How to stand out in a group interview

You walk into the building confident and fully prepared to tackle all aspects of the interview. As you reach the reception area to confirm your attendance and sign in, out of the corner of your eye a number of other individuals waiting patiently. You can’t help but feel a sense of panic as it now sinks in that you will have to go head to head with these people for the role you desperately want.

We have all been there at some point in our lives and would be lying if we said it wasn’t a scary situation to be in. We have to fight for what we want and sometimes that means competing with the best people in the field to get it. The most important thing you have to remember is not to let your nerves get the better of you.

Group interviews are deliberately designed to understand the candidate’s way of thinking. Interviewers use group interviews to observe how candidates work in a team environment, how they handle different situations and how they perform as an individual. This allows the interviewer to identity if the candidate has strong leadership skills, good communication skills, team-working skills, and how they analyse information for effective decision-making.

Your main purpose in a group interview is to to be yourself, that way you can truly shine and give an outstanding performance that will leave them thinking of you.

Here are 7 effective ways to stand out in a group interview:

  1. Research

    Like a traditional individual interview, it’s important that you research the company beforehand. You should highlight key points about the business that will demonstrate your knowledge to the interviewer. Don’t limit yourself to just the company’s website and social media pages (if they have any). Dig deeper. Many companies now provide documents on business data sites like Duedil. You never know, information like knowing the company’s turnover from last year might just come handy. Make sure you still look at the company’s website as well as other information that could add value to your interview such as how many staff they have and where their offices are located. 

  2. Dress for success

    When you are competing for a job, you want to stand out for all the right reasons and not stick out like a sore thumb. The first step to success is ensuring that you are dressed accordingly for the role you are applying for. In most cases this should involve looking smart and professional. If in doubt, check with the company beforehand.

  3. Make your voice heard

    When we say this, we don’t mean be the loudest voice in the room. There is a simple strategy to ensure you are heard without coming across as the main voice. In most group interviews, you will usually be asked to work on a small project which will involve solving a specific problem. You will be given time to discuss this within the group and come up with the best solutions to overcome the problem. Ensure that you speak at the right time and make points that will get people thinking. Ask questions within the group and try to show your determination to work together. This will show that not only can you work in a team but that you also lead.

  4. Prepare a brief introduction

    In some cases you you may be asked to introduce yourself, have some bullet points prepared in your head that would best describe you. Remember, first impressions count, so make sure to give it your all. 

  5. Listen intently

    Aside from team-work and leadership abilities, the interviewer wants to know that you can listen to what is being said. Listen to the other candidates as well so you know how and when to answer their questions. Simply nodding your head and smiling when the interviewer is talking can show that you are engaged in the conversation.

  6. Ask questions and be prepared to be asked questions

    When the interview comes to a close the interviewer may ask if you have any questions. It’s good to prepare a few questions beforehand, but be prepared to be asked questions. The interviewer wants to know whether you have engaged with the group exercise and have listened throughout the session.

  7. Greet and thank the interviewer for their time

    If you have the opportunity thank the interviewer for their time at the end of the group exercise. This gesture will show that you are courteous and professional, any may set you apart from other candidates.

How do you make sure you stand out in a group interview? Share your success stories in the comments below! 

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