How To Survive a Group Job Interview

Goodness gracious, job hunting is hard work!  I went to my first group interview this week.  I had no idea what to expect, so I felt more nervous than I needed to.  I was surprised I actually ended up having fun and making new friends!  Like any typical blogger, I thought I’d turn my experience into a list of tips.  I hope having a better idea of what a group interview involves helps you feel less nervous when the time comes.  

What to Expect

Big corporations often use group interviews to save time and money by processing large numbers of applicants at once.  They will probably divide applicants into small groups to complete activities together, monitored by assessors who take notes on your individual performance.  You will receive a handful of problem-solving tasks targeting different skills e.g. a customer service scenario or a collaborative drawing task.  This allows the assessors to see how you work in a range of situations.

1. Arrive Early

What if you get stuck in traffic?  What if you struggle to find the venue?  Showing up late writes you off instantly, so play it safe.  Give yourself time to take one last nervous trip to the bathroom and even get to know the other applicants.

2. Make Friends

Before the interview has even begun, you can get to work making friends.  The other applicants are your potential future team mates and you’ll need to work together in the group activities.  Also, remembering people’s names shows you care.  Feeling comfortable around your fellow interviewees gives you an advantage when the activities start.

3. Engage the Assessor

The assessors observe your behaviour to see if you work well in a team.  However, your opportunity to impress them doesn’t end with group work.  Remember the assessors’ names, listen attentively when they speak, and thank them for their time at the end of the interview.

4. Speak Up But Don’t Dominate

If you have a suggestion, don’t keep it to yourself!  But make sure you also listen considerately to everyone’s points of view.  You may have heard that exuding confidence will impress employers, but dominating the discussion can come across as arrogant or inconsiderate.

5. Include Everyone

At group interviews, everyone is worried about making an impression.  An underrated way to stand out is to help others stand out.  If you notice the shy person hasn’t had a turn to speak, use their name and ask them for their opinion.  Maybe you can suggest a way to include their idea in the task, or at least take their perspective on board.  Showing someone else attention is a vital part of leadership.

6. Volunteer

Take initiative and put your hand up for roles.  Maybe this involves volunteering to write down the group’s suggestions, or present your work aloud to the room.  Not only does volunteering keep the ball rolling, but it showcases your readiness to work for the team.

Good luck at your group interview!  Above all, don’t forget to breathe and just be yourself.


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