Date Published: 1st February 2016

Group interviews are becoming more and more popular these days. It can be quite a strange experience meeting your direct competitors during a joint interview – your initial reaction is to play your cards safe and keep your guard up, but this is exactly what an employer doesn’t want to see.

Group interviews are designed to test a candidate in a social situation, whilst under pressure. It’s about highlighting leadership qualities and having the ability to build rapport with strangers, testing your teamwork and interpersonal skills.

This method of interviewing is helpful when an employer is interviewing a larger number of candidates, this way they can see who they want to take forward to the next stage, whilst also getting a sneak preview of how they may gel with the current team.

It can be really difficult standing out in a group scenario so below I’ve highlighted my top tips:

Beat the competition: arrive early and make an impression

You should always arrive early to any interview but this is especially true in this case. By doing this, you’ll have time to introduce yourself to your competitors and get a little more comfortable before the interview starts.

If you’re first to turn up, the interviewer is more likely to remember you and you’ll have more time to showcase your strengths before the other candidates arrive.

Think about your body language

Group interviews are all about illustrating your social skills. It’s really important you don’t forget about your body language – you need to remain open and confident without looking and sounding too overbearing and bossy.

Remember that your potential employer is looking for leadership qualities so it’s imperative you’re not sitting cross armed and looking agitated.

A lot of candidates tend to underestimate the significance of body language. If you’re feeling nervous, it’s natural that you automatically retreat but this is so uninviting and gives the impression that you’re not really interested about the job in question.

Be positive and confident and your body will follow suit.

Prepare questions

There will always be opportunity for Q&A during a group interview. This is your chance to make a great impression so ensure you’re prepared.

Just like you would in a traditional interview, spend a considerable amount of time researching the business and design questions based on that research.

If the interviewer mentions something interesting that you’ve already read online – let them know! Ask a question that enables you to illustrate the amount of work you’ve done and how much you want the job. Don’t be embarrassed to speak up because if you don’t, somebody else will.

Include everyone

This one is absolutely key. Despite being competitors, it is essential you build a good relationship with your peers during this process. An employer is much more likely to remember the person that everybody warmed to – the one that made an effort to remember names and include them in their conversation.

If you decide to take lead, encourage the more introverted candidates to get involved in the tasks you’re given. This is exactly what the interviewer is looking for.

One of the most important facets of leadership is the ability to ensure everyone’s opinions are heard, not just voicing your own.

Follow up

It’s safe to say that everyone, if they’ve ever interviewed or read about interviews before, SHOULD be following up with a thank you email. Make sure you stand out at this stage of the process, too, by referencing a part of the conversation in which you contributed— this will make the interviewer recall your face and your answer (in a positive way) and will only benefit you in the long run.

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