Group interview is a cost effective way of interviewing job applicants. If you are invited for a group interview, you should know a few things before starting to prepare for the meeting with the hiring managers, and with the other applicants.

First of all, companies do not conduct group interviews to compare the job applicants in a situation of a direct confrontation. They conduct group interviews to save time and money. Secondly, you typically won’t get any difficult behavioral questions in a group interview. They will ask only some screening questions, and you can also deal with a role play, or a simple personality test (this depends on the company).

In some cases (when you apply for a position in a team, let’s say sales team, or marketing team), the interviewers may assign group tasks or case studies, and they will observe your teamwork, and how you work on the task together with other job applicants. Let’s have a look at some advice on how to succeed in this form of an interview.


Cooperation beats competition in a group interview

Remember that the interviewers do not compare your interview answers with the answers of other applicants. Each application is considered individually, and at the end of the day, all of you may get the job with the company–or nobody will get it.

I suggest you to talk to other applicants, offer them a helping hand when they need it. You should show some empathy, and demonstrate that you are a team player, that it is a pleasure to have you around in the office–simply a dream colleague.

Remember that hiring managers observer way more than your interview answers. They observe how you conduct yourself, and how you interact with other people in the room. You should not underestimate it.

Focus on your answers–regardless of what someone else says

Many job applicants will start to panic and change their interview answer in a last second, just because someone else said the same thing they originally wanted to say. This is a mistake and you should try to avoid it.

You should try to stand out in an interview–but with good answers. They do not necessarily have to be unique, you do not have to reinvent the wheel. You should say what you wanted to say–your good interview answer, one you prepared upfront, considering the job and everything, the one you feel confident about, regardless of what other candidates say or do. As I’ve already said, they do not compare you with the others. They assess the qualities of each person in the room independently, and hence it doesn’t matter if some interview answers repeat…


Get ready for some tests in your group interview

A group interview is an ideal setting for a written exam. They can check your knowledge of the company culture, or of their core business (this is a common test with Airline companies), your language skills, your IQ, or even your personality with a short test.

You cannot prepare for a personality test in advance, but you can definitely learn more about their company, to be ready for the other tests they may ask you to completer in an interview. Another good idea is to do some online IQ test. While doing such a est won’t help you to improve your IQ, you will at least have some experience with the common form of testing, get familiar with it, and it will feel easier when you have to complete it as a a part of your group interview.


Try to get the most out of your opportunity

Try to speak with the interviewers if you get a chance. Ask them about the next steps of the recruitment process, ask question about their company, show enthusiasm and interest for the job.

Group interview is typically just the first stage of a hiring process. Your main goal is therefor not to sign a job contract, but to progress to the next round of interviews. Keep this goal in your mind, try to present yourself in a good way, and prepare for the questions you may face.


Questions you may face in a group interview

  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell us something about your working experience.
  • Why do you want to work for us, and not for one of our competitors?
  • What motivates you the most?
  • Why do you plan to leave your present job/Why have you left your last job?
  • Why should we hire you for this job?
  • ….

* For an analysis of these questions, and for sample answers to each one of them, have a look at our post about most common interview questions.


Final thoughts

Group interview is actually easier than a typical one on one interview, not to say one when you interview in front of a panel. Seeing other applicants in the room typically has a calming effect on everyone involved. You can talk to each other, share your thoughts, help each other calm down.

Remember that you should focus on your answers, and follow your line, regardless of what other applicants say or do. Your application is considered independently. At the same time, it is pivotal to try to make a good connection with other applicants, and demonstrate teamwork ability, especially if the hiring managers assign you to teams and let you work on some tasks.

Last but not least, try to prepare for the questions you may face, and do not forget to do a good research about your future employer. It will help you with your answers to many questions you may face…


May also interest you:

  • Second interview questions – Typically in-person, and often the final stage of the interview process. Learn how it differs from the screening meeting, what questions you should expect, and how to make a good impression on your interviewers.
  • How to overcome interview nerves – We are nervous when we care, and hiring managers are aware of it. But you should still try your best to overcome your nerves, and our 4 simple strategies should help you to do so.
  • Salary negotiation tips – Learn how to get as much as you deserve, or even more, once they finally offer you the job and you discuss money together.
Matthew Chulaw
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