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10 Guidelines to a Great Group Interview

10 Guidelines to a Great Group Interview

2 is company, 3 is a crowd and any more is a group interview

With there being an average of 118 applications per job, it is becoming harder than ever for recruiters to get through the volume of CV's and ensure no talent is missed, especially when recruiting for more than one job role or employee. 

Therefore, group interviews have become a way to assess several applications at one time as well as measuring applicants ability to effectively work in a team. 

I must mention that panel interviews come under the umbrella of a group interviews (an interview where several interviewers normally up to a maximum of 5, interview one applicant) but for the sake of this blog we are only looking at interviews where a group of applicants are interviewed at the same time including assessment days.

I am going to start off by saying don't panic. Group interviews can be the most enjoyable type of interview; usually they are less one sided and give more of a chance to see the environment and best of all the personalities of those who currently work for the company. But you do need to prepare in a slightly different way then a 1-1 interview to be ready to stand out from the crowd (because in a group interview you literally are in a crowd!

Top 10 Guidelines

1) Only you can do you; Be Yourself

This is probably the most important statement for any type of interview and even more so in a group interview. The worst thing you can do in a group setting is to compare yourself or worse try to better another applicant. Basically, if they introduce themselves as a part time sky-diving enthusiast don't then jump in with your story of being a number 1 sky-diving champion. (1 because it probably isn't true, is it? and secondly although friendly competition is good, overshadowing others just looks petty)
Talk about what makes you unique, in a group interview it is essential to highlight what makes you distinctive, you want them to remember your name when you leave not forget who you were.

2) Confidence; either a strength or fake it until you make it

Nerves can get the better of anyone and in a group interview it is so easy to sit in the back and not speak; but no one is going to give you a job just for being present. You don't have to be jumping off the walls to be classed as confident, everyone's personality is different so don't try to be something your not. 
Give yourself a pep talk before the interview, tell yourself why you're worth hiring and it will give you that self confidence you need to believe in yourself for others to do the same. (However, never stand up shouting show me the money; you need to be a few levels lower than that on the confidence scale!)

Peacocking, Learn how to get noticed in an interview

3) Be a peacock and stand out

If you have not heard of the term peacocking when dating it refers to wearing show stopping clothing and being over the top in every way so you stand out from the crowd. Let's start by saying I am not suggesting you go to the interview dressed in feathers and sequins. 
I am referring to put yourself out there and showcasing what makes you the best candidate for the job. Put yourself forward for activities and don't shy away from the interview.

4) Leaders aren't made, they're born

You may not have applied for a supervisory or management roles but the ability to leader a group is a trait that is beneficial in any role, showing you can take on additional responsibility. In most group interviews there will be some sort of group task where you have to solve a problem as a team and work towards a common end goal. The best way to get noticed is to be the person who steps forward to lead the group, finding out everyone's strengths to help delegate roles to the other members and being the focal point for support. 
Now don't worry this doesn't mean you are now responsible for the failure or success of the group, (it's not the apprentice, the team leader doesn't automatically get fired when something goes wrong) you are just showing you can put yourself forward.

5) It's nice to be important but it is more important to be nice

So I've just told you to be a leader but don't be a leader that overpowers the whole group. Although, you want to get noticed don't do it at the determent of the other candidates. Though you will get noticed it will be for all the wrong reasons and you'll lose someone else a chance at a job that you won't even get it yourself (it's a lose, lose.) 
You need to show you're a team player who can work with several types of people including those with different opinions, so be diplomatic and be the person in the middle who can bring together the other team members ideas and opinions. (although never easy in a relationship, in a group interview you must be willing to compromise) 

In an interview it is important to form a connection with both the recruiter and the other candidates

6) Craft a Connection

It is harder to gain a personal connections within a group setting but most group interviews will give an opportunity to have one to one time with the employer; so really make use of this time. 
However, forming a connection doesn't just mean with the recruiter/ employer, it is equally as important to do this with the other candidates. This will highlight how easily you can adapt in a new team and let's be honest if you form some sort of relationship with the other applicants it will take off some of the pressure and make it more of an enjoyable experience. Especially if there is more than one role available; if successful any one of the other candidates could be your new colleague. We all like to see a friendly face on the first day at somewhere new (and someone else who has no idea where to find the coffee!)

7) Expect the unexpected by being prepared

Every one to one interview I have conducted has gone through a similar structure meaning it is so easy now a days to google questions or tips and advice on how to ace the interview. Now this is where group interviews get tricky as there is no set of rules to the format so you need to expect the unexpected. That means going for an administrator job and then finding out you need to create a house with just marshmallows and straws in a group. Seems a little bit random and a useless activity right? Well not strictly true, it is there to highlight your problem solve skills, your communication and your ability to work as a collective. 
So if you are given a task that at first glance seems a bit bizarre then try and look for the meaning (don't worry this isn't some physiological life question); you're figuring out what the recruiter actually wants from you so you can display those competencies.  

8) Roll up your shelves and get stuck in

It is a group interview after all so get stuck in and engaged in all the activities throughout the interview.  Show to the employer that you are willing to get involved and willing to face head on any task or challenge given to you. 
Be vocal throughout the interview and show that you are excited about this opportunity and do try to actually enjoy the experience. 
Make sure to ask questions throughout to bring yourself to the forefront but remember there is a group of people around you so don't ask questions about pay etc in front of the other candidates. (you need to be able to negotiate on your own)

Knowledge is Power - always research the job before your interview

9)  Knowledge is power; power is knowledge

A very, very true statement. Whether a group interview or a one to one then you are expected (I couldn't put it more clear it is a basic requirement) to know about the role and the company.
Never go to a interview and say I thought you would tell me about the role. Yes, the interviewer should bring more depth to the specification but you should have already done that background research. (why would you go to interview with no information, how would you know how to prepare!)
So put your Facebook stalking skills to use and start reading up on their website or social media. Check out my social media blog for more information on how to do this right; Suit Up your Social Media .

10) Look the part, be the part

Now I have said this a few times but looking professional for an interview is key; but if they haven't told you a dress code there isn't any harm asking. You don't want to be the one that turns up in jeans and everyone else is suited; that's standing out for all the wrong reasons. 
Some employers are happy for employees and applicants to be causally dressed but never assume anything (you all know what assume stands for.
Dressing smartly shows you have made an effort and be prepared by bringing your CV or portfolio or any other documents requested by the recruiter.

Use all these guidelines to ensure you have a perfect performance in your next group interview but always remember if you not sure what to expect in the interview then why not just ask? What's the worst that could happen! And the best that could happen is your prepared enough to get hired. 

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