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How To Prepare for Group Interviews

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Group Interview

We recently ran a Group Interview Workshop for the students at Salisbury College and the feedback was so positive we wanted to share some of our tips! 

If you are invited to a Group Interview there are a few ways that you can prepare, although there are many types of scenarios you may be put into to see how you cope in different situations.

Hopefully our tips and do and don’t will help you feel more confident if you find yourself attending this type of interview.

What is a Group Interview?

Group interviews involve bringing you into an interview with several other candidates who are applying for the same position.

The interviewers in these situations are interested in how you respond and react to other candidates, as well as how you respond to questions directed at you.

In a group interview, interviewers pose problems to the group as a whole or set a practical task and ask the group to work as a team to solve the issue.

The interviewers will be assessing “soft” skills such as:

  • Problem solving skills
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Teamwork

Types of Group Interview Formats

Group Activities – these usually involve groups of five or fewer candidates who are tasked with a specific problem to solve. The goal is to see how you handle conflict and how well you work together even though you are competing for the same job.

Group Discussion – With group discussions the interviewer asks questions of each candidate. Everyone takes turns to discuss the given topic and ideally you need to make yourself memorable to the person conducting the interview.

Group Followed by Individual Interview — Some organisations will conduct the group activity and/or discussion and then meet with candidates individually to ask additional questions.

Tips for Standing Out at the Group Interview

Display your listening skills by paying attention to what others say during the interview.

Speak up, if not you could be overlooked. Interviewers are looking for people who know how to make their voices heard but that doesn’t mean you have to be the loudest. Look for opportunities to jump in and confidently raise your hand.

Don’t forget to build on responses other participants provide. This lets the interviewers know you’re paying attention and demonstrates your ability to think as a member of a team.

Involve everyone on your team in the problem-solving process. Be the leader, not by taking charge, but by getting to know the people on your team

Share the things that make you unique to set yourself apart from the others.

Treat everyone with respect. Yes, the other candidates are your competition but they may become your teammates at some point.

Acknowledge all the members of your team for helping to carry out the plan effectively

Group interview: do’s and don’ts

Group interview do’s:

  • Arrive early, dress appropriately, smile.
  • Aside from being punctual and courteous, arriving ahead of schedule gives you longer to impress. It allows you to interact with other candidates in a less formal setting, showing off your social skills. However, always bear in mind that there is such a thing as arriving too early.
  • Remember the icebreaker – Before any of the actual tasks begin, you’ll almost always be asked to provide some sort of introduction for yourself (or for someone else in the group) so always prepare your answer beforehand.
  • Sit up straight – Body language can make all the difference.
  • Be inclusive – Although your leadership skills are being assessed, one of the most important aspects of leadership is the ability to ensure everyone’s opinions are heard, not just voicing your own.
  • If there is an introvert in the group, get them involved and encourage them to participate.

Group interview don’ts:  

  • Talk over people – This is one of the most common mistakes of the group interview.
  • Get lost in the group – some people in the group may try and take control. If this happens, don’t be intimidated. Instead, use them to your advantage. If you don’t agree with them offer your own opinion and then open up the discussion to the group
  • Become too informal.
  • Lose concentration - it’s essential to maintain maximum concentration. Avoid spending your time staring off into space or to doodling!

Hopefully this will help you stand out from the crowd and make the company you are applying to work for see you are a perfect fit for their organisation!

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