
Common Group Interview Questions
1. Why Did You Apply for This Job?
To make a living and survive of course. But don’t tell them that. One of the best group interview tips is knowing how to navigate your way around this question because other people are listening and you don’t have much time.
What you should do, is keep it simple and precise. Have something specific, such as how the company’s missions tie to your personal goals or interests.
2. How do Your Goals Fit with The Company?
This is not when to babble off some random points from your resume. The interview is likely looking for what you can bring to the company, not your career plans.
What you should do is align your answer to the skills you want to learn on the job, the challenges and your personal goals.
3. How do You Communicate Effectively at Work
If you followed the above group interview tips, you probably won’t have a problem answering this. You might have already demonstrated your strong communication skills. What you should do instead, is relay a scenario where you used your exceptional communication skills to address a problem at work.
4. Can You Tell us Your Experience Collaborating on A Project?
The interview is not looking for a long explanation here. They are probably just interested in your teamwork skills and how good you collaborate with others.
You could begin with something like;
“…There was a time I collaborated with the IT department in my previous role to effectively… In the end, it made work easier for everyone.”
See? No need for a long explanation.
5. What Motivates You?
Successful interviewees consider answering this as one of the best group interview tips. You don’t need to lie about what motivate you, as it might likely affect you in the future.
Instead, be honest and make sure the answer you give is a professional one and relates to the company and industry.
You should, however, avoid saying anything materialistic.
6. How Would Your Colleagues Describe You?
This is a very important question, and knowing how to answer it demonstrates a high level of one’s perception. Don’t come off as too boastful. Instead, speak about your strong qualities, and what you will do to ensure you make the workplace better for everyone.
7. How Do You Work In A Team?
If you followed the above group interview tips, this won’t be hard to answer either. You can mention how you find everyone on the team important, and stress why teamwork is important.
List up your strengths in the team, such as keeping everyone motivated, honesty, feedback etc.
Whatever you say, give the impression that you are an affable team player
Group interviews have more advantages than one-on-one interviews. They allow you to demonstrate valuable skills that you probably won’t in a one-on-one interview. They are also fast becoming a norm, so you might as well accept them.
By using these group interview tips, you will ace it and stand a chance of being hired. Because most group interviews come as a surprise, it becomes even more important to master group interview tips so you are not caught unawares.
The only downside to group interviews is you have to compete with other applicants. Looking out of place or not being confident enough may likely disqualify you. This is why it is even more important you look confident, listen to what every person is saying, and be respectful. I know once you apply these group interview tips; you will most likely be successful.
I am rooting for you.
A group interview is when employees interview multiple candidates at the same time. It could also be when employees form a panel to interview just one candidate.
Yes, group interviews can be conducted online. Group interviews are now conducted through Zoom and other Teleconferencing platforms.
There are many ways to ace a group interview. The most common ones include;
Research The Company
Greet Everyone Individually
Don’t Be Scared of Disagreeing with A Point
Don’t Be Shy to Answer First
Once an interview involves more than one person, it is a group interview. A typical panel has 3 to 5 people, while a group interview for applicants consists of between 3-15 people.
Group interviews save costs and time. It also helps the panel decide which applicant shows the best interpersonal skills which will be required for the job.
Yes, you do. Group interviews allow you to demonstrate skills like leadership, communication, interpersonal skills and teamwork, which you otherwise can’t in a traditional interview.
After a group interview, you can follow up. Send a follow-up note or card. This will show them you are interested and might likely land you the job.