Group interviews can be an intimidating process; not only are you dealing with the stress of an in-person interview, but your competition is sitting at the table right there with you. While the immediate comparisons are inevitable, it is possible to come out on top just as you would have in a one-on-one interview.
Focusing on differentiating yourself and your skill set from those around you is essential and actually becomes slightly easier when the other candidates are presenting themselves for you to hear. This is your time to shine and point out the unique talents that you bring to the table. Here are some tips to make sure you stand out in your group interview:
1.Prep for Success
Preparation can make or break your chances of getting an offer because lack of preparation is very clear to an interviewer. As with all skills, preparation and practice enhance the quality of that skill. Be ready to talk about yourself by re-assessing your skills, interests, values, and accomplishments. This will allow you to be confident about your abilities and goals.
Do your RESEARCH! Use every possible resource to learn about the company you are interviewing with. Check out their website, social media, featured articles in magazines, anything you can get your hands on to learn about the way they operate. It is also smart to research the position you are applying for to help you prepare for potential questions regarding job duties, your experience, and possible shortcomings that might require explanation.
2.Making the Small Things Work in Your Favor
The first impression starts from the moment you walk in the door. Remember that you will not get a second chance for the first impression with your interviewer. From your prompt arrival, to your attire and hand shake…the small things do matter. So take your time getting ready and preparing to walk into that room because what you wear and how you act will be directly compared to the other individuals in the room.
Your personal grooming, facial expressions, handshake, aroma, projected energy and posture are just the beginning of the long list of things that the interviewer might make snap judgments on. So make it count and put thoughtfulness into your routine leading up to the interview.
3.Interacting with the Group
Employers often use group interviews to take your interpersonal skills on a test drive. As soon as you are joined by other candidates, smile and introduce yourself, engage in friendly conversation if you have time before the interview starts. Not only will the interviewer take notice, but it will help you get warmed up for the real deal.
Integrating with the competition will also help you build on what others say. Respond to questions by referencing comments from other group members to show that you are an attentive listener and to highlight your interpersonal skills. Both of these attributes are essential to majority of job positions you will be applying for.
4.How to Shine
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of group interviews – it’s time to make sure you shine! It is best to focus on what you offer and try not to be competitive. You can highlight your best attributes while still respecting the others in the room. A great way to stand out is by asking amazing questions; if you are sharp, interested, and serious about the position, it will show.
Above all, it is important to be yourself, as composed and well put together as you can be. In the end, you want to find a strong company culture fit as much as the interviewer does. Be genuine, ask sincere, intelligent questions and they will take notice.
5.The Follow Up
After the interview, keep in mind that humans are essentially goldfish: we have short memories and tend to find it difficult to remember a lot of people at once. So it doesn’t matter HOW awesome you were – you should follow up with the interviewer as soon as possible. They might walk away from the group interview thinking about how great you were, but when the next day with the next round of candidates comes, you might not be shining as brightly in their minds.
Email a thank you note that afternoon and then send a hand written note by mail and mention something specific about yourself or the interview that will trigger their memory. Anything that differentiates you from the rest of the group is important, so make this opportunity count!