A group interview situation is a selection process where multiple candidates are simultaneously assessed for their suitability for the job vacancy by one or more interviewers. It is different from the traditional interview technique where it is usually a one to one situation. The group interview often involves various activities and group discussions on a variety of topics which are formulated to evaluate the interpersonal skills that candidates show as well as teamwork, communication and problem solving abilities. The goal is to observe and determine how candidates, who are usually selected from a shortlist, interact with one another and handle group dynamics. These exercises will highlight individuals who possess the relevant skills that are crucial for the specific role.
As with any interview, whether it is a one to one or a group interview, it is very normal to feel nervous and the interviewers will certainly allow for this. However, there are certain strategies that you can utilise that will help you navigate your way through.
To prepare for the intricate team dynamics, a good way to anticipate group activities or discussions is to research the company’s teamwork philosophy. Source as much information as you can as this will enable you to showcase your abilities and collaborate effectively with the other members of your team. By researching the company’s culture, you can align your behaviour and responses with the values of the company.
During the group interview, it is important that you do not blend into the background - you need to ensure that you stand out from the others. Share your unique perspectives and experiences during any discussions, always contributing to the discussions without arguing, becoming confrontational or trying to undermine or overshadow others. Always direct questions, answers and statements to the whole group and never single out an individual.
Pay close attention to what others are saying by responding thoughtfully which will demonstrate that you value and consider all different opinions which will show that you are a respected and unbiased team player. Maintaining good eye contact will further show that you feel at ease in a group situation and signifies your attentiveness. By acknowledging the ideas and opinions of others, you show that you can work harmoniously and collaboratively with others even in a competitive setting.
Often in group interviews, certain individuals will be selected to lead a group activity. If this is you then showcase your leadership skills to the best of your ability but remain mindful of involving everyone and valuing all contributions. In any activity there may be planned ‘challenges’ so anticipate this and rise to the occasion by responding in a positive manner to any uncertainties.
Very importantly, use other peoples names in the group interview as not only does this show you are being attentive but makes the interview more personalised and informal. In many of these situations, name badges will be worn so no one can forget a name which can be embarrassing.
Be mindful of your own body language throughout the interview with positive body language used at all times and open gestures. Never cross your arms as this can be translated as being bored or defensive.
Group interviews are a great way to showcase your individual skills and to effectively demonstrate your ability to contribute in a team setting which can hopefully lead you into successfully securing the position.