Group interviews – part two

April 6, 2004

How to prepare
When you are contacted about your selection for a group interview, Ms Whyatt advises candidates to ask for a job description. CareerOne would add that you should pose any other questions you want answered regarding what is going to happen and what you should bring.Some CareerOne readers have reported that companies were unhelpful when they asked such questions. Just remember that there is nothing wrong with asking and that the more information you gain, the better prepared you will be.
CareerOne would also advise candidates to spend some time researching the company they will be interviewing with. Visit their website at the very least, scan the business pages of the newspaper for stories about them – or better yet, visit a reference library and search the newspaper archives. Candidates might also be able to pick up brochures or an annual report from the company’s office.

Prepare a short piece about yourself. Even if you are never asked to speak about yourself, doing this exercise will help you focus on what skills and attributes you possess and how these will relate to the job or jobs on offer.
Rehearse with a family member or friend. Use your short piece about yourself and do some role-playing using the angry customer and problem-solving staff member as characters. It doesn’t matter that the scenarios will differ when you do the real thing on the day. Rehearsal gets you thinking and helps you practice skills that will make you stand out such as speaking clearly, maintaining good eye contact and remaining calm no matter how angry a customer gets.
Ms Whyatt advises candidates to practice a firm handshake, good eye contact, listening skills and speaking clearly and loudly enough for a group to hear.

She says to also give some thought to body language and what slouching, standing with arms firmly crossed, fidgeting or playing with hands or hair might convey to the recruiters.
CareerOne advises candidates to consider a websearch by an search engine like Google. Place phrases like “dealing with customers” or “group interviews” in the search box and get the low down from experts all over the world. CareerOne did this and found plenty of expert advice on both subjects.

For example, when role-playing with an “angry customer”, never mirror or copy that person’s behaviour. Stay calm, be sympathetic and take ownership of the problem even if you eventually have to say something like: “I want to consult my supervisor to get their input on the best way to assist you …”

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