INTERVIEWS / NOV. 12, 2013
version 5, draft 5

Standing Out In Group Interviews

Group interviews - Stand out for the right reasons

All job seekers want their perfect role all to themselves. However, when the moment comes of finding it neatly settled inbetween the hundreds of Recruitment Consultancy jobs, they have a suspicion they aren't the only ones to have discovered it.

'The deadline for applications is in a month's time? Everyone and his dog will have applied for it by then!'

Jobs are being treated like Roman artifacts. If you find it, you don't want others to know.

Unfortunately, everyone else will find it, and they will apply for it. Therefore, companies are increasingly using group interviews as a way to quickly vet potential candidates for the role. This method isn't ideal and there are a thousand reasons why it isn't an appropriate process in hiring a new employee, but the company will tell you that it's an effecient way to assess how the interviewees handle inter-personal relationships, thinking on the spot, problem solving and so on. You've got to play their game.

Group interviews can vary. Some will look to add an element of 'fun' in the form of team-building and seeing who can build the largest tower from spaghetti and marshmallows. Other companies will take a more formal approach and sit you down for group tests and ask you to speak to the group.

Although the interviews alter, the interviewee must not. There are certain guidelines to follow. It's natural to look at others in the group and consider adopting their approach if it seems like they are doing well. The truth is you don't know if they're doing well and it could well be the case that your present approach is exactly what the company is looking for.

It's a misconception that being the most assertive is the most effective approach to group interviews. The loudest doesn't always win. The interviewer wants to see an all-rounder. Somebody who can sit back and consider others as well as taking charge when needs be. In group tasks, the alpha-male ordering everybody around may seem like the most competent, but the likelihood is that the interviewer sees him as self-centred, ignorant and a bit of a bully.

Being shy is fine, but negativity is not. Introverts excel in other areas and it's important to keep telling yourself this during the interview process. Give the interviewers some credit and don't assume they will automatically gravitate towards the loudest in the room. When it's your turn to speak, stand up and put on a display of self-confidence. Be assured of yourself. After all, you gained an interview, they clearly see something in you.

The company want candidates who are natural. Somebody consistent. They will pick out the frauds of the group. Don't be worried about being quiet. Group interviews are engineered in a way where everybody gets their turn. When it's yours, show them why their company would benefit from having you there and don't worry what everybody else is doing.

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