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Group interviews

How to handle yourself during a group interview


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in employment


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Group interviews can be a daunting experience- a strange place, potential employers assessing your every move, and a room full of people you don’t know all vying for the same job.

It may sound like torture to some people, but it’s really all about preparation and taking the right approach.

Why do companies have group interviews?

  • They’re a good way of testing how you deal with other people- an important aspect of most jobs.
  • To see how you communicate in a crowded environment, and how influential you can be to others.
  • To see how well you can think on your feet, and react to trying situations.
  • Then again, some companies just use them as a form of free market research to see what kind of people are applying for their jobs.

How are they different to normal interviews?

  • Group interviews are usually less about you, and more about the company, the job role and what your thoughts are on it.
  • Group members can be given an allotted time to speak over the course of 10 or 15 minutes, or it could be less structured whereby people can speak up when they want.

Don’t let the idea of a group interview deter you from getting that perfect job. As regards your competitors in the room, it’s just like what they say about spiders- they’re just as afraid of you as you are of them, so don’t worry! Follow our handy hints below, and you’ll have nothing to fret about come the big day:

  • Lay down an early marker. If you’re in a conversation with eight or nine other people, make sure you pipe up nice and early. It lets the interviewers know you’re there, and you’ll find it easier to contribute to the conversation thereafter.
  • Don’t be overly-dominating. Some people think that group interviews are more suited to dominant personalities and good speakers, but that’s not necessarily true. Hogging the limelight and taking over the speaking time can leave a bad impression, so make sure your input is brief and precise.
  • Always be polite and civil. It can be frustrating with so many people trying to get their point across in a relatively short space of time, but make sure you don’t lose your cool. Remember, they’re not just looking to see how much you can communicate, but also how you go about it.
  • Get in there, but try not to cut across people. While you’re not hogging the limelight, you might feel that someone else is. It can be difficult to get your speak in when someone insists on rambling on, but try wait for the perfect moment and interject at a point when it doesn’t seem like you’re cutting in mid-speech.
  • Make sure what you say is relevant. You’ll only get so much talking time, so make the most of it. The interviewer would rather hear one minute of you making a relevant, coherent point rather than you waffling on just to prevent others from speaking.
  • Be prepared. Make notes on things you’d like to talk about, get a good night’s sleep before the big day and, most importantly, relax. Once you’ve walked in the door of that building, you’re prepared as you’ll ever be, so there’s no point worrying.
     
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Published October 2nd, 2014
Last updated November 24th, 2016
Tags employment job interviews
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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