Group interviews can be pretty stressful…
When you’re not the only one in the room, working out what the interviewer actually wants from you may seem even tougher than usual. Not only do you have to prepare for a new format (cue: group interview questions, role plays, and activities), you’ve also got to factor in the competition.
So what’s the best way to stand out, and what should you avoid doing?
We’ve already covered group interview dos and don’ts, but here are a few more things you should never do at a group interview:
Forget you’re always being assessed
In almost all group assessment situations, your interview starts as soon as you enter the building. And you know what they say about first impressions…
Many employers will even ask other members of the business (including the receptionist) for feedback on how all the interviewees did on arrival – so take the introductory stage as an opportunity to give yourself a head-start.
After all, your initial interactions with both your fellow interviewees, and the organisation’s current employees could make or break your chances.
And, making sure you’re positive, friendly, and polite at all times won’t just demonstrate your suitability. It’ll also prove that your personable behaviour isn’t fake from the outset.
Make comments that have no real meaning
In an attempt to contribute as much as possible, it’s tempting to say absolutely anything just to get your voice heard. But remember: what you say is more important than how much you talk.
Take the time to think before you speak, and most importantly, have confidence in the point you’re making.
After all, if your answer is filled with ‘maybes’ ‘probablys’ and ‘sorrys’, you’re unlikely to convince yourself of what you’re saying, let alone a room full of people.
Similarly, answering any question with a rehearsed stock response will do everything but help you stand out. So instead of making sure you’re always first to speak, come up with answers that’ll actually impress the interviewer, and make you a memorable candidate.
Silent judgments (see also: rude glares and snide remarks) have no place in a group interview. So when it comes to interacting with other interviewees, always play fair.
Instead of letting the competitive nature of the interview take over, working with your fellow interviewees instead of against them is far more likely to win you points.
After all, group interviews are often designed to test your ability to get along well with others and work in a team, and putting your fellow interviewees down to get to the top definitely isn’t the way to do that – no matter how subtle you think you’re being.
And, in the interviewer’s eyes, the best candidates won’t need to feel superior to others to make their skills known.
Copy everyone else
No matter how well you think the other candidates are doing, copying their responses, tactics, or attitude won’t get you anywhere – for two main reasons.
Firstly, it won’t make you unique or memorable. And secondly, they might not be doing as well as you think.
For example, you might see someone who’s overly confident, loud, and is showing ‘good’ leadership skills. But even if you feel like they’re impressing enough to get the job, the interviewer might see it differently.
Instead, use your own skills, experience, and personality to your advantage – and stand out in a way that’s different to everyone else. Icebreaker scenarios in particular are a great way to show your individuality – so always think of a few distinctive things to say about yourself beforehand.
Refuse to take criticism
Remember: you’re not always right (despite how much as it may seem at the time).
Group interview situations are no different. And taking all feedback and criticism on board is vital to showing you can listen, improve, and understand other peoples’ points of view.
Letting other candidates speak up won’t damage your chances of being considered (it will more than likely improve them), and neither will being wrong –as long as you don’t react with a defensive argument and/or sulk.
If you feel strongly about something, backing your points up with good reasoning will help to boost your case – but no matter what, always take everything else into account first.
Because no one wants to employ someone that can’t take a little criticism on board…
If you’re still not sure what to expect, read our guide on how to answer group interview questions.
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