Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

How to Stand Out in a Group Job Interview

A group interview is a strange mix of good and bad qualities for job seekers. Listening to your peers talk can help you generate ideas for questions, and a group interview is a great chance to show off interpersonal skills. On the other hand, it can be difficult to anticipate the exact format of the job interview, and the inherent competitiveness of the event can be uncomfortable. Here are some tips for preparing for and standing out in a group interview— in a good way!

According to JPS, the group interview will often follow a two-part format. The exercise will begin with introductions of job seekers followed by a short presentation about the company. Then it will move into a series of group activities or discussion topics. The most important thing in a group interview is to engage in what is going on. Pay attention to other job seekers as they introduce themselves, taking polite notes if possible. Also, pay close attention to the company presentation. Odds are the presenter is giving you a lot of information about what the company looks for in a candidate. Furthermore, any information you retain from the company presentation could turn out to be very helpful during the group exercises.

During the group exercise portion of the job interview, it is important to strike a balance between being active, but not overbearing. Here are some tips for doing just that (it can be a little tricky!):

Be friendly.
Chat it up with the other job seekers as you wait in the lobby before the job interview; that way you will have a better rapport during the group activities. This takes some of the pressure off, too.

Speak up!
As Liz Seasholtz at Wet Feetsays, “This is not the time to be a wallflower!” Contribute to the conversation, and do your best to move the discussion in a productive direction.

Listen.
When you talk, try to make a lot of your points connect to what has come before it (including information from the company presentation). Pay attention to what others are saying and build upon it. Don’t make the mistake of tuning out other speakers while you try to think of something good to contribute. You might say something redundant or completely off-topic.

Involve others.
A good way to make sure you aren’t being too overbearing is to ask other people what they think- especially someone who is having trouble getting a word in edgewise. Reaching out to your peers and the other job seekers not only shows your leadership potential, but shows that you respect what others have to say.

The job interview can be tough, but don’t let a group interview worry you. By the way, don’t forget that a group interview can be a great networking opportunity. After all, you’ve just spent an afternoon with a dozen or so people in your field. If you really connect with someone during the job interview, consider exchanging contact information afterward. Best of luck with your group interview!

What are your group interview experiences? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr Grzegorz Łobiński

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.