Jack (name changed) told me he “just about freaked out” when he went in for a job interview to find he wasn’t the only one in the interviewee’s seat. He interviewed with three panelists, and four other candidates!
Erin found out last week she was invited for a group interview in which 8 candidates for the same position would be interviewed together. How does she prepare?
Katherine Reynolds Lewis, contributing author for CNNMoney, gives reasons why companies use group interviews: they believe they’re the most efficient way to honestly compare qualified candidates for a job opening, because they give hiring managers unique insights into how potential employees would work on a team and function under stress. They are of special appeal for initial screenings as it is faster to spend one hour in a group of 12 people than set aside 12 hours for one-on-one conversations. They can also compare initial impressions of different candidates at the same time rather than have to remember what happened 8 hours or a couple days ago.
Interviewers can observe candidates as they are put in simulation exercises or team building tasks. They look at how each of the candidates participate, communicate and contribute. They can rate a candidate’s communication, interpersonal and leadership skills. They can also see how a person deals with getting feedback and solving problems. It is an excellent tool for evaluating their ability to fit into the company’s culture.
Yet jobseekers could be completely derailed with group interviews. Being evaluated on their ability to interact with other candidates can add to the stress of making a good first impression and passing the interview. Some liken it to a cattle call; others liken it to an episode of Survivor.
Tips for Group Interviews
So if you find yourself in a group interviews, here are a few things to keep in mind, according to Best-Job-Interview.com:
- Before you begin the interview introduce yourself politely to the other candidates. You will be observed from the word go.
- It is important to be seen as an active participant rather than merely an observer. Contribute your views and ideas while also listening to the other candidates.
- Appear confident but avoid coming across as aggressive.
- Avoid dominating the conversation and don’t interrupt the other candidates.
- Make sure that you take criticism and give feedback constructively.
- Stay cool under stress.
- Be aware of your body language. Make sure you are sending the right non-verbal message with your interview body language.
- Do background research and find the right job interview information on the company to help you plan your questions and interview answers.
- Send interview thank you letters to each interviewer as soon as possible afterwards.
- Proper Etiquette: The Job Interview (theladiesguide.wordpress.com)
- Job Interview Preparation – How To “Tell Me About Yourself”. (gregljohnson.wordpress.com)
- The Most Important Job Interview Question (blogs.hbr.org)