A group interview means that you will be assessed at the same time as all other candidates for the same position. If you are interviewed as a group, this is generally the first stage, and a one-on-one interview may take place afterwards or at a later date, if you are successful.
The main aim of a group interview is to enable the employer to monitor your behaviour as a member of a team. It will allow the employer to see how you react in a group scenario and see whether you fit in well with a team and help complete objectives, or hinder the progress of the team as a whole.
A group situation will allow the employer to see what role you undertake within the group. Certain candidates will inevitably take to the forefront and adopt leadership roles while others may take a back seat. If you do lead a group, the employer will want to see if you are capable of delegating tasks and controlling the team.
If the job role you are applying for is fundamentally about teamwork then the employer may choose this type of interview to see how you behave in a group situation; as this will be essential to the job role.
Some employers may choose a group interview process as a way of saving time if they have a lot of candidates to interview. They might use the group stage to quickly and efficiently ‘weed out’ those candidates who are unsuitable.
What to expect:
The good news is- the group interview shouldn’t be a surprise. Most employers or recruitment agencies will let you know that you are being interviewed as part of a group beforehand. This enables you to prepare and approach the interview with some consideration.
Role Play: You may have to act out a scenario with some of your fellow group members based on the type of work the company does. This could include simulating a phone call, giving an example of a sales pitch, or good customer service technique. Ensure you are fully aware of what the company does beforehand and listen carefully to what the interviewer wants you to do.
Presentations: This is often an important part of the group interview. You may have to present an idea as part of a group or as an individual. If you present with a group you should ensure that you take an active role in the presentation. Those who do not speak during the presentation will be questioned as to why they have not taken part, even if they came up with the ideas that are being presented. Ensure you make your points clearly and effectively. If you are allowed visual aids, then these could help to get your message across.
Team Building Exercises and Problem Solving: In order to let the employer see how well you participate within a group there will invariably be some team building exercises which will involve problem solving. Ensure you interact well with the group and take a thoughtful, proactive approach to the task.
How to be a good candidate:
Be proactive: You should voice your opinions and take an active role in the process to ensure you stand out. Even if you decide you do not want to be the outright leader of a task, ensure you are voicing opinions and participating fully to ensure you are noticed.
Respect the group: You can make your voice heard without being overbearing. Respect other people’s opinions and allow them to voice their opinions. Be polite and respectful and don’t engage in negative interaction with another team member- even if you don’t agree with what they have to say.
Be confident, not bossy: If you do take a leading role in a task, assert yourself confidently, but do not shout or order people around. Ensure to take people’s suggestions on board; don’t let the power go to your head! You can be an effective leader without dominating group discussion and ideas.
Avoid showing off: Invariably there is always at least one member of the group who believes that the way to get noticed is to make jokes, be very loud and show off. Remember, there are better ways to get noticed! Pay attention to the tasks and what is being asked and focus your attention on completing task successfully and to the best of your ability.
Have fun and good luck! Whether you get to build a lego robot or do a presentation about a block of cheese, group interviews are different and can be a lot of fun. Just remember to be confident, respect others and enjoy yourself!