Group interviews can be intimidating, especially your first time. There’s a lot to think about: who are the other candidates, how much are you talking, how are you responding to others? There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you’ll give your best impression during a group interview.
Find your speaking balance. A big part of the stress of group interviews is figuring out how often your voice should be heard. The interviewers are trying to see what you can contribute to the company and also how well you work on a team. You want to avoid being too overbearing or too silent. Pay attention to the flow of the conversation – if you answered the last question first, pause after the next question to give someone else a chance to answer before you jump in. If you haven’t been speaking much, try to be the first to hop on the next question or speak up to add on to another’s statement.
Support the other candidates. People often worry about letting others “look good” during a group interview – after all, they’re the competition! Believe it or not, this isn’t a real threat. Employers usually hold group interviews if they have more than one position available, meaning that some or all of your co-interviewees might get hired. More important, the employer wants to see that you can be a good co-worker. Avoid disparaging the other candidates at all costs. If a candidate has a good idea, recognize it and add on with your own thoughts.
Be an active listener. Group interviews are a great way to show that you hear what other people are saying. It can be tempting to be rehearsing your own answer in your head as the other candidates are speaking, but this is a dangerous move. You risk repeating what’s already been said or contributing something that’s now off-topic. Instead, really listen as the other candidates are speaking. If an idea comes to you, make a quick note or keep it in the back of your mind, but keep the focus on what others are saying. This will allow you to demonstrate that you’ve been listening by asking probing questions, adding additional information, or taking an idea in a new direction.
Overall, group interviews are about finding balance and showing that you work well with others. Let yourself shine, and give the other candidates a chance to do the same. Not sure that your group interviewing skills are up to par? Schedule an appointment with a career counselor or come to a Wasserman Meet Up for a chance to chat with Wasserman staff, other students, and employers in a relaxed setting.
Our next Meet Up is on Thursday March 27, with a special employer guest: environmental start-up Ecovative! Joe Risico JD, Ecovative’s VP, Head of Business Development and General Counsel, will be there to chat about careers in law, start-ups, and environmentally conscious career. As always, all topics and questions are welcome!