Group Interviews

Group interviews can vary by style, format, and size.  These interviews consist of more than one interviewee responding to questions and working through tasks/activities as a group.  Interviewers may ask questions, open up a topic for discussion, give problems to solve, and also have portions in which interviewees must work together or collaborate on a response.

Companies are turning to this format to see how candidates may interact with one another and also use it as a strategy to save time when interviewing a large applicant pool.  Employers hiring for roles that would require frequent interaction with people or collaboration on a team tend to use this style.

Tips for navigating Group Interviews:

  1. During these interviews, you want to be sure that you are contributing to the interview, while also being cautious not to overshadow others that are in the room.  Wait for an appropriate time to enter the conversation, add a comment, or professionally rebuttal a statement. Be sure to politely excuse yourself if accidentally interrupting someone or if you have had a hard time getting in any comments or responses up to a point.  Make sure you also get a chance to be heard.
  2. While this format may have settings that are more casual and interactive, it is still crucial to remember that it is an interview and you must be professional.  Even if the environment has gotten conversational, be sure your conversation style is appropriate and the way you would conduct yourself in a typical interview.
  3. It is common that a group interview will be one part of a multiple part interview.  You will want to be sure to dress as professionally as a normal interview would require (“1 step up” from what is typical for the day to day attire on the job) to be sure it’s appropriate for any part of the interview process.
  4.  Be patient and stay engaged.  A lot may be going on during the group interview, and there may be comments or suggestions provided by other candidates that you don’t agree with.  It’s best to keep an enthusiastic demeanor, remain patient, and be ready to contribute again when there’s an appropriate time.
  5. Make small talk with others in the room.  Your interactions with them are very likely to be measured as well, so demonstrate to the interviewer that you are interested in the people and the process.  Keep questions and conversations light while avoiding questions about their work history, skill sets, or what brought them to the interview.