Group interviews can be difficult to tackle, especially if you are already concerned about one-to-one interviews! This short read will give you the top tips for excelling in a group interview, even if you haven’t had the time to prepare for one.
Congratulations, you have secured a job interview! As you travel to the interview location you are feeling nervous but prepared, after reviewing your CV the evening before. You reach the waiting area, only to find out that you will be interviewed at the same time as numerous other applicants. This isn’t something you’ve prepared for, and you don’t know how to approach this situation.
Before you work yourself into a frenzy, there is something important to note. Group interviews share many similarities with one-to-one interviews and follow along the same preparation techniques. Once you develop these skills, there are only a few other points to be mindful of in a group setting. So, whilst a group interview isn’t ideal, there are still several opportunities to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
1. Include Everyone
In group interviews you are able to see other applicants face-to-face. This can understandably make things more pressurised and increase expectation. Whilst it may be tempting to focus more on your own answers when faced with this scenario, this approach may polarize you instead.
Group interviews are focused on collaboration, so it is important that you are approachable and friendly. Before the interview starts, introduce yourself to the other applicants and the interview panel. This will break the ice and ease yourself, amongst others, into the group interview process.
2. Be Yourself
Being directly compared to several other individuals in real time can be jarring. You might be tempted to ‘out-do’ another applicant and fall into a competitive mindset. It is important to remind yourself that whilst others may have different achievements than you, this does not undermine your own. You have been asked to attend the interview based on your application, so this is a chance to let your personality shine in person.
If you are naturally shy and introverted, group interviews may present a challenge. You don’t need to force yourself to be the loudest in the room, but do make sure you engage during the interview with well-informed answers.
3. Speak With Purpose
It can be tempting to measure a successful group interview with the amount of time an individual was speaking, but this is not the case. The content of your answers is more important than the length of them, especially in a group setting. Whilst it may be tempting to follow along with your rehearsed answers, this will not set you apart from other individuals. A successful answer will relate personally to your own experiences, and also seek to propel the conversation further.
Listening to other applicants during the interview is a simple but extremely effective way to showcase teamwork skills. For example, when referring to individuals use their first name and when listening to others show that you are engaged through body language, such as eye contact and nodding. If a previous answer sparks a thought in your mind, quickly take a note of this and refer back to it during your own response. Preparation before the interview is key, as this provides you with the confidence you may need to adapt your own answers.
As with one-to-one interviews, it is always best to follow up afterwards with an email. In addition to thanking the interview panel for their time, this email gives you the opportunity to stand out once again. You can do this by referencing an interesting answer you gave, or maybe even a joke!
A question you may be asked during a group interview is, ‘Based on the interview today, who would you hire in this room?’ Don’t fall into the trap of simply answering ‘Oh well me!’ Instead, reference the positive aspects of one or two other applicants in relation to a similar job position, and then focus upon yourself, adding another key skill that sets you apart from the other applicants and in turn makes you a perfect candidate for the job.
For tips on general interviews, visit ‘Ten Steps Towards A Successful Interview.’