A group interview, also called a panel interview, is an interview where a group of candidates are interviewed together at once and as a team.
The interview is conducted by an interviewing panel – the potential manager, human resources and future co-workers (i.e. the interviewers).
The group job interview can be more of a discussion or a conversation on some work related (or non-work related) situation.
The situation, most often a dilemma and its questions, are presented by one of the interviewers to a team of candidates. The team is required to handle this situation.
This is the 2nd article of the panel interviewing and group interview series.
You may also be interested in reading the article – panel interview preparations.
Group Interviews: Tips for Group Interviews
Needless to say, this type of interview is very challenging as compared to a one-on-one job interview.
It is because the skills and competencies are judged and evaluated by many eyes – one has to impress many interviewers at a given time.
Be aware of the fact that the group interview questions are often prepared in advance and other candidates will be asked, or have already been asked these questions, so that the solution you provide can be compared.
Group Interview: Skills Evaluation
Some of the skills that are examined during the panel interview are:
- Decision making: Do you make decisions based on emotion, on logic or possibly on intuition?
- Problem solving skills: The quality of the solution you provide, the ‘creative’ way you reach a solution and how well you cope with complex (or stressful) situations.
- Negotiation skills: How well you convince and influence people with your ideas.
- Communications skills and listening skills: How do you interact with people? How well do you work as a team member? How do you present a solution?
- Leadership and management capacities: Can you lead a team? Do you dominate a team? Are you a follower or a natural leader? Are you a ‘positive’ leader – how do others react to you when/if you delegate tasks?
- Analytical skills: How do you analyze situations? How do you gather essential information before making a decision?
Refer to the article panel interview tips for more tips and information.
Group Discussion: Interview Techniques for Preparations
The most important task for the applicant who attends a group interview is to stand out among the others during the discussion.
You will never be able to guess the cases, the questions and the process, as every company sets its own group interview.
However, there is a way to prepare for these types of job interviews using these 15 tips:
- When you introduce yourself to the team members, make your story interesting. Highlight some of your unique past achievements. Use your sense of humor, if appropriate.
- Show a sincere interest when others introduce themselves.
- Find the balance between dominating others and cooperating with others – you don’t want to annoy people and come across as “the clever person”, it’s a guaranteed way to get eliminated from consideration.
- Don’t hesitate to be ‘the independent thinker’; you can take a contrary point of view.
- Say what’s on your mind even if your opinion is in a minority position – persuade the members. However, don’t stay in opposition too long and cooperate with others.
- Consult with team members.
- Support good ideas coming from others.
- Listen carefully to others – don’t “interrupt” the conversation flow.
- Ask your team and panel members leading questions.
- If there is a disagreement, be the mediator.
- Don’t try to impress – just be yourself.
- Analyze risks and opportunities.
- Write notes during the conversation.
- Be creative – think out of the box.
- Volunteer to be the team’s public speaker and state your conclusions to the interviewing panel.
Group Job Interview – Questions, Role Playing and Sample Simulation
Refer to the article panel interview questions.