What is a Group Interview?

Sheri Cyprus

The purpose of a group interview is for a company to find suitable employees in a cost-efficient way. Rather than conducting one-on-one interviews with a hiring manager and a job applicant, group interviews are done with a room full of candidates at once to save the business both time and money. There may be other personnel present besides just the hiring manager at a group interview; human resources representatives and supervisors may also attend.

The group interview process allows companies to find suitable employees in a cost-efficient way.
The group interview process allows companies to find suitable employees in a cost-efficient way.

The total number of staff and candidates at group interviews depends widely on each business as well as the number of job applications received. The amount of company personnel at a group type of interview must be sufficient enough for all of the applicants to be well-observed. Standing out in a group interview is, or should be, the goal of the job candidate, while the interviewers have the task of noticing the standouts in the crowd.

Typically, each interviewee is first observed on his or her choice of appropriate or inappropriate business clothing and general overall attitude. He or she is then likely to be judged on his or her interaction with the other candidates. For example, many staff members who participate in the group interview format look for candidates who introduce themselves to the others and are personable as well as polite despite the competitive setting. Above all, group interviewers look for professional, competent applicants who appear to be an ideal fit for the company and job.

Many group interviews involve workplace simulation tests to see how the candidates interact with one other in the roles of co-workers. Companies tend to favor group interview candidates who show leadership ability, organizational aptitude and communication skills. Some group interviews include feedback after the simulation exercises to see which applicants deal with feedback maturely and professionally.

Applicant knowledge that relates to the position is often tested in group interviews in an almost classroom-like method. For instance, charts and graphs may be shown to the group of applicants with the presenter asking questions for the candidates to speak up and answer. Sometimes, the exercise tests the candidates' quick thinking skills and creativity, such as when a group interview presenter holds up a notebook and asks the candidates how they would sell it. In addition to the knowledge about the industry and job that each applicant expresses, group interviewers look for qualities such as passion, confidence and energy level.

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