by Chris Durst Nov. 17, 2023
When hiring larger numbers of employees for the same role, many companies will forgo traditional 1-on-1 interviews and invite applicants to interview in groups.
This enables their talent acquisition team to screen a number of candidates at the same time, but it also allows them to assess how each candidates interact in a group — are they collaborative, helpful, respectful, etc.
For anyone who has never done a group interview, the process can be daunting. You may be concerned about if you’ll stand out in a good way, how you’ll stack up next to the other candidates, etc.
Here are some pointers to help get you on the right track!
1. Take some time to learn about the company and the role.
Go through the information posted on their website, and ask questions in the Elite group.
2.Reread your resume and cover letter!
Far too many applicants fire off resumes they wrote ages ago and have not done a thorough re-read (or rewrite) in a long while.
Since all an interviewer knows about you at this point is what you’ve told them in your resume and cover letter, it’s never hurts to remind yourself of what your interviewer has in their hands.
In many group interviews you’ll be asked to briefly introduce yourself. For a lot of people, that leads to a lot of ummm… ah… and other fillers.
Rather than answer on the fly, think about what you would like to tell your interviewer(s), write it down, practice it and be ready to answer the question when it arises.
Keep it short – “Hi. I’m Chris. I’ve been a customer service professional for eight years. I’m excited to have this opportunity to learn more about COMPANY and how I might use my skills as a member of your team.”
4. Answer first sometimes (but not every time).
While you don’t want to go all “Hermione Granger” in the interview (even if you do have all the answers), you should make a point of being the first a couple of times.
This demonstrates that you have the confidence to lead, but are also a gracious listener.
5. Support other interviewees statements if you agree.
Saying something like, “I think Linda made an excellent point about the importance of really listening to what a customer has to say before injecting an answer,” reinforces your strengths as a candidate.
Though you’re supporting Linda’s statement, you’re also highlighting yourself by:
- Showing you are a team player,
- Showing that you are actually listening, and
- Showing that you pay attention to details (like Linda’s name).
6. For video interviews, indicate interest and attention by nodding and/or smiling.
In a group interview, you can’t always express interest vocally. Doing so could interrupt the flow of the interview.
Instead, look alert and, nod in agreement (not like a bobble head, just an occasional nod will do ) A smile speaks volumes too!
7. Ask great questions!
Ask questions if you are given the opportunity, but not so many that you cause the interview to run overly long. For example:
- What does a typical day look like?
- How does the company measure success for those working in this role?
8. Thank the interviewer(s) for their time
Just a quick thank you at the end of the interview will close the conversation in a positive way and leave a good impression.
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