Group Interview Tips: How to Stand Out from the Crowd

A group interview can be a daunting prospect for a number of people; but there’s ultimately no need to fear them. There are a number of ways to excel at your group interview, and they aren’t as difficult as you may think.

Group interviews are quite commonplace across a number of workplaces. They are often used to locate the best candidates for sales or customer-focused jobs, as well as more senior roles which require management skills, initiative and the ability to work well as part of a team. Group interviews are increasingly being used for entry into universities too. Employers find this type of interview is a useful tool for finding candidates that have great social skills, work well in a team and show leadership abilities.

Group interview tips

Take a quick look at the following tips if you want to maximise your opportunities within a group interview situation:

Before Your Group Interview

Prepare yourself thoroughly for your group interview, and take your time in researching the role, the organisation, and your daily tasks.

You should already know whether your group interview will involve group discussions or project-based tasks, with many group interviews utilising both methods. If it’s a group discussion, you can expect to be given a presentation of the company, with some time to introduce yourself to the group. Afterwards, your day will be outlined, alongside any tasks that will occur, which will usually have your interviewers stationed around the room observing and noting your actions. Whilst this may sound like an awkward and possibly nerve-wracking experience, if you know what to expect then you will have a much less stressful experience.

If your interview is project-based, you can expect role play or problem-solving tasks designed to test each member of the group. No matter, which type of interview you’re attending, you will need to work out how your key strengths can be displayed within the group, in a way which does not make you appear to be too bombastic or demanding too much attention. It’s important to envisage scenarios which could take place, and see think about how you could react. For instance, if someone hijacks your comments or ideas, how do you respond to that? And how would you handle a quiet member of the group, who does not contribute to the discussion at hand? More examples of group interview scenarios can be found on our website here.

If you have been told what kind of group tasks you will encounter you can consider practising some role play or questioning with friends or family, as it can help you experience the group dynamic first hand, and find any areas you need to work on. However, in most cases interviewers will keep the group discussions and tasks a mystery, so they can view how you work under pressure.

Certain discussions could revolve around a hypothetical scenario the company have found themselves in, and will task candidates to discuss and conclude what direction the company should take. Another common discussion is the “desert island” scenario, which describes how the group have been stranded on an island, and must discuss and agree on particular items which would help with their survival.

A common group task is building a tower to support a certain object, often only given rudimentary supplies such as paper and tape. This is less about the result, but more about how members co-operate and handle themselves. Another is two teams competing to build a Lego robot or a particular puzzle, with certain pieces missing or placed into the wrong box.

For more information, read our free information on group discussions and tasks.

At the Group Interview

You should ensure you arrive for your interview as early as possible, so you can greet the interviewers in a timely fashion, meet the other candidates and mentally prepare yourself for the interview. Ensure your body language is expressive of your alert, attentive personality as much as possible throughout the interview, respect your fellow candidates throughout the course of the interview and show your enthusiasm for any projects or role play tasks allocated.

A short introductory speech may be commonplace within the group interview session, so draft your introduction before the interview and spend time rehearsing this short, two-minute speech.

Your natural good manners mean you won’t interrupt other candidates as they speak, but, where possible, try to include quieter members of your group within any role play or speaking situations. If you know you are the best candidate for the job, your sense of fair play should come into force allowing you to help others shine in this situation as much as possible.

If you’re still nervous about your upcoming group interview, or would rather hone your skills before tackling the job market, then we have the solution for you.

Interview Skills Consulting are professionals in the field of interview training and we can help you hone your technique to enable your strengths to be clearly visible within group interviews, and any other format of job interview.