How to Make Yourself Shine in a Group Job Interview
These days, with more people applying for fewer open positions, employers are always on the lookout for ways to streamline the hiring process and save time. One way they are saving time and comparing candidates is through implementing the group job interview.
When you’re part of a group job interview, you’ll meet one or more interviewers as part of a larger pool of candidates. In most cases, the interviewers will present some information about the company and the position and then open up the discussion among the candidates. Depending on the interviewer, each candidate might be asked to answer the same question, or the discussion might center on a particular issue.
Employers who use the group job interview format say that it saves time and allows them to evaluate candidates more fairly. When everyone is interviewed together, it removes any biases based on the interviewer’s mood or other outside factors. It also gives the interviewer a glimpse of how a candidate interacts with others and how they perform in a team environment.
But for a candidate, a group job interview adds a new dimension of pressure to the job interview process. Instead of focusing on your own performance and what you can bring to the company, you also need to show how you stand above the competition.
If you’re called to participate in a group interview, don’t panic. Instead of worrying about how you’ll compare, consider the meeting a chance to shine and show exactly why you’re the best person for the job.
You’re Being Watched
As with any interview, the interviewers are observing your behavior from the moment you walk into the room. To make a good impression, introduce yourself to both the interviewers and the other candidates. Be aware of your body language and facial expressions throughout the interview. While you may want to roll your eyes at the candidate droning on about how he was accepted to all of the best programs and has the solution to all of the company’s problems, resist the urge. Remain pleasantly neutral to make a good impression on the interviewer.
While you may firmly believe that you’re the smartest person in the room, and that could be true, avoid appearing aggressive or confrontational by dominating the conversation. It’s okay to disagree with another candidate, but politely acknowledge the other candidate’s answer before explaining your point of view. You don’t want to answer every question and talk over others, but you don’t want to be a wallflower either. Listen to the other candidates and observe what they say, but don’t forget to put in your own two cents.
Most group interviews begin with an opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves. When it’s your turn to speak, share information that shows how you can handle the job and that highlights your differences from the other candidates. Mention jobs you’ve held and advanced degrees you’ve earned, such as a masters in health administration, but also mention something that makes you memorable, like that you enjoy mountain climbing or you’re an accomplished musician. Don’t go on too long; just choose one interesting fact that will set you apart.
Do Your Homework
Even if your group job interview starts with an information session, you need to come to the meeting fully prepared. Do some research beforehand so you can ask insightful questions. Showing that you have a thorough understanding of the company and key issues facing the industry can launch you to the top of the list, especially if other candidates are less prepared.
Very few jobseekers actually like the group job interview, but understanding how to prepare for and approach such a meeting can take away some of your anxiety. In fact, if you conduct yourself professionally, effectively communicate your knowledge and experience and show the interviewers your passion, a group job interview can actually be your chance to shine.
About the Contributor: Nicole Huber recently earned her Colorado online degree. Previously, she worked full-time as career counselor.
What other ways do you think would help a candidate shine during a group job interview? Share your opinions in the comments!
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