Head2Head: How NOT to Handle a Group Interview

Group interviews exist not only to test your personal skills and competencies, but to examine your demeanour in a team setting. We know there’s no ‘i’ in team; a selfish person who is great at their job will be more hindrance than help for a business in the long run. HR and other business leaders are placing an increasing importance on cultural fit in recruitment endeavours these days, as everyone knows this goes hand in hand with employee engagement levels and tenure.

Given a toxic hire often has a negative ripple effect throughout an organisation, employers want to make sure they’re hiring people who will fit in personality-wise as well as skills-wise. If you’re gearing up to go into a group interview, consider these no-nos when shaping your approach:

Don’t admit early defeat

Standing out from the crowd can be difficult. Group interviews are likely to be full of different personality types, and each individual will have their own way of doing things; their own views and opinions. If you know you struggle to cut through the noise in a group setting, don’t just throw your hands in the air before the interview and hope for the best. Your nerves will be fighting to get the better of you, but a group interview is an opportunity to challenge yourself and beat the odds, so embrace it. Interviewers will want to see persistence, dedication and some hunger for success! You need to bring energy to the interview and keep your eyes on the prize – if you can get through this round, you will be a whole lot loser to bagging the role.

Don’t go in under-prepared

Being able to offer impressive contributions during group activities and conversations largely comes down to preparation. Just because group interviews might involve impromptu team activities, don’t undermine yourself by going in ill-prepared. You still need to research the company, the role and brush up relevant skills, using the job description as a guide. Treat the group interview as though it were the final opportunity you to have to showcase your interest and suitability to the role, even if it is only the first round… and with HR, not the actual hiring managers. When it comes to interviewing in competitive industries, every moment counts.

Don’t play it safe

Group interviews are not the time to tip-toe on eggshells and be timid. If the interviewers asks a question, don’t be the one who shies away from the limelight and lets others take centre- stage. If the interviewer is looking for a solution, don’t be the one to state the obvious and offer safe, vanilla answers. Employers want to hire visionaries and problem solvers who can add great value to a business, not just break even for them. This is the time to give yourself an extra boost of confidence to ‘go for it’… not fade into the background.

Don’t be a know-it-all

There is always one person in an interview who tries to stand out in the worst possible ways, whether it be by hogging question time, dictating group presentations or showing off their ‘expertise’ at inappropriate times. Don’t be afraid to take a managerial / organisational role in the team (as this will be highly regarded by managers who are looking for employees with leadership potential), just be sure to listen to everyone’s point of view and showcase your ability to lead people, not squash them.

If you’ve scored yourself a group interview, congratulations! Now it’s time to do everything in your power to make sure you leave a lasting impression. For more nifty tips, check out this article:

By Phoebe Spinks

Account Executive at Link Humans, download our 12 Essentials of Employer Branding eBook now.