In a competitive job market, group interviews can be daunting – the competition is in the room with you, after all! However, many companies use group interviews as a way of testing multiple candidates in a team setting, so it’s important to know how to prepare for the group interview properly.
While all the advice for a one-on-one interview will still apply, there are a few other things you’ll want to keep in mind for a group interview.
Being the first to arrive is a great way to make yourself memorable. You might even get some extra one-on-one time with the interviewer. In contrast, you don’t want to be remembered as the person who arrived late and held up the others.
Wearing something colourful is a great way to make you stand out from other candidates and make yourself more memorable. You can go even further and wear the company’s brand colours, a proven technique for catching an interviewer’s eye. If you do choose to go this route, keep it subtle, though – a tie or scarf will suffice.
Treat everyone in the room as a potential colleague instead of competition. Being a friendly and helpful team player will get you much further than ignoring or actively antagonising your fellow interviewees.
In addition, group interviews are often used when there are multiple vacancies to fill, so the person next to you today could be your colleague before too long. The last thing you want to is to start a working relationship on the wrong foot – so play nice.
Prepare your introduction
You’ll inevitably have to introduce yourself to the group, so make sure you have a brief, interesting, and relevant statement prepared. In some cases, you might be asked for ”fun facts” about yourself, so come up with a few things that will make your statement memorable.
Know when to speak
One of the hardest parts of a group interview is finding the balance between being heard and outright dominating the conversation. Being too quiet will make you come off as passive, while being too loud can make you look arrogant.
The best strategy is to make sure you’re seen as the one who ensures everyone gets their chance to speak by inviting others’ input and staying quiet long enough for them to be heard.
Remember: silence can work in your favour. If a fellow interviewee starts saying something that makes them look bad, staying quiet will only be to your advantage. If, on the other hand, they’re saying something impressive, pay attention so that you can formulate a considered response.
Mind your body language
Unlike a normal interview, you won’t always be the main focus of proceedings, but you will still be judged on your behaviour throughout.
When others are talking, make sure you sit up straight and look interested in what they’re saying. If you start sagging in your seat or are obviously not listening, the interviewer will know. Be mindful of your body language and make it work for you, not against you.
Group interview questions
When the time comes for the interviewer to invite questions, you’ll want to make sure you have a good one for them. Let the others ask the standard questions here; yours should demonstrate how much research you’ve done on the company, because then you’ll leave knowing you made a good final impression.
It's safe to assume that everyone interviewed will send a “thank you” email to the firm afterwards, so you want to make sure you stand out at this stage as well. Refer to something you contributed to the discussion – a clever comment, an interesting answer, or even your introductory fun fact.
The goal is to make sure that the interviewer can put your name to your face and remembers you in a positive light.