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How To Prepare For a Group Interview

Updated on August 10, 2015

Group Interviews Are Different From Normal Interviews

We all know the common tips for normal interviews. Wear nice clothes, shower beforehand, put on a smile and give the hiring manager a firm handshake. This is all good advice but group interviews are not the same as meeting the manager one on one. There are a few key areas that specifically need to be focussed on when preparing for group interviews.

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These are:

  • Getting into a social mood
  • Brushing up on team work skills
  • Working on friendly body language
  • Listening to Instructions



Getting Into a Social Mood

Why do companies run group interviews? Often group interviews are run because the company needs to hire many people. Another reason why they are run is because the job requires people that can get along with other people, particularly strangers. This is why group interviews are popular ways of hiring for jobs in retail and sales.

Sometimes, you aren't in a good mood. The job hunt is tough, personal circumstances get you down, it happens. While interviewers say they take this into account they can only assume so much. This is why it's important to get yourself into a social mood, you need to show the employer your best side.

The easiest way to do this is to talk to people before the interview, preferably face to face. Go over to a parents or friends house and see how they are doing. If you can't see someone face to face, call them and have a decent conversation with them. You want to get your brain prepared to talk to people.

Once you arrive at the interview, there will likely be a few people waiting to go into the same interview that you are. It is important to find someone who looks friendly and agreeable and to then strike up a conversation with them. This keeps your social mood up and gets you prepared to move out of your comfort zone. Employers are constantly paying attention, striking up a conversation looks very good to potential employers and is a skill in itself.

Brushing Up On Team Work Skills

Team work skills are another reason why group interviews are run. By working as a team you can not only improve yourself but improve the working practices of other employees, which employers love. Although team work skills is a fairly broad category, in a group interview scenario employers are mostly looking for inclusiveness, cooperation and communication skills.

It might be tempting to try to stand out from the crowd and to answer all the questions yourself. This is a common trap to fall into. Often, the employer is not actually assessing your answers, they are assessing the way you do things. If you are answering the questions yourself, you are likely disregarding some of the other people in your group. This makes it look as if you aren't a team player. The best way to include other people into the discussions is by asking for shy or quiet people to give their input. Make sure that everyone has their turn to answer each question.


Working On Friendly Body Language

You may not realise it, but body language is a very important part of communicating with people. You might feel like you're in a good mood, but often times your body language is not communicating that. It might feel comfortable to sit with your arms crossed, but it actually communicates that you are feeling defensive and closed-off. Working on friendly body language is important because it helps to non-verbally communicate that you are a good fit for the job.

Sitting up straight is important. Slouching forward can make you look depressed and lacking in energy, and can even indicate that you're not interested in what's going no. Make sure to sit in a straight, comfortable manner.

Keeping your hands visible is another good body language sign. Keeping your hands concealed can be seen as untrustworthy, and you definitely don't want to give that impression.

Keeping your arms and legs uncrossed is another good habit to get into. Crossing your arms indicates that you are closed off.

Maintaining strong eye contact can make people uncomfortable. Don't be afraid to look people in the eye, but regularly break eye contact so you don't seem intimidating.

Listening To Instructions

You have been talking well with your group, your body language is spot on, and everyone is cooperating well. It is still very important to listen for any sort of instructions. Make sure that you are talking at a sensible level, not so loud that you can't hear what the hiring manager is saying. It is crucial to listen for and carry out any instructions given. Asking for people to repeat instructions does not look good.

If you don't know what to do it is almost impossible to do the right thing so make sure you don't get distracted.

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In Summary

Make sure you get in a social mood, brush up on your team work skills, work on relaxed body language and listen to what is being said. It is also very important to brush up on traditional interview techniques, such as learning about the company, dressing appropriately for the job and talking about your past experience. Good luck with any future interviews!

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