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How to succeed in a group interview

Group interviews are both a blessing and a curse. While the pressure of a one-to-one grilling can be somewhat alleviated by a group dynamic, making a lasting impression in a room full of rival candidates opens the door to a host of new challenges.

Panel interviews will put your skills to the test, giving recruiters the chance to compare your competencies against others. Now is your chance to stand out from the crowd and show an employer you have what it takes – but the last thing you want is to be remembered for the wrong reasons.

This in mind, we’ve compiled a series of tips to help guide you through your group interview to the next phase of the hiring process.

1. Arrive early

As well as demonstrating punctuality, arriving with time to spare can give you a chance to introduce yourself as an individual rather than a candidate. Considering you will be judged from the moment you arrive, this should give you a head-start in impressing the interviewer.  It can also allow you the time to meet fellow candidates and showcase your social skills ahead of the interview. 

2. Be aware of non-verbal cues

Sitting up straight, maintaining eye contact and smiling may all seem like obvious pointers, but they’re easily forgotten in stressful situations. How you carry yourself in the interview can drastically impact a first impression. For instance, slouching can signal to the employer a lack of self-confidence, a lack of interest or worse – both. Making a conscious effort to avoid misleading cues such as eye-rolling, lip-biting or fidgeting can significantly improve your chances of getting a call back.

3. Listen to others

When the spotlight shifts to another candidate, it can be tempting to zone out and use their talking time to evaluate your performance so far or plan your next response. Try to reign in a wandering mind and keep your concentration on the responses of your fellow candidates: doing so may actually help you to formulate a valuable contribution. If possible, demonstrate your active listening abilities by linking your response to a point made by another candidate.

4. Make valuable contributions

Standing out may be your aim but speaking for the sake of being heard will likely backfire. If you’ve ever been in a meeting and heard a colleague make a point that added little value, it’s the same principle in a group interview. If you are to be remembered for the right reasons, think before you speak and try to deliver answers that are both thoughtful and impactful. 

5. Be a team player

The dynamic of a group interview requires candidates not to compete, but rather to demonstrate their unique value to the recruiter. As well as technical competencies, they seek candidates who are natural born leaders: part of this means ensuring everyone is heard and included in the interview. If you feel one particular candidate has been spoken over or interrupted several times, make a point of involving them in your answer. That isn’t to say you need call someone out if they aren’t speaking up – your aim is simply to show a hiring manager an awareness of group dynamic and the strengths you offer as a team player.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.  

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