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How to ace a group interview

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Matt Darvill Interviews, Tips, Career Advice...

Group interviews are an extremely common part of the recruitment process.  As well as there being multiple candidates to contend with, they’ll often be multiple interviewers too; whose purpose it is to observe and assess from a distance.

Increasingly, many recruiters are ‘surprising’ their candidates with a group interview, to see how prospective employees interact with people they don’t know and how they can work as a team. Whatever the exercise the group is set is irrelevant, it’s not about getting to the right answer; the interviewers are looking at how each individual performs and how they contribute to the team.

We’re very experienced in prepping candidates in group interviews so we’ve come up with our top tips to help you ace your next one.

Before any kind of interview, it is essential to do some research into the company. You never know when the information may come in use and it will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in the role.

Be Friendly

Try and be as affable as possible when faced with those you are interviewing against. The last thing recruiters are looking for is someone who is confrontational.  Being polite and approachable are qualities that any employer expects from its staff. It may also help you in the interview, chatting to others in the same situation could calm your nerves before the start, whilst also ensuring you have a better understanding of the group dynamic.

During the assessment, including others shows your capacity to build relationships, for example using phrases like ‘I agree with…’ and ‘following on from what… said’ will only help you.

Listen

A key skill in group situations is the ability to listen. Lots of people go into these situations being as loud as possible, hoping that by being the dominant voice they will gain more credit when the decision is made. But recruiters are looking for someone with the ability to take on other people’s opinions and make a balanced judgement. By following the conversation and staying engaged you will be able to speak with more purpose. What you say will have more impact, and be more memorable when the interview is analysed.

As an extension to this, don’t be afraid to praise the ideas of the other interviewees. Being able to spot and commend good ideas demonstrates leadership skills, and will show you are able to put the benefit of the group above anything else.

Be Yourself

It may be clichéd, but the most important thing is to be yourself. Trying to be a different person will come across to the interviewers. They might see you as overly loud or trying too hard, and they will quickly spot someone who is being insincere to their colleagues, for example. It is much better to be genuine, having an appreciation of those around you, and ensuring that you’re balanced and respectful.

It might be worth sending a thank you letter, or at least an email to the interviewers the day after. This will help you stand out, particularly if you reference a part of the conversation. It is another way of showing how much you want the role, and standing out from the crowd.

If you have a group interview or think that you may have one soon, we hope that this advice helps you. Let us know how it went in the comments below.