Stand Out In A Group Interview With These Tips
Interviews are one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of the job search process. It is your time to make a good enough first impression on the hiring manager that they want to bring you in for another conversation and hopefully offer you the job. While we have provided different trips and things to consider for your interview in the past, there is one kind of interview that we have not really touched upon – the group interview.
If you thought interviews were scary, you probably haven’t experienced a group interview. This interview format has been common in entry-level jobs, but has become increasingly popular among employers. While not appropriate for every job type, you should be prepared for a group interview if the time calls for one.
When would an employer use a group interview? According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):
“To determine if a group interview is right for the organization, an employer needs to understand the basic group interview techniques, the benefits associated with the group interview and the best time to use a group interview. A group interview is an interview technique in which several candidates are interviewed simultaneously for similar positions. To be successful, group interviews must be well planned and executed. The plan also needs to outline the company objectives and purpose for using a group interview strategy.”
Types of Group Interviews
The type of group interview you encounter varies depending on your experience, according to The Balance Careers. In one, multiple interviewers meet with and interview a single candidate. In the other, multiple candidates are interviewed at the same time by one interviewer.
In the latter, you can see why it might be difficult to stand out since you are not the only candidate for the job. Due to this, you’re likely to become nervous during the interview. In an article for The Muse, members of the Young Entrepreneur Council provide some advice to stand out in a group interview.
We’re always told this as we grow up, but in the job search this is especially true. If you’re going to act like someone you’re not, chances are if you get the job you will have to keep up the façade and it will be exhausting. When you’re on the job hunt, you are looking for a job that fits your personality and interests. If you put on an act, you might not get a true representation of the culture and you As Michael Spinosa of Unleashed Technologies says:
“Candidates should be genuine. The landscape of professionalism is changing across the country, and we want people who aren’t afraid to bring the positive attributes of their personality to the office. Stay loose, and let the real you shine through. If it doesn’t work out (i.e., you don’t get the job), there wasn’t much of a match, and you’re better off in the long run.”
Show Up Early
The easiest way to stand out in a group interview is to be the first one there. Not only does this show your diligence, but it also provides some one-on-one time with the hiring manager before the rest of the group arrives. There is some scientific proof to back up these claims. The serial-position effect is the tendency of a person to recall the first and last items in a series best, and the middle items worst. When asked to recall a list of items in any order, people are likely to recall the first few more frequently than the middle items. This is referred to as the primacy effect.
“Make sure you are the first one there. Chances are you will get some one-on-one face time with the interviewer so that you can hopefully start building rapport before everyone else shows up! And, even if you don’t get the opportunity to speak one-on-one, it’s likely that the hiring manager will remember your preparation and eager arrival.”
This advice might seem a little counterintuitive since these tips are all about standing out in the group interview so you can hopefully get the job. As LeBron James said in a 2015 subtweet heard around the NBA world:
Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be apart of something special! Just my thoughts
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 8, 2015
Basically, you want to show that you are a good cultural fit at the company. You could be the most qualified candidate in the group, but if you don’t fit in with the culture you likely won’t thrive in the environment and end up looking for new opportunities. Blair Thomas of EMerchantBroker says:
“There’s nothing more important to us than our culture. We are diverse, yet maintain a certain energy and attitude that we hold dear. During a group interview, aptitude, competency, and answering questions properly are often less important than whether or not an individual is fitting in with the group. It is so vital to us that a candidate feel like a member of our team before she becomes part of it.”
Although a group interview requires a little more preparation than your typical one-on-one interview, it is still possible to ace this part of the process. Thanks to the advice from these Young Entrepreneur Council members, and their colleagues, you can be prepared for your next group interview.