Survival of the fittest
How do you shine in a group interview? FV1’s Francesca Kamara shares her tried and tested tips to help you get that job
So, you’ve managed to bag yourself an interview! This is your chance to show the employer what you can bring to the table. There’s just one catch. It’s a group interview. Help! How are you supposed to shine when you’re jostling against loads of others to nail the top spot?
According to my recent survey, an overwhelming majority of us feel more pressure in a group interview than a one-to-one, and only a tiny minority said that they felt school had prepared them for the experience. So, as group interviews are becoming increasingly popular in the recruitment process, I’ve come up with five tips and techniques to help you excel in them.
- Be confident Easier said than done? If you don’t feel confident, just try to act! It’s vital to show who you are as this is a key skill employers want to see. Don’t compare yourself to the other candidates – just focus on what you have to offer. Even if you’re shy and think the other candidates are all much better than you, you don’t know what the employer is looking for so don’t succumb to resignation. Be yourself and be it well!
- Relax. Don’t let nerves get the better of you. If you’re feeling a bit nervous, have a glass of water, take a few deep breaths. Remember: everyone is in the same boat and employers want you to do well. You can’t control the outcome - all you can do is your best. Hell, just enjoy it – if you don’t get the job, just see it as great interview practise.
- Demonstrate leadership. If you’re doing a group exercise, it’s good to step up as the leader - but not as the dictator! The employer wants to see you can lead a team and still being a team player, so be assertive but not bossy and value each person’s contribution. By doing this, you’ll show the employee what a great person you are.
- Make sure you say something. And when you do, make sure it’s relevant! Many candidates just blurt out comments without thinking. Think your answers through. One way to be prepared is to make a list beforehand of everything you’ve done in the workplace, be it previous jobs, work experience, or volunteering, to remind yourself of things you can talk about. In the group interview, mention specific tasks and how you personally contributed to them.
- Lastly, look smart. Although this may seem pretty obvious, you’d be surprised at how many people still get it wrong. Make sure you’re comfortable and dressed appropriately for the setting. No one will employ a candidate who doesn’t look like they’ve made an effort. And, most importantly, make sure you smile!
You and four other candidates have been given a group exercise. You have 20 minutes to complete it, so what do you do?
- First off, introduce yourself to the team and also get others to introduce themselves. This will break the ice and allow you to know everyone’s names.
- Secondly, make sure the group is aware of the time. For instance, you could say: ‘Right, we have 20 minutes to complete the task. Who would like to be the scribe and who would like keep track of time?’ This is vital as you need to use your time effectively.
- Next, ask each member of your team their ideas, and repeat the ideas to the group. From being clear, the team can choose which idea appeals to them and you can get started on the task at hand. This demonstrates initiative and listening skills which employers want to see.
- Lastly, just before your time is up, bring the task to an end. This could mean summing up what you have done or simply thanking the members of your team.
Watch Francesca's interview with interview coach, Margaret Buj, in FV1 magazine!
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