Group Interviews or Assessments are increasingly being used by hiring managers as a quick and effective way to narrow down the candidate pool. Candidates are invited to an assessment centre where, through the use of role play and problem solving tasks, hirers can identify the candidates who may best fit their requirements and select them for individual interview or more detailed assessment.
From a candidate standpoint, however, group interviews can be a little unnerving - you want to stand out from the crowd but without appearing arrogant and overbearing. You want to step up and exhibit leadership qualities, but not come across as dominant or bullying. It can be extremely tricky to find the right balance and you need to give this careful thought before the interview.
During group interviews you will be observed to see how you communicate with others. You should speak up and voice your opinions but also listen to others and respect their views too. Don't be dismissive, opinionated or disrespectful of others. If one candidate is dominating the discussions, going into overdrive and putting others down, whatever you do, don't rise to the bait - don't rise to their level. Exercise a little assertiveness, calm things down a little, consider carefully what you want to say and then deliver your point calmly and succinctly. Then perhaps ask another candidate to expand on their views.
It's important that candidates get along with each other, even though they are competing for the same roles. This is especially important when you'll be working as part of a team and therefore need to establish good working relationships with your peers, clients and suppliers.
When undertaking group assignments, try to relate your solutions to the hiring organisation although, depending on the task, this is not always possible. But if you've done plenty of research on the hiring organisation, it should be easier to make your solutions relevant at every opportunity.
As with any interview, as it concludes the group will very likely be asked whether they have any questions. If you've prepared well, this is a great opportunity to stand out - but be careful not to show off!
The interview process starts when you arrive at the venue. Your behaviour in reception is often observed and it is imperative that you show impeccable manners and make a good impression with everyone, including the receptionist who may be asked for feedback. If other candidates are in the waiting area, strike up a conversation, build rapport and treat everyone with equal respect and courtesy. Keep in mind body language, eye contact, tone of voice and the all-important smile and never try to be something you're not... try to be natural.
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