What to do in a group interview

Arran Williams, April 17, 2017

For various reasons, companies will sometimes seek to interview multiple candidates for job in a group interview. This might be because their are multiple roles to fill, or because there are many promising candidates who've made applications. In this context, a group interview can help identify promising prospects in a personal setting.

While this may be an effective method for the employer, the idea of competing directly with other people for a job can be very intimidating for you, the candidate! Don't panic, though, help is at hand. Take a look at our top tips to make sure who stand out against the crowd.

1. Prepare in advance

This is great advice for any interview, but it's particularly important for group ones. Make sure you've done your research on your employer: you should seek to demonstrate you know what they do, how they do it and how you can help them in the process.
It's very likely that you will be asked if you have any of your own questions. Bear in mind that in a group interview, all the obvious ones might be taken before it's your turn, so prepare a handful of intelligent questions about the job and the company.

Equally, it's worth thinking about what you will say about yourself when asked to make introductions. All the other candidates will may have to speak about themselves as well, so it's worth taking the time to make yours more original and less clichéd.

2. Get there early

It goes without saying that being late would be a pretty disastrous first impression. And in a world of traffic jams, train cancellations or roadworks, there's no telling when a delay might crop up just at the wrong time. But beyond that, getting to the interview on time will give you the opportunity to make more of a good impression, for longer.

By getting to the interview with time to spare, you will demonstrate that you are punctual, organised and prepared. What's more, getting there with plenty of time will give you space to calm down, collect your thoughts and make sure your in the best state of mind possible.

3. Pay attention to your body language

Again, this advice holds for any interview. But in a group interview scenario, you need to give extra attention to standing out. That means sitting up straight, looking attentive, making positive and friendly eye contact and not slouching or creasing up through nerves.

If you've given yourself time to prepare yourself, this will help in getting you into a relaxed, positive mind sake. Perhaps most importantly, remember to breathe!

4. Listen!

What ever is asked of you in the interview, it's important you make sure you understand. That applies both to the interviewer (you need to understand the question or the task that's being provided) but also to your fellow applicants. You may need to tailor your replies to make sure you don't repeat word for word what another candidate has said. Paying close attention to what others say will also help you identify ways in which you can stand out and emphasise strengths you have which others might not have put to the foreground.

5. Be assertive, but don't trample over everyone else.

In a group interview, the assessor will be looking for people who stand out. If you're asked to do group exercises, bear in mind that the interviewer will be looking for signs of leadership, confidence and assertiveness. But that doesn't mean being overbearing! If you talk over people or fail to include others in a group task, you'll risk looking a bit lacking in self-awareness.

Part of being a leader is being able to bring people along with you and demonstrate the kind of personal skills which make a happy and successful workplace. A polite and congenial manner doesn't just make you a nice person, it also likely makes you an effective operative at work.

Follow these bits of advice and you stand a good chance of shining through at a group interview. Relax, prepare and let your new employer see your potential.

Good luck!