Though they might seem intimidating, group interviews have become a regular part of the job hunt. The style of interview usually takes place with 5 to 10 other applicants, and has become widely adopted by employers as a way to save time and test candidates on their social abilities. The fact is with dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants vying for a position, most employers need a way to cut some of the time and costs from the process of filling the position. Furthermore, a group interview gives employers a chance to see how a candidate interacts amongst colleagues. Make a group interview your time to shine. Rather than worry about winning against the other job seekers in the room, focus on demonstrating tangible skills such as teamwork, leadership and creativity to your potential employer. Therefore, make a group interview about collaboration, not competition. Here are several tips for standing out during a group interview:
Prepare an introduction
Odds are you'll have the opportunity to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and the rest of the group. Rather than scrambling to come up with an introduction, plan out and practice your introduction to a group audience. Consider what basic information others would like to know about you and also several facts that make you unique. However, be careful not to take up too much time, as the rest of the group will also need to introduce themselves. When practicing, make sure your introduction is under one minute long.
Research the company
This doesn't just apply to group interviews, but every professional meeting you attend. If you know a lot about the role for which you are interviewing, it will help you stand out in a crowded room. Showcase your knowledge of the company articulately without seeming like you're trying to outdo other candidates. Start your research on the company's website, and then expand your study outward to other relevant links and resources.
Listen to others
Don't just wait for your turn to talk – be vocal, but make sure it's relevant and polite. If you simply jump in to say something unrelated to the conversation, it can signify a lack of listening skills. Employers want to see your ability to work with others, and the only way to successfully collaborate is to share ideas. However, remember to never interrupt another candidate. You'll probably be anxious about speaking frequently, but good manners can go a long way. Trying to dominate the conversation or jumping in when others are speaking can not only look rude, but also suggest a lack of teamwork skills.
Don't shy away from speaking
That being said, make sure your voice is heard in the crowd. At times the conversation will likely head in your direction naturally, but also take the initiative to speak first a couple of times. Share original ideas with the group and help facilitate the conversation to demonstrate strong leadership skills.
Don't be too surprised if some people show up to your group interview underdressed. Though a group interview might seem like a more casual setting, it's still a professional interview, which means you should look your best. Dress to the same level you would for a personal interview, but don't be afraid to do so in a way that shows off your individuality.
Bring a copy of your professional documents
Bring along the most recent version of your resume and the cover letter you wrote to apply for the position. You never know if a potential employer will ask for a physical copy of these documents. It will also help you stand out if you have these documents on hand, whereas other candidates might not bother.