How To Succeed In A Group Interview

14/11/14

While applying for graduate programs or at some point in your career, you may have to attend a group interview. I have been asked by many graduates what they should do to stand out. As somebody who has facilitated many group interviews, here are my top tips:

First of all, you need to know what the interviewers/ facilitators are trying to find out about you. 
 

What they will generally be looking for are:

  • An ability to express an opinion
  • Team player qualities
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership potential
  • Striking the balance is the difficult part. You don’t want to come across as a quiet and retiring sort of person. On the other hand, you don’t want to appear loud and boisterous. One thing is clear though – you need to demonstrate that you are a leader rather than a follower.

Here is a guide on how to find that balance:

Have an introduction ready: At the beginning of the interview, the employer will most likely go around the group asking people to introduce themselves. If you are unprepared, you may come across as lacking in confidence. You could also be asked why you believe you are the best candidate for the job, so prepare this too.

Research: You could be asked specific questions about the company and industry you are applying for. If you have done no research, this will be immediately apparent.

Practise: Group interviews often involve role-play. Practise different scenarios with friends and family and ask for their feedback.

Arrive early: If you are part of a large group, the first to arrive will always stay in the managers head. It also demonstrates enthusiasm. Having said that, arrive no more than 15 minutes early. Any sooner than that may be irritating to the employer as they are trying to get set up for the group interview.
Listen: Do not interrupt other candidates while they are getting their point across. This will demonstrate your teamwork and communication skills. If you’ve already spoken first for a number of questions/tasks, give your team mates (or competition!) a chance. This will also demonstrate your leaderships skills as it is an important leadership quality to listen to others.

Be the first to speak a few times: I emphasise a few times. It’s crucial that you do this to stand out but please be aware of how long you’re speaking for. Only speak if you have something worth saying and not just for the sake of it.

Pay attention: Keep your focus on the employer as they speak. Use your non-verbal communication skills such as nodding and eye contact. Take a pen and paper and make notes if necessary. Remember to also pay attention to other candidates. You don’t want to repeat the same answer they have just given.

Smile: Even if you are terrified, smiling will be better than sitting there with a frown.
Prepare questions: As with any interview, always have some questions prepared for the end of the interview. This will help you to stand out. Do not ask about pay at this time.

Say thank you: Don’t forget to thank all interviewers for their time. Remember to shake their hand.

Find out what recruiters are looking for and get help with tailoring your CV to what a company wants. Speak to our friendly Placement Consultants today.
 

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