The art of the group interview

March 2, 2004

Don’t let a group interview throw you. Follow the advice of expert Jacqui Whyatt, general manager of recruitment services for the Chandler Macleod Group and be prepared.CareerOne has received several emails from job hunters invited to take part in group interviews. Most seem at a loss as to how to prepare for such an interview and what to wear on the day. Some have been fearful about the great “unknown” factor of what exactly will take place.How it works
The group interview is generally used by organisations looking to recruit several people at once. This style of recruiting allows a company to assess many candidates simultaneously so it’s much faster than the traditional one-on-one approach.

Call centres and companies recruiting several people to join a new or existing customer service team particularly favour the group interview.

Often two people will run the group interview – a representative of the hiring company and a specialist recruitment consultant. They are generally on the hunt for attributes such as good problem-solving skills, strong communication skills, a customer service focus and the ability to work with a team.

Ms Whyatt says that instead of following the traditional question and answer format, participants will be placed in groups to solve problems.

“The group interview is designed to test participants against a range of competencies for a particular role while also giving candidates a thorough look at what the company and the role is all about,” says Ms Whyatt.

Participants are asked to come up with a solution for a particular scenario. This could involve one of the participants acting the part of an angry customer while another plays the customer service person dealing with the problem.

Speaking in front of the group is a pretty distinct possibility as it is likely each participant will be asked to act out a role at some point. Ms Whyatt says it’s also possible each candidate will be asked to tell the group about themselves and explain why their particular attributes suit one of the roles on offer.

“Be prepared for the unexpected. You will find yourself in situations where you have limited time and a limited brief to solve a problem,” says Ms Whyatt.

Another piece of advice is to be active. If you hang back, you will not provide the recruiters with anything to assess you on. Employers are looking for people who are outgoing and proactive but being dominating and outrageous will guarantee you attention of the WRONG kind.

“Try to be as natural as possible because you are more likely to end up in a role that is truly suited to you if you act yourself,” says Ms Whyatt.

“If you are trying to act a role, you will find it so much harder to be at ease and confident.”

Next week, How to Prepare.

Want More?

Have our best reads delivered straight to your inbox every week by subscribing to our newsletter.



You Said