So you know how your resume credentials stack up against your competitors but how about your interview presence? In the business world, companies are increasingly using the candidate group interview tactic to screen future employees. For interviewers, this tactic can expedite the interview process, evaluate how well candidates work together, screen communication skills, and expose interest level in the company. As helpful as it may be for the company, group interviews tend to be a dreaded process for the candidate. To overcome your fears, here are some simple steps to master the group interview through preparation:
Do not be caught off guard! Many companies neglect to notify candidates that there will be other interview participants—but don’t let it break your stride. Mask any looks of surprise and annoyance and keep on a self-assured face. Employers want to measure how well you roll with the punches so make sure to show the interviewers that you are ready and confident.
Keep an emphasis on leadership. Competition is surrounding you— and it’s crucial you do not fade into the background. For typical interview questions, do not be too timid to speak out first. For work-simulation or problem solving questions, interviewers will seek out candidates willing to take the lead and initiate the conversation.
Speak with valuable purpose. When interjecting your ideas during group conversation, do not speak just to be heard. You’re competing for a window of time to pitch yourself as the best candidate. Don’t fill up that precious time with repeating ideas or overly rehearsed responses another candidate probably memorized as well. Make your presence unforgettable by contributing unique ideas.
Listen to the other candidates. It’s understandable to be focused on what you want to say next, however it is imperative for the interviewer to know that you can absorb, digest, and reference what has just been said. Show that you are engaged in all angles of the conversation through use of body language and lack of interruption. Try writing down notes to reference later or to keep reminders of what you want to add.
Just like any interview, do not forget to follow up afterwards. Everyone in the room will be contacting the interviewers as well so make sure your note is personal, including details like their job titles and something you said during an interview exercise.
Like the old adage insists, practice makes perfect, which is certainly true in this case. Be prepared to display your expertise in teamwork while standing out, and your competition will fade away. For more interview tips and job advice, check out the Open Door video interview series.