If you’re looking for a new position or career opportunity, chances are you’ll encounter a group interview at some point during your job search. In a group interview, instead of flying solo in an interview, you’ll go through an interview process with anywhere between two and 50 other candidates. Group interviews are an increasingly popular method for hiring employees, particularly when companies need to hire a large number of staff at a time for similar positions. Group interviews also aren’t uncommon for positions that require high levels of social skills, teamwork, and talking to customers since they give insight into how you interact with others.
Many aspects of a group interview, such as dressing the part and asking great questions, are the same as an interview where you’re flying solo. But other parts are a little different. To increase your chances of getting the job offer after a group interview, follow the following five tips:
1. Read the full interview instructions
Traditional first round interviews are usually relatively straightforward, largely including several interview questions asked by an individual interviewer or panel. Group interviews, due to their large size, can vary significantly. A few examples of kinds of activities these types of interviews often are presentations about the company, group projects with several candidates, pre-planned individuals presentations, question and answer sessions, and individual time with hiring managers. Read the directions in your interview invitation carefully, and if the interview requires you to prepare a short talk or activity, come ready.
2. Make sure you’re hydrated and well fed
This is good advice for any interview, but while traditional interviews often are no longer than an hour, group interviews are commonly three or more due to the sheer number of candidates hiring managers need to evaluate at a time. Bring a bottle of water, healthy snacks, and anything else you need to power through with a smile.
3. Assume everything is part of the interview process
The length of a group interview means there are numerous times you’re not officially interviewing. You might be waiting for other interviewees to present or get one-on-one time with the hiring manager, or taking an official group break to break up the long interview. When the interview isn’t officially happening, hiring managers will still be watching your behavior. Keep your focus, remain polite and cheerful, and make every effort to socialize and make small talk with others who are present.
4. Be a friendly teammate to other interviewees
A potentially awkward aspect of interviewing as a group is that you’re interviewing with your competition. But resist the urge to size up or cut down other candidates. Companies want to see how you cooperate and work in teams with others at group interviews, so pretend instead that fellow candidates are already your coworkers. Outside of group activities, listen politely to other interviewees, but instead of obsessing about what they’re doing in their introductions or speeches and making comparisons, keep the focus on yourself.
5. Stand out from the crowd
The most successful group interviewees follow the rules of the interview, avoid overshadowing other candidates, and are likable team players. But there are still ways you can stand out while playing fairly. Introduce yourself in a way that highlights your strongest work accomplishments and personal attributes, prepare great questions in advance to ask the hiring managers about the position, and show leadership within the team during any group exercises. By highlighting your great qualities, you’ll be sure to have success!
Are you ready to move to the next level in your career? At Bishop & Company, we help match great employees with Hawaii-based businesses who need skills just like yours. Contact us or visit our office in Downtown Honolulu to get started working with us.