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Group Interviews: 5 Tips That Can Help You Prepare

Group Interviews: 5 Tips That Can Help You Prepare


The term "group interview" usually refers to an unconventional interview format in which multiple candidates answer employer questions at the same time. Sometimes these sessions involve group activities and competitions, and sometimes they just involve answering questions around a table one by one. Sometimes this interview format comes as a surprise, and sometimes employers inform candidates in advance. Regardless of the specifics, this interview style can challenge a candidate's flexibility, social adaptability, and teamwork skills…which is why employers choose to do things this way, especially when they're selecting candidates for positions that require high levels of social energy. Here are a few things to expect and prepare for if you'll be interviewing as a member of a group.

1. Keep the big picture in mind.

If you're pitted against others in a contest of any kind, remember: winning the contest isn't your only goal. As in life, "winning" and success are complex propositions. Your evaluators will be carefully watching how you interact with others, so if you focus on the success of the team, hand off credit to those around you, encourage participation from quieter applicants, or support others instead of undermining them, you'll go far. If you do the opposite, you won't.

2.  Listen carefully.

Listen and pay attention to everything that's happening around you. Doing this will provide context clues that can help you win points with your own behavior and answers, but it will provide other benefits as well; You may be working with some of these people in the future and this can help you get to know them. As the answers move around the table, tune in. Don't just wait for your turn to speak.

3. Watch out for red flags.

Even though this may feel like a contest or a social gathering, it's still an interview. And interviews work in two directions. Watch and listen to your interviewers, not just your fellow candidates. Monitor the responses that seem to make them happy or win their approval and disapproval. Read between the lines of their questions. Don't get so caught up in winning the game that you fail to notice a cultural mismatch between yourself and this organization. Make sure this is the right job for you.

4.  Show respect.

Respect your fellow participants, respect your interviewers, and respect the integrity of the event and the venue. It's okay to have a good time and enjoy the process, but don't let this prevent you from taking some key steps: come prepared, dress your best, take notes, be polite to everyone, and of course, stay positive and honest.

5. Get ready for a marathon.

If you haven't been told clearly when the interview will end, expect a long haul. It takes about 30 minutes to get to know a candidate, but it can take hours to assess the strengths of ten candidates. Get plenty of sleep the night before and eat a healthy breakfast. Don't start glazing over, crashing, or watching the clock before the process is half over. Dial in and bring your best effort.

Group Interviews Can help You Shine

Both introverts and extroverts have opportunities to display their strengths during group interviews, but you'll need to take advantage of these opportunities and lay the groundwork ahead of time with a strong resume. Visit MyPerfectResume for job search tools and guidance.

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