Interview Tips

How to Nail a Group Interview

By: Guest Author
Apr 24, 2022 • 5 min read

How to Nail a Group Interview

Getting prepared for an interview is not an easy job. You’ve practiced and got ready only to find other candidates waiting in that same lobby.

And that’s okay since it is expected to have competition, right? But then a recruiter calls your name, followed by the names of other people, and then directs you all to a big conference room. 

It turns out you’ll have a group interview rather than the one-on-one you’ve expected.

Therefore in this blog, you’ll learn about what to expect and how to nail a group interview

group interview

What’s a Group Interview?

A group interview represents an interviewing technique in which a few applicants are interviewed simultaneously for the same or similar positions

Group interviews must be well-planned and conducted in order to be successful. Additionally, a plan should provide information about the company’s objectives and reasons for using group interviews.

But beyond that, candidate experience and strategies will depend on the type of group interview they attend.

There are two types of group interviews; let’s check them!

Group Interviews and Group Activities

In most cases, a single interviewer will question a few candidates. You’ll each have the time to answer the same question, and your main objective will be to stand out from one another.

Group interviews with more than ten candidates are usually not conducted this way. The main reason is that there isn’t enough time for everyone to participate. Hence, in this case, it is essential not to monopolize the interviewer’s attention and yet answer as many group interview questions as you can.

In this type of interview, you are obligated to include an activity or a task. You will probably be required to work with other applicants to reach a common goal.

Panel Interview

During a panel interview, multiple interviewers will ask you questions. Often, there are HR, your potential boss, and someone with a similar role. 

These panel interviews often resemble inquisitions due to all the follow-up questions.

Remember, both types of interviews are conducted after sending your online or video resume and after the company decides to move forward with you. 

How to Nail a Group Interview – Preparation and Strategies

Check the Background of the Interviewer(s)

This strategy applies to both types of group interviews. However, this one is especially crucial for panel setup because you will be able to fully comprehend the interviewer’s point of view when it comes to the group interview questions.

Hence, look for:

  • Interviewer’s full name
  • Position at the company
  • The reason why they are hiring
  • Interviewer’s educational background
  • A little something to break the ice

While you may not have had the opportunity to investigate the panel members, particularly if the group interview was a surprise, there is something you can do. 

You can learn a lot about each member by paying attention during the introduction and thus getting to know them better. This also refers to when you have an online interview

Greet the Members Individually 

Arrive early at the interview location, and introduce yourself to everyone, including interviewers and other applicants

This not only helps to break the ice, but it’s also a great method to learn everyone’s names so you can address them appropriately throughout the interview. 

You may believe that calling another applicant by name is unimportant. Still, it demonstrates to the interviewer that you have strong interpersonal skills.

group interview

Stay Truthful to Your Convictions 

There is a strong urge to follow the crowd in every group situation. People generally maintain the status quo with friends and family to avoid disputes, which applies to the workplace. 

However, employers seek people who aren’t afraid to argue since it’s a crucial attribute for leadership.

If you believe in your response and have a strong argument, don’t be afraid to shake things up in group interviews. Even if you’re not applying for a leadership position, this is an excellent way to stand out in a conversation when everyone tends to agree with the most popular viewpoint.

If you don’t want to come out as overbearing, structure your counter-argument as a question.

For example, instead of arguing that the group’s agreement on a sales plan is wrong, you may ask, “Did this sales method always work for you previously?”

It’s simpler to get the group to rethink their own beliefs before directly telling them they’re wrong.

Listen More, Talk Less

In a typical interview, all the questions are only for you. Therefore, you can focus on how to leave an impression of a potentially good employee. But when it comes to group interviews, you have to wait for your turn. 

Use this opportunity to listen to what other candidates have to say to respond more effectively when it’s your time to speak.

Remember not to:

  • Interrupt other candidates 
  • Interrupt the interviewer 
  • Leave the aggressive impression
  • Laugh at the other candidate’s answers

Include Everyone When Answering

It won’t help you stand out if you give the same answer as everyone else. You can improve other candidates’ ideas by adding your own at the end.

For example, “I believe (other applicant’s name) is correct, and we have to implement (repeat the response from the other candidate), but I also believe we can make significant improvements with (your suggestions here).”

Suppose you came early and spent some time chatting with other applicants. In that case, you can incorporate those discussions into your interview if they are relevant.

For instance, if you’re found in an IT environment, you might’ve shared your take on cybersafety, antivirus programs or ad blockers, which can potentially be interesting to your employers. 

group interview

Keep your answers clear

Some opening questions at a group interview can be generic, such as what you do to stay current with industry developments. Others can be quite personal such as talking about your recent or tough project.

In both cases, there is one more stumbling block you may encounter.

Some companies don’t have an in-house HR department, so they might hire someone to do the interview process for them. When it comes to HR outsourcing, your main challenge is that the interviewers aren’t deeply involved with the industry as much as you are.

This means that going into detail about your projects won’t impress them, and might be over the top from your end. Try to be simple and clear in your communication, so that everybody can understand your position.

Pro tip: Share your experiences that demonstrate initiative, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking. These stories are often easy to tell and can just be the added value you bring to the team.

Conclusion

Group interviews can be a real challenge, especially if they come unannounced. 

However, if you follow these simple strategies, there is no doubt that an interviewer will positively recall your face.

Remember these simple strategies and examples if you want to nail a group interview. Stay true to your convictions, check the interviewer’s background, listen more, talk less, greet, and include everyone in your answers!

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