How to Ace Group Interviews
Group interviews are rare in our sector but should they happen, they can often be more daunting than one-to-one interviews, simply because there are more people around you, listening to all of your answers. Despite any nerves you may have, you should treat group interviews the same as any other interview. You will all be asked questions and be expected to give reasonable and relevant answers; the basic interview structure is likely to be the same. You can still prepare yourself in the same way as any other interview, just be aware that other candidates may create conversation from your questions or answers. There are a great number of tips that can be used to help you with group interviews, stick to these and any tips you may have used before and you can smash the interview.
Arriving too early to an interview can sometimes be seen as a bad thing. The interviewer has suggested a certain time because that is convenient to them. If you arrive too far ahead of time, you could potentially cause a slight inconvenience. However, arriving early for a group interview can give you a little bit of time to scope out the competition. You can get to know the other candidates and formally introduce yourself. 10-15 minutes seems like an appropriate amount of time to arrive early and be talking to the other candidates, get their too early and you risk being sat on your own for a large portion of time. You definitely do not want to be late to any sort of interview, especially a group interview where you will be being compared to the other candidates in the room. In some cases, being late may affect the other candidates, so the interviewer may not allow you to attend. Make sure you don’t let punctuality get in the way of your job goals.
Greet both the interviewer and candidates
When you enter the room, make sure you greet the interviewer, it’s basic manners. Make sure you make yourself known from the beginning, you would do it in a one-on-one interview, this shouldn’t change. Introduce yourself to everyone in the room, whether that be shaking their hands or asking for their names, make sure you are just as polite to the other candidates as you are to the interviewer. This can give them a good idea of how you interact with other people, letting them know if you would fit in with the rest of the team. It also shows you are a team player, even though you are being judged against these candidates, you are being polite and respectful towards them. Greeting everyone in the interview is a must.
After you have greeted everyone, and they have settled down, it can be a crucial part of the interview to give yourself a little introduction. This can often be initiated by the person conducting the interview, or you can take it upon yourself to introduce yourself when you answer your first question. It gives everyone in the room a little bit of context about you and your background and shows that you have confidence in yourself.
Don’t talk over people
When another candidate is answering a question, it is important to let them finish. Even if you come up with an amazing answer, interrupting them is rude and inconsiderate. Something the interviewer is likely to frown upon. Don’t let small mistakes drag you down in comparison to the other people. However, it is also important to not get lost in the group. Make your voice heard, you can do both. Let people have their say, listen to them and then have yours. You can get caught up in listening to everyone else and forget to answer your own questions. Don’t be shy.
Answer first every now and then
Even though you want to include everyone and be sure not to interrupt, it can be good to answer first sometimes. There is a fine line between confidence and hogging the spotlight, but answering first every now and then, shows you have done your research. You are thinking for yourself and not bouncing off of other people’s answers. It shows that you have your own opinions and are ready to share the skills you have. Be prepared and make sure you are ready for this.
Do your research
Just like any other interview, you must do your research beforehand. Make sure you are reading the job specification before applying for the job, make sure you are doing some background research for the company itself and begin planning some answers to questions and some questions of your own. By prepping yourself ahead of time, you are setting yourself up to succeed. In group interviews the atmosphere can be a little different. Everyone may be polite and respectful but there can be a sense of competition in the air. If you know what you are going to say and ask, you eliminate the chances of someone asking your ‘only’ question. You have a backup. Asking questions is important in any interview situation. It’s likely that the interviewer can tell who has researched and who has not, so it can put you ahead of other candidates.
Group interviews can be difficult for many reasons and they can be different for every job-seeker. Remember to treat it like any other interview. Be courteous of the interviewer and the people around you, make sure you are prepared and put yourself out there. If you are hiding at the back and not talking much, you will not be noticed. You need to make sure you have something to make sure you stand out. Your passion for the job and industry will not be ignored. Be true to yourself and make sure everyone can see it. You are there to make yourself stand out.