Ace Group Interviews and Stand Out in a Crowd

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Learn how to stand out in group interviews by practicing these job interview strategies. This is also relevant for anyone who works on a team and in any collaborative context. If you want to master group interview strategies for online interviews and in-person interviews then this lesson is for you!

So you’ve already taken our course on Acing Online Interviews and now you’re feeling like an interview rock star. And so you should!

But then you get an email from the recruiting manager. It says your next interview will be a group interview.

Oh boy. That wasn’t covered in class. And by the way, what the heck is a group interview anyhow?

It’s okay, take a deep breath. 

Today we’re going to do a deep dive into how group interviews are different than individual interviews and what you can do to bring your A-Game.

And for you overachievers who want an even bigger competitive advantage, we have a special surprise at the end that you’re going to love.

Alright, let’s get into it!

Okay so let’s start by clearing one thing up:

Group interviews are a far cry from individual interviews.

For starters, like the name implies, group interviews involve multiple candidates. No surprises there.

You’ll typically find yourself in a conference room with 3 to 8 other candidates along with the hiring manager. Or it could take place online using video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype, or WebEx.

But what most people don’t realize about group interviews is that the hiring manager is looking for a very different set of skills than they are during individual interviews.

What’s that? You want me to elaborate? Gladly.

During individual interviews, your goal is to prove you are a fit for the role, both in terms of your subject-matter expertise and your “cultural” fit. You spend a lot of time talking about yourself.

In a group interview, it’s time to put your carefully crafted anecdotes and hard-earned accomplishments on the back burner because that’s not what matters here.

Instead, during a group interview, your goal is to prove to the hiring manager that you have what it takes to exert influence over a group of strangers. 

You need to demonstrate that you can bring order to a chaotic situation and collaborate with a team to reach a group consensus.

Now let me tell you, this is easier said than done. Have you heard of the term “herding cats”? Yeah, it’s a bit like that.

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to stand out in the crowd and prove you’re made of the right stuff.

For starters, you need to make your voice heard.

After all, if you aren’t able to assert yourself during the session, the hiring manager won’t have the opportunity to hear your clever insights.

To do so, make sure you are making eye contact when you speak and be sure to project your voice so that everything you say is heard clearly.

You’ll also want to seize any opportunity you can to keep the conversation on track. Group interviews are typically structured around a business scenario or negotiation, and the objective of the group is to come up with a solution or compromise.

Whatever the situation, you want to play the role of the guide by providing structure for the discussion. We all love bowling with the guardrails because we hit a lot more pins that way. This is your chance to be the guardrails.

By keeping the group on topic and ensuring they stay focused on the outcome, you prove to the hiring manager that you are results-oriented and know how to effectively manage collaborative processes.

Finally, let’s talk about the dirty secret of group interviews: victory is not mutually exclusive.

What this means is that your success during the interview doesn’t mean another person’s failure. Or vice versa. In fact, it’s entirely possible for multiple candidates to be offered a job from a group interview.

Knowing this, you want to be as gracious and inclusive as possible. The more you help others and build off of their ideas, the more you prove to the hiring manager that you’re a team player. 

The final outcome of the group discussion doesn’t have to be the one you came up with. What matters much more is how involved you were in achieving that outcome. If someone else comes up with a great suggestion, applaud them and expand on it. Compliment others and improve your rapport with them. 

The more they like you, they more likely they are to support your ideas as well.

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Okay, so there you have it. Three bulletproof ways to ace your group interview.

Ultimately, a group interview is an opportunity to show you are a courteous and thoughtful person who will boost the productivity of any team they put you on. Moreover, this is your chance to prove that you’ll delight any clients or stakeholders they put in front of you.

Be engaged, facilitate a coherent outcome, and do it all with a smile, and you’re sure to make a fantastic impression on the hiring manager.

Now, I know I promised a special treat for the overachievers who want a huge competitive advantage in group interviews. 

And here it is:

We’re really excited to present our comprehensive strategy guide to mastering group interviews. If you are anyone you know has a group interview on the horizon, this is the course for you. 

It’s packed with original insights and powerful strategies to ensure you stand out in the crowd during your next group interview.

Even cooler, the content of the course applies to virtually any collaborative context, not just group interviews. So if you work on teams or group projects for your job or a class you’re taking, you’ll find a ton of value in this course since it’s all about developing critical teamwork skills.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, check out this link to take your group interview skills to the next level.

So now that I've shared our thoughts, I would love to hear about your experiences with group interviews. What experiences have you had with group interviews? What strategies have helped you stand out from the crowd? Share that with me and the Explearning community in the comments below.

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With that, have an awesome week, Explearners. 

Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll see you next time for your next Explearning lesson.

Happy Explearning ⚡