Group Interviews: How to make them Work

Interviews can be, well, intimidating or reasonably peaceful or completely out of your orbit. It all depends on your ability to handle the questions that are coming thick and fast. 

There are all kinds of interviews these days. There are one-on-one interviews, there are two or more in a panel or then there are group interviews or group discussions which are a slightly hidden form of an actual interview.

One-on-one interviews are relatively easy to handle as you don’t have people staring at you and you can relate to the one person asking questions. A panel of people interviewing you can be slightly daunting but if you keep yourself alert yet calm, you should be able to hack the barrage of questions that may come your way. The trick here is not to get hassled.


Group interviews

Now this is a completely different scene. You are sitting with the competition and you have to stand out without showing that you are cocky, smart or over-confident. It’s the small things that go a long way in making a good impression.

If there are more than one or two interviewers, meet each one indivudally and note their names.

When asked a question, you can then address them by name. Generally group interviews start with a general introduction. Keep yours short, crisp but interesting, one which tells them enough about you to make them want to ask more.

Don’t let any one person monopolize the conversation. Step in when you think the person is rambling on, step in with a more pertinent and to the point response. On your part this shows attentiveness and an understanding of what is required. Similarly if there is one interviewer who is not speaking, try and involve him/her in your next response.


Your role in a group interview

Your aim in a group interview is to stand out, a cut above the rest. This is the time to focus on your strengths and to sell your skills and abilities.

Your replies should show the people hiring you that you have thought about how the company can benefit from you. Make your answers result-oriented and pro-active.

Body language plays a very important role in a group interview. There are people who are watching your every move. If you fidget, shift around, play with your hands, or keep moving, then it sends out a message that you may be nervous or uncomfortable.

Sit alert, look at people when you are answering a question (don’t stare though), and use your hands to convey a point, not to distract the interviewer.

Dress right, have your research done and be ready to use it to your benefit. Most importantly, you must balance your speaking with your silences. Too much speaking might show you to be a talker and not a worker; whereas, too much quiet might show you to be inattentive or someone who is afraid to take the initiative.

Lastly practice in advance, so that confidence shines from your shoulders when you walk in, shake hands, and introduce yourself. You must sound and appear like someone who belongs there, who knows what he or she is doing, and who is talented and confident enough to get what he or she seeks.

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