Things You Need to Know About Group Interviews

Is there anything more exciting than getting that call for an interview? You’ve been waiting by the phone, checking messages and email constantly and now you know you made it. YOU SCORED THAT INTERVIEW. Inside you are elated and invisibly giving yourself the fist bump when the person on the other end of the phone adds, “Oh, and this will be a group interview, so please come prepared with multiple copies of your resume.”

What?

Uh-oh. If you’re like most people, the thought of speaking to a room full of people gives you a feeling of dread. Especially when the stakes are high. But relax. There’s no need to worry – in fact this style of interview can sometimes work in your favor, and here’s how.

The Process is Faster

Believe it or not, group interviews serve a greater purpose than just to scare you. In today’s hectic workplace, it can be hard to manage schedules. Getting everyone responsible for making the hiring decision all in the same room actually helps you, as it speeds up the decision making process. If you had to wait for time on everyone’s calendar, it could stretch out the process to weeks or even months.

It’s More Consistent

Convening a group of people to come together and ask questions means that everyone will hear the same answers. And that can work in your favor! You won’t have to repeat yourself over and over or worry about accidentally providing conflicting information to two different people.

It Tests How Well You Handle Pressure

Let’s face it – jobs sometimes give us situations that make us sweat. Maybe it’s presenting information to a challenging client, or being called on at the last minute to lead a meeting or fill in for someone doing a job that you’re not exactly familiar with. Answering questions from a group of people shows your interviewers just how well you handle that pressure and deal with the spotlight.

So, How Can You Prepare?

Research

If you know who will be in the room ahead of time, it’s always best to do as much research as you can about them. Are they on LinkedIn? Do they have a bio on the company website? Getting comfortable with who you’ll be dealing with will help you feel more at ease on the day. Remember, we’re all human beings!

Be Yourself

Inevitably there will be someone in the room who doesn’t make eye contact with you. Perhaps they spend the entire meeting tapping on their BlackBerry or slumped in the chair obviously not wanting to be there. Don’t let this distract you! Concentrate on being yourself, and remember that you may not have the full story of why this person is behaving this way. Often times it has nothing to do with you. You will most likely have an array of personalities in the room. Take the time to speak to everyone and make eye contact as best you can, but don’t worry about changing who you are for each person. A team is comprised of many different personalities, and being yourself gives them a chance to see how well you fit. Remember that we each offer our own unique contributions to a team, and there was a reason they invited you to an interview.

Follow Up

Pay attention to the introductions at the start of the interview so you have names to follow-up with later. If they go too fast, don’t be shy about asking the group for their contact information at the conclusion of the interview. This will let them know that you see each one of them as individuals and appreciate their time. That being said – don’t forget to follow up with individual thank you notes for each!

Group interviews are becoming more and more commonplace. Relax, be yourself and enjoy the process.

Updated: 21/03/2017

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