So you’ve made it to the next stage of the recruitment process and have been informed you will be meeting the recruitment company or organization for a group interview. You may have had the experience of meeting other candidates in a pre-interview waiting room, but now these competing candidates will be alongside you in the interview room!
Big Fish has taken a look into the structure of the group interview to answer some of the secrets behind making it through this process unscathed or even better successful!
Why do employers conduct a group interview in the first place?
The main objective of a group interview is to enable the employer to monitor the candidate’s behaviour as a member of a team. It will allow the employer to see how candidates react in a group scenario and see whether they fit in well within the a team dynamics.
A group situation will allow the employer to see what role candidates undertake within the group. Certain candidates will without doubt take to the forefront and adopt leadership roles while others may take a back seat.
- Most companies feel that the decision to hire someone should be best made collectively including manager, supervisor, team leader and senior consultants.
- 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 ‘trim out’ those candidates who are unsuitable.
- A group interview avoids the managers and team leaders repeating many of the same questions if the interview were conducted separately.
- It is important to understand group dynamics and how this plays a major role in identifying a candidate’s role within a team. This can influence the decision of a line manager as they are trying to hire not only an individual, but plan for the future culture of their team.
- Group Interviews enables the employer to observe candidates on how they interact with others, especially if the position is about teamwork then the employer may choose this type of interview to see how you behave in a group situation
What should you expect in a group interview?
Group activities are used to test your teamwork and problem-solving skills. Usually the games demand cooperation within the team and this should lead to positive team work.
Most group interviews have the following agenda;
In today’s dynamic working environment companies conduct group interviews for the following reasons;
- Start with a quick ice breaker or tell me about yourself activity, aimed at getting the group energised and ready for participation.
- Role Plays: 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.
- 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.
- Written Scenario Based Question. A typical customer issue or scenario is presented to the candidate and a written response is requested.
- 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. Ensure you make your points clearly and effectively.
Group interviews usually conclude with a one on one interview with either the customer service manager, team leader or the senior customer service representative.
Some handy hints and tips…
How to prepare
- Before you go on a job interview, it’s important to find out as much as you can about the company. That way you’ll be prepared both to answer interview questions and to ask the interviewer questions.
- One key area in which a candidate can stand out from the competition is to be very well prepared for the interview. This means more than simply knowing the location of the interview and who you will be interviewing with, but taking the time to study key areas of your potential employer.
- The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That’s why it’s always important to dress professionally for a job interview.
- A business suit for men and women is ideal. Ensure that you are well groomed and pay attention to your personal hygiene. Don’t overdo the aftershave or perfume, as your interviewers may be sensitive to the fumes, or you may be interviewed in a small stuffy interview room.
- Use these tips for group interviews and your job interview experience will be a positive one. You will stand out as a mature, confident and competent candidate.
During Group Interview
- Before you begin the interview introduce yourself politely to the employer and other candidates. You will be observed from the word go. It is important to be seen as an active participant rather than merely an observer. Contribute your views and ideas while also listening to the other candidates.
- 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.
- Avoid dominating the conversation and don’t interrupt the other candidates
- Acknowledge valuable contributions from other candidates
- Stay cool under stress
- Be aware of your body language. This is something that will be carefully observed. Make sure you are sending the right non-verbal message
- With many candidates all trying to contribute, someone may make your point first. If this happens, think of a statement that adds to this point. This demonstrates that you listen actively and think on your feet.
- Avoid showing off: 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.
- Prepare meaningful questions to ask. You will be asked at some point if you have any questions and you will stand out from the other candidates if you have a planned list of insightful questions to ask
Post Group Interview
- Send a thank you letter to your recruitment agency thanking the client for their time during the group interview and cross your fingers!