THOUGHT PIECE the carling team
How to Succeed in Group Job Interview
A job interview can be a very challenging task. It can become more difficult when you are asked to participate in a group interview that has a number of applicants simultaneously interviewing for the same position.
Group job interviews have become more popular in the past decade, as they can be very effective at evaluating certain types of skills in applicants. A group interview can help employers determine if candidates have well-developed leadership, teamwork and communication skills. Group interviews can also help an employer see how well a candidate performs under pressure.
For a job seeker, meeting other job applicants in a competitive environment can be a very disconcerting experience. Performing well can become difficult as group dynamics come into play and other job applicants attempt to show off their capabilities. Because of the pressure of the environment, some candidates become more reserved and guarded during the interview — the opposite of what the employer wants to see.
Here are some simple tips to help you succeed in a group job interview and land that dream job!
Make a Great First Impression
It is always important to make a great first impression for a job interview — even more so for group interviews. Arrive early, be well groomed and well dressed, be organised and remember to smile!
Arriving early will give you more time to settle your nerves and to assess the competition you are up against. Greet the other applicants as they arrive and make sure you remember their names. You will be interacting with these people shortly, so building rapport early can be very helpful.
By arriving early, you will also give the interviewer a great first impression and increase the chances that they will remember you after the interview.
Confidence is Key
As you enter the group setting and meet the other candidates, keep your cool. Even if the other candidates are well-spoken, better looking and better dressed, don’t look shocked or disappointed. You can do a great interview with positive attitude. Be confident in your own abilities and how they stack up against other people. If you feel your confidence is rattled, try thinking about the interview as a fun learning experience.
Be Mindful of Your Body Language
In this kind of interview setting, the interviewer will be watching how candidates are handling a high-pressure social environment. Your body language plays an important role here because it broadcasts your emotions to other people.
If you are standing with your arms crossed, it can indicate to others that you are feeling combative, threatened, and judgemental or you refuse to participate. Remain relaxed and be mindful of how you are positioning your body. Your body language should show you are engaged in the conversation, open to communication and friendly towards the other participants.
Be Friendly with the Other Candidates
The worst thing you could possibly do in a group interview is to feel threatened by the other candidates and give them the silent treatment. When the opportunity arises, introduce yourself to the other candidates and make small talk. Tell them a little about yourself and how you are excited at the prospect of interviewing for the position.
Don’t be disconcerted if they aren’t very talkative — they may be more nervous than you and could be struggling to communicate well! You can also gauge the personalities of the other applicants when talking to them, which is useful if asked to perform group activities later on.
Communicate with Intent
Group job interviews can be difficult for shy or introverted people, which is why some employers in creative industries avoid them. To overcome your introversion in a group job interview, when asked a question, take a couple of seconds to think about what you are going to say. Then focus on speaking as clearly and concisely as possible.
Don’t mumble or trail off when giving answers. Even though participants in a group job interview are vying for attention, you don’t have to keep talking to keep the attention focused on yourself. Bring attention to yourself with focused answers to questions that are communicated clearly and effectively.
This is where some level of introversion can really come in handy! It is important to listen intently to other people when they are speaking. Even though you need to participate and involve yourself with the group, try to avoid talking over other people, repeating what other people have said and dominating the conversation.
If you are too busy thinking about yourself instead of listening, you may come across as aggressive or incapable of collaboration.
Don’t try to force yourself into behaving in an unnatural way because it can backfire. If you are naturally introverted, don’t force yourself into a leadership role but instead focus on being effective within the group. It is rare for employers to look for ultra-confident people who push themselves into a leadership roles — they tend to look for people who are intelligent, collaborative and effective.
Involve the Group
If you are one of those people who is a natural leader, or you find yourself in a leadership role during an exercise — include the rest of the group. Employers want to see that you can work with other people and foster a collaborative work environment. This is where remembering everyone’s name comes in very handy! Give everyone a say in the discussion and focus on getting things done in group activities.
Follow up After the Interview
It is always important to follow up the interview with a thank you letter or email. After a group interview, use the thank you letter to remind the interviewer of who you are. Mention a conversation that you had during the job interview to help them remember how well you performed. If you can stay fresh in their mind it will increase your chances of being invited back for another interview or obtaining the position.