Group interview can be of 2 kinds one is panel interview and the other is a job applicant’s group interview. A panel interview ideally means that a group of interviewers would be seated together and will scrutinize a single candidate. The second type of group interview is where several eligible job applicants for the same position are sitting together and a hiring manager or a couple of more interviewers will conduct a group interview where all candidates will be judged at the same time.
The next question that comes to mind is why, recruiters prefer group interview and how they are benefited. There are several reasons for doing so:
- Group interviews are not just time saving but cost effective as well.
- More than 15 people can be scrutinized at the same time.
- All panel members can hear the response of the candidate at the same time. So they do not have to discuss each persons profile and answers in detail latter. When the hiring decisions are made.
- They can immediately ask follow up questions if they have any doubt.
- Interviewers can clearly see how you manage stress and how you react in a group environment. This would help them take decisions latter.
In a group interview, where several candidates are seated for a single job opening, chances are that the interviewers will avoid any technical or in-depth questions about the job profile. Instead they will be focusing more on your communication skills, leadership quality, stress management and initiative taking ability. So most probably they will be asking general questions and would be noticing your body gestures, working ability and expressions during a group activity.
One point of caution to keep in mind here is NEVER pretend in front of the panel or the interviewer. Be honest about whatever you do and say. Remember the interviewers are trained people and within no time you will be caught and it would give a negative impression.
Some Great Group Interview Tips:
1- Prior to the interview always make sure to learn what kind of job interviews are going to be held in the company. This will help you understand that when they say group interview what kind of interview it will be whether panel interview or a candidate’s group interview. So that you can go prepared accordingly.
2- In a group interview all the job applicants will be asked to provide their introduction. Make sure to prepare a unique and effective introduction for yourself. This small introduction should be able to highlight your most important skill sets and work experience related to the job profile in just few lines.
3- In a group interview, when many people are talking at the same time. It is hard to put forward your thoughts and point of view or even let your voice be heard. In this scenario it is best to take advantage of the first opportunity you get to talk. For e.g.: If a question is asked, be the first to start the conversation or If people are arguing grab the opportunity to settle the argument and get to the middle solution or even when asked if anyone has any questions always be the first to ask a question.
4- If possible prior to the group interview enquire who would be taking the interview. Than do some homework and research about their profiles and interest areas of the people in the panel. This small activity will help you address the interviewer by his name and you will know exactly what he is looking for in a candidate and what are the things that he would like to hear.
5- During the group interview, mind your body gestures, tone and eye contacts. Remember everything is closely monitored. While answering a question make sure to make eye contacts with not just the panel members but also other candidates.
6- Like any other job interview, it is very important that you dress appropriately and professionally for a group interview. Try choosing a dress which enhances your personality and makes you look more confident.
7- In a group job interview, mostly they will not ask for your documents. But it is still advisable to carry all the required documents in a file. Plus also carry 4 to 5 copies of your resume. You never know just incase they ask for it. Going prepared in doubtful situation is always a good option.
8- Stay relaxed and calm during the interview. Do not fumble or talk too much or too less. Talk when ever it is needed and when you can add a positive statement to the whole conversation.
9- The most important thing to do in a group job interview is to arrive 10 to 15 minutes in advance. This would give you a chance to settle down and relax. Other than this you can also meet the panel members and introduce yourself. This would certainly give a great impression, plus the interviewers will know in advance who you are and will pay more attention towards your actions.
10- Last but not the least, once the group job interview is over. Do not forget to send a thank you email/note to the interviewers. You can collect their emails once the interview is over. Here is a sample thank you note, to help you draft a thank you letter like a pro.