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Group Interviews: How to Prepare and How to Stand Out
Group interviews can be extremely intimidating. Even if you do well in a one-on-one setting, group interviews often present additional challenges that can trip you up.
Businesses are using these interviews more and more recently, as they are efficient and can give them an idea of how a candidate works in a team setting. While they can tell employers a great deal about their candidates, they often put interviewees on the spot and present unique pressures.
But if you prepare well enough and keep a cool head, you can make an excellent impression.
In a group interview setting, you may be working with multiple interviewers, multiple interviewees, or both. Even though the dynamic is different, many of the skills you need to ace a one-on-one interview apply here. Exude positivity and pleasantness, speak clearly and loudly, and be confident and respectful. Be aware of your body language – make sure you are open and attentive at all times. And as always, remember to follow up after the interview is over by sending a thank you note.
One of the main elements that trips people up in a group interview is not being mentally prepared to bring these skills into a group setting. Stay focused and you’ll do fine.
Keep Calm and Network
If a group interview catches you off-guard, don’t let it show. Keep your composure and avoid becoming defensive immediately. Don’t treat the other interviewees in the room as your competition. Instead, take this as an opportunity to show off your networking skills.
Be friendly and get to know the other people in the room. This could work to your advantage later, as building off other people’s answers or calling upon conversations you had while waiting for the interview to begin can help you form a thoughtful, complete answer to an interview question. It also gives you more time to learn people’s names, which can also be impressive in this setting and display your leadership skills.
Listen Well, But Speak Up
During group interviews, you need to be very aware of the time you have to speak. Since you may not get much, be as concise and meaningful with your answers, and be wary of monopolizing the conversation. This can leave the wrong impression and end your hopes of landing the job.
Showing that you are a good listener can make all the difference. This shows that you work well in a team and can collaborate well. It also helps you avoid repeating someone else’s answer because you weren’t paying attention, which is a fatal group interview mistake.
While you need to listen, make sure you are also speaking up when given the opportunity. Find a balance between listening and speaking that is both respectful of others and memorable. While in group interviews, words are your currency. Make good investments by being succinct, clear, and thoughtful. The more you say in the least amount of space, the bigger impression you can make.
Also, remember to address everyone in the room. If one interviewer remains silent, make sure to make eye contact and address them just as much as the others.
Things to Bear in Mind
There is a lot going on during group interviews, so make sure you don’t let little things slip through the cracks. For example, remember basic politeness and pleasantries. Some people get so swept up in the process that they forget basic courtesies. Be mindful of this.
Because multiple people will be in the interview, some basic questions you would typically ask an interviewer may be asked before you get a chance to posit them. Prepare a plethora of questions to ask so you don’t wind up empty-handed. You can also concoct questions that address something unique to you and your needs – something that others are unlikely to ask or think of. This can also be impressive in a one-on-one interview, but they’re especially handy in a group setting.
Lastly, be yourself. Be confident that you are the person for the job, and highlight the strengths that are innate to you. Don’t focus on beating the other interviewees, but let your skills and experience show and speak for themselves. This will help you land the perfect job, no matter what kind of interview you face along the way.
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