A traditional interview between you and an employer can be a stressful experience – until you're called in for a group interview. Group interviews have grown in popularity as a way for employers to efficiently pick out the top candidates without going through the one-on-one interview process. These interviews can demonstrate to hiring managers who has leadership and good communication skills, the ability to be a team-player and the confidence to speak out when necessary. All of these attributes are especially coveted in high-profile investment banking jobs and other top positions in the finance industry.
So, if you're called into a group interview, it's important to know how you can set yourself apart from the crowd and impress your hiring manager with your skills and savvy.
1. Do your research
Researching the company is essential regardless of whether you're going in for a one-on-one or a group interview, but it's especially important for the latter. A group interview is designed to weed out unlikely job candidates, and what better way for an employer to do so than testing their knowledge of the company? Interviewers may go around the group and ask specific questions or simply ask each applicant to detail why they want to work for the company. Either way, you don't want to be left fumbling around for a good answer when simply doing some background research on the company beforehand can put you in a better position.
2. Make a good first impression
When you're being compared to several other job seekers with similar skills and experiences, it doesn't hurt to be the best dressed person in the room and the one with the most engaging introduction. While interviewing for a job is not a popularity contest, it does make a difference to employers if you show up with a professional demeanor and attitude versus walking in with a half-hearted attempt at impressing them. Therefore, get your interview outfit tailored and pressed, greet each interviewer with a firm handshake and smile and be sure to make eye contact throughout the interview.
3. Avoid talking over or "one-upping" other interviewers
Being vocal during a group interview is important, but obnoxiously talking over or berating other job applicants can do more harm than good. Employers want to see that you are passionate about the position and confident enough to speak up for yourself, but they also want to know that you're respective and a team player. If you're hired, it's likely that you will take part in meetings with clients and other department workers, and managers want to know that you have the skills to listen and be attentive when other people are communicating.
4. Highlight what makes you different from the group
Job candidates participating in group interviews are likely to have the same educational backgrounds or similar skill sets to meet the needs of the position. Therefore, setting yourself apart by highlighting unique traits is crucial. Draw on a personal experience, such as a study abroad session in Latin America or a rare hobby, when you have the opportunity to incorporate it into your answer.