Group Job Interview Tips
Companies who receive a large number of applications for one position often choose to use group interviews. It is a fast way to screen out candidates and compare them to one another. When interviewing for any job, you are compared to your competition. In group interviews however, your competition is right next to you. This means that you need to try even harder to stand out from the pack.
Group interviews generally begin with an opportunity for all candidates to talk a little about themselves. Since everyone else will probably just list off his or her credentials, add something different into your introduction that will catch the interest of your interviewer. You won’t have the chance to talk very much, so make your comments particularly strong and memorable.
You definitely want to dress professionally for group interviews, but do something to stand out. Try adding a bright red accent to your gray suit. Anything that is tasteful, but helps the interviewer distinguish you from your nearby competition wearing the same suit, will make you more confident and memorable.
That being said, make sure that you don’t stand out in a bad way. Small things like chewing gum or forgetting a resume may not be as noticeable in a one-on-one interview, but will be a glaring faux pas next to a group of prepared applicants. Similarly, arrive early because no one wants to be the last one to arrive. Sneaking into the room late will surely get you noticed, but you don’t want to be remembered in that way.
Plus, if you’re late, then you won’t get to demonstrate your excellent social skills. There is often some time before the interview starts, while they are waiting for everyone to arrive. Sometimes interviewers intentionally start late to see how candidates handle this down time. Even though it could seem pointless or strange to speak with your competition, this is what employers are looking for. They want to surround themselves with sociable people who are team players, so be careful during the interview too in your interactions with other candidates. Be disrespectful and don’t interrupt because group interviews are often set up to see how you interact with others. It is important to praise other candidates for their good ideas, but you should present your own ideas confidently as well.
In most other ways, group interviews should be handled just like any other interview. Prepare, dress to impress, stay engaged. It is of even greater importance than in typical interviews to be prepared for the questions and to know the job description well. Your competition is easier to compare to you, so don’t let them show you up in knowledge and presentation. After the interview is over, send a thank you note just like any other job interview. Forgetting this would once again make you stick out in a bad way against your other competition.
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