10 Tips For Winning Group Interview
A lot has been told about how to succeed in a one-to-one job interview. There are certain rules on what to dress, what to say and which habits to avoid during the interview to ensure a positive impression on a hiring person. However, when it comes to a group interview, the rules of the game are different.
Group interviews can be a real challenge for reserved, quiet personalities. They are also disliked for their competitive environment and lack of ability for the candidate to fully represent their knowledge and potential. However, group interviews are effective in other cases –if it’s necessary to access the candidate’s ability to work in a team, get their ideas heard and handle stressful situations.
How to differentiate yourself during that group interview? How to stand out from the midst of other applicants and get invited to one-to-one interview? If you keep asking yourself this, read our guidance below.
Why companies conduct group interviews?
- It’s cost-effective
Let’s say that the company has chosen to interview 20 applicants. If conduct one-to-one interviews, it will take a considerable amount of hiring managers’ time. A decision to interview the candidates in small groups of 3-4 will save companies time and inconceivable amounts of money.
- It speeds up the hiring process
If the company doesn’t want to interrupt their daily operations in order to spend days screening, conducting phone interviews (click here to master phone interviews: http://resumeperk.com/blog/profitable-tips-how-to-win-phone-interview)and then interviewing every applicant in person, they usually implement the practice of group interviewing. Thus, the management focuses on business growth rather than hiring process.
It’s effective for certain positions
- For stressful jobs that include working with customers or the positions which imply constant teamwork, conducting group interviews is the most effective solution. This interview type reveals teamwork skills and gives an insight on the candidate’s behavior in work environment. It especially relates to completing team tasks and resolving various cases.
- It helps to compare candidates against each other
It’s easier for a hiring manager to compare the candidates when watching their work in an office rather than trying to recollect each applicant’s strengths and weaknesses.
- It gets the candidate out of his comfort zone
One-to-one interviews are much easier to prepare for; the candidate often comes well-prepared for everything, including unexpected interview questions. During the group interviews, applicants rarely know what to expect and thus will have to react spontaneously and show their real personality traits and potential.
Group interview tips: Where to begin?
A group interview and a typical interview have differences. If you know what to expect from this event, you will easily get prepared for it.
Group interview involves discussion with several candidates. As a rule, these are applicants for one position. However, group interview questions can be also asked to potential members of one team. This is necessary to evaluate how people interact with each other in the team project.
A group interview can be combined with a panel interview too. It means that several representatives of the company (multiple interviewers) ask questions to job seekers.
Specifics of the group setting interview
It might be unusual to see several fellow candidates, apart from you, at the job interview. What you should know is that it is a normal situation. An HR manager can warn you about it or it can be a surprise. In any case, paying attention to the following crucial moments will help you win it.
Demonstration of strong competition
In comparison with a one-on-one meeting, where there are only you and an interviewer, you will be near other applicants. Try to beat the competition honestly and show that you can play a leadership role in your profession.
A format of the interview with multiple candidates
As a rule, there is no big difference between the format of interviews for one or several candidates. It is still a discussion of applicants’ talents and skills. Some agencies choose a format of small talk, while others conduct comprehensive interviews. It is your chance to demonstrate good listening skills and prove your value to the future company.
Sometimes, one interview is not enough, so you can have the next group interview too.
Common group interview questions: How to answer to them
An interviewer asks many interesting and unexpected questions during the interview. Please, listen carefully to give informative replies.
Questions about future goals
When answering questions about your next plans, try to give well-argued explanations. Wrong reasons for your big plans can be taken as the inability to analyze information and think out ideas. Plus, it is good when you connect your future with the chosen company and profession.
How can you contribute to the company’s success?
It is probably the most popular question for every job seeker. The same question will be repeated by many recruiters, so, please, prepare enough arguments proving that you are a worthy candidate. It should not be the same answer for every new job. Find the correct answer at the intersection of your strengths and expectations of the future employer.
You will encounter at least one interviewer in your life who likes to ask creative questions. Something like: “How would you go out of the blender if you were a tiny creature?” “What geometric figure would you like to become?” The sense of such questions is to evaluate your stress-resistance and creative problem-solving skills. Demonstrate your own thoughts and explain your solutions.
The manner of your answers
You are not alone at the job interview. So, please do not interrupt other candidates and show respect to everyone. You have to actively listen to the interviewer and give well-thought-out answers. The balance between self-awareness and bragging will help you win an interview.
Get prepared for a group activity
You might be asked to analyze or create something together with other applicants. In this situation, try to demonstrate perfect communication skills, analytical talents, and show them that you are a natural leader.
Feeling nervous about the group interview? Arriving early will give you time to calm down and get used to the new environment. Try to understand that you and other candidates have the same position and terms. So there is nothing to worry about. Calm down and try your best.
Professional hint: You can google a few talking points precisely for your profession. For instance: “food service interview answer questions.”
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How to succeed in a job interview?
- Make acquaintances with other candidates
If you have arrived early, now you’re probably sitting in an office or hall with other candidates waiting for an interview to start. So, resist the urge to sit silently. Ask everyone’s names and try to start a conversation. When the interviewer arrives, he/she will notice who is facilitating conversation and will make a conclusion about your leadership qualities.
- Arrive well-prepared
A group interview requires thorough preparation as well. Although during it you won’t have as much hiring manager’s attention as you would during the ordinary interview, you do need to know about the company, its goals and challenges, and who will be conducting interview. The more you know in advance, the more chances you have to succeed; moreover, you’ll differentiate yourself from the midst of unprepared candidates.
- Don’t compete aggressively
Some resources recommend dragging the attention to your personality and skills by all means. However, this isn’t the best advice to follow. Don’t go overboard in your efforts to fight over the spoils, especially if this isn’t in your nature. It will be more effective to use your initiative and involve everyone in group activities. Instead of competing with other candidates, collaborate with them. Participate in discussion, show argumentation for agreement or disagreement with others’ opinions. Build off your own ideas based on the ideas offered by other candidates. Thus, you’ll be able to differentiate without the necessity to interrupt and dominate the conversation.
- Follow your body language
Body language can make all the difference during the interview. If you feel uncertain, stressed and tense, make sure your body reflects all of it. In this case, you should make an effort to relax and take control over your posture, gestures and facial expression. Make sure those send nonverbal signals - as 55% of nonverbal signals are conveyed through nonverbal signals. The voice only sends 7% of any message. So, think over controlling your nonverbal signals in advance – this also includes picking the clothes of the right color for interview.
- Prepare interview questions
Although the group interview is mostly focused on teamwork, cases and collaboration, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask questions. However, do avoid asking meaningless questions for the sake of asking. Create a list of smart, relevant questions to ask at home so you wouldn’t have to ask something that just came to your mind. Remember that smart questions, especially if they’re relevant to the company, the role, or suggest the idea of resolving some company’s challenge can instantly generate more attention to your person.
- Speak with intention
During the stressful interview, it’s common for some to speak louder than they typically do and interrupt the other striving to get more hiring manager’s attention. Don’t make this mistake to avoid looking fluffy. Before you speak, think of whether you have something meaningful to mention. However, to really come up with smart comments or ideas, you need to stay fully engaged in what the interviewer and other applicants are saying. Even if you only get involved in conversation for a few times but manage to demonstrate the qualities the hiring manager is looking for, you’ll have more chances for one-to-one interview than someone who was talking off the subject during the entire interview.
- Show your genuine self
Obviously, you’ve come for a group interview to get noticed and get chosen from out of the number of others. Nevertheless, avoid playing the role which isn’t natural for you. For example, if you function great as a team player, don’t try to look like a dominant leader during the interview. Not only this will make you feel uncomfortable, but also may mislead the hiring manager who is seeking for particular traits of personality in a candidate. As some say, it’s better not to get hired that to be fired soon.
- Don’t lose focus
If the interview is lengthy, it’s easy to lose concentration and distract for a while. Still, such a distraction can turn out costly if the interviewer suddenly addresses to you and you answer something off the subject. Maintain eye contact, show agreement/disagreement with other interviewees and take notes if you need to.
- Give examples of your accomplishments
Just like during the standard interview, in a group interview it’s important to emphasize your past accomplishments and projects you were involved into. An accomplishment-driven personality evokes more interest than a simple ‘doer’ in any industry. Highlight the examples of leadership or teamwork (depending on the desired position) as well.
- Send a follow-up note
Don’t hesitate to send a thank you note (here's why you need one: http://resumeperk.com/blog/reasons-to-order-thank-you-note-from-online-resume-site) after the interview. Not only it expresses politeness, but also allows you to market your skills once again to a hiring manager. It is acceptable to refer to the matters discussed during the interview or to mention why you will make a great fit for the company. Most importantly, you might be the one of the group to send a note, so this alone will put you one step ahead of the others.
Despite group interviews sound tough, it is possible to get noticed and win one-to-one interview during it. Just follow the advice above and you’ll master group interviews and will be able to differentiate yourself from the other applicants.
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Have you ever participated in group interviews? Did you manage to succeed in it?
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