Landing a job interview brings mixed emotions for most people. After a job search, many are overjoyed that they have been awarded the opportunity to share their talents and experience with an interview team. However, the entire interview process can bring about feelings of apprehension. What’s even more nerve wracking for some is participating in a group interview.
What exactly is a group interview? Good question. It is an unconventional interview format where several candidates undergo group interview questions at one time. Ultimately, it expedites the interview process for the hiring team, but often leaves the interviewees feeling a bit unsure. How can you survive a group interview? Rest assured that this article will help guide those who want to stand out in the crowd and endure a group interview.
Dress to impress
Before anything else, it is critical that you know how to dress for an interview. Especially in a group interview where you will be sitting right next to your competition, you don’t want to look unrefined, unpolished, and unprofessional. Ladies should wear a neutral colored suit and blouse, or a business appropriate dress with closed-toed shoes. Women should always stay away from excessive jewelry or busy blouses. Men should also wear a neutral colored suit, polished shoes, a tie that is free of distracting print, and a pressed, neutral colored collared shirt. If you walk into a group interview with khakis and a polo shirt, you definitely will not look as dapper as the person wearing a neatly pressed suit. This can hurt your chances at landing the position.
You may or may not have been informed in advance that you will be participating in a group interview. In any event, don’t freak out! If you show up and see multiple people, hide your emotions if you are feeling surprised or upset. The group interview team is most likely watching how you react to being in this situation. A look of distress or worry does not exhibit confidence.
Just as most people are silent in a crowded elevator, interviewees waiting to be called in by the interview team tend to keep their lips zipped. This is a huge mistake. Use this as an opportunity to interact and network with the other candidates. By doing so, you will demonstrate that you are confident and are not afraid of competition. You can also tie in applicable parts of your conversations in the actual group interview by referencing another candidate’s name and saying something like, “John and I just had a similar discussion on this topic. Under these specific circumstances I would…” Using a phrase like this shows that you are taking part in the group interview by including other candidates in your responses. Overall, it confirms that you are a team player.
Do not repeat
I repeat do not repeat! Whatever you do, never repeat others’ answers like they were never said aloud. This reveals that you were not paying attention when the other candidates were speaking, or simply that your nerves got the best of you. It is perfectly fine and even encouraged to build off of other candidates’ responses, but never repeat their exact answers to group interview questions. Furthermore, you definitely should never ask the same questions asked in the interview by other candidates. Again, this indicates that you were spacing out and not actively engaged.
A group interview can definitely have you feeling uneasy, but if you are prepared and ready to interact, network, and demonstrate that you are a team player and up for the challenge, you will outshine your competition. Keep calm and take on that group interview with confidence! It won’t go unnoticed.