9 Group Interview Tips You Need to Know
So, hiring a professional resume writer to help you brilliantly showcase your skills and expertise worked, and you’ve landed an interview. Just one problem: It’s a group interview.
Most people are familiar with how regular job interviews work, but the dynamics of group interviews are different, and being interviewed together with your competition adds extra stress. How should you handle a group interview?
In many ways, it’s similar to a regular interview. In this article, we dive into group interview tips to help you shine.
1. Do your research
Here’s an essential tip: Never show up to an interview, group or otherwise, unprepared. Make sure you know all the basics about the company and the position you’re applying for, and try to delve deeper than a simple Google search. If you can distinguish yourself from your co-interviewees through your knowledge of the company, that’s a good start.
2. Arrive early
In addition to allowing yourself time for unexpected delays, leaving early is a good group interview tip because if you arrive early to the interview, you can make yourself stand out positively from the rest of the candidates. You can take the time beforehand to interact positively with the other interviewees and leave a good impression, knowing that you’re already being observed by the company. Additionally, you can take in all their posters and bulletin boards to gather even more info on the company and their values and culture.
3. Leave a good first impression
Almost inevitably, the first thing you’ll have to do in your group interview is give a brief self-introduction. Make sure to have something solid prepared in advance, and make sure it’s relevant to the job. You shouldn’t tell your entire life story, but at the same time, you shouldn’t skimp on the details too much. Find a balance.
A good tip for surviving the introduction part of group interviews is to play yourself up a bit. Never lie, but this isn’t the time for humility. Pick the right words and stories to paint yourself in a good, competent light.
4. Listen to and be kind to the other candidates
Another tip that can help you wildly in group interviews is this: Companies love a good team player. Anyone can say they work well with others, but in a group interview, you can demonstrate it. Assume you can learn something from each of your co-interviewees, as listening to their answers may help you better formulate your own responses. Compliment and support them when they have good ideas or strong answers to exhibit your amicable temperament, and make sure to smile and nod often to give off a friendly and positive impression.
5. Take the initiative (sometimes)
While it can be extraordinarily useful to listen to the other candidates’ answers first, another tip for group interviews is to occasionally answer first. If you never answer first, you risk appearing shy, timid, and unconfident, and if you always rush to answer the questions before anyone else, you won’t come off as much of a team player. If you and another candidate start speaking at the same time, give them the floor—or accept it when they offer it to you. Never be pushy or talk louder to dominate others. Actions speak louder than words.
6. Open up the discussion
In a group interview, you’re surrounded by other people with their own opinions and perspectives. Since you all have unique points of view, combining your approaches can lead to an overall better outcome. If you don’t agree with a co-interviewee’s point, our group interview tip is to not bow down in intimidation but to offer your own perspective politely and calmly and allow the rest of the group to weigh in with their own thoughts. Accept criticism where it’s due to show that you’re dedicated to the group, not your own ego.
7. Maintain professionalism
In a group job interview, your aim should be to comport yourself professionally and naturally. Don’t be stiff, awkward, and overly formal, but don’t be too relaxed, either. Our tip is to maintain a healthy in-between. It’s okay to use conversational language—in fact, that’s preferred to snobby, pompous language—but don’t start slipping in too much slang, and stay far away from vulgar expressions.
8. Ask the right questions
At the end of any job interview, whether it’s a group interview or a regular one, you’ll be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. You have to have questions, as not asking questions reflects a lack of interest. Our tip for handling this aspect of a group interview is to consider some backup questions beforehand, and then listen carefully to the interviewer and your co-interviewees during the interview and try to come up with new, pertinent questions. Hold them back until the interviewer asks, and try to ask your best question first, since another interviewee may have had the same question. Don’t talk over someone else if they get there first, though. That’s an essential tip for group interview etiquette.
9. Shake hands with everyone at the end
Our tip for finishing group interviews is to end on a polite and friendly note: Thank your interviewer, and shake hands with all your fellow interviewees to demonstrate your sportsmanship. The interview may have ended, but the test doesn’t truly end until you walk out of the building.
Group interviews can be intimidating. They certainly add some elements you don’t encounter in regular job interviews. However, as long as you prepare sufficiently, they’re not so bad, and by following our tips, you can shine brightly. You might even find it helpful to practice your answers in a mock interview session beforehand.
If you’re having trouble landing an interview in the first place, your resume may need revising. Consider hiring a professional resume writer to make your resume the best it can be.