You've finally landed an interview with the firm of your dreams, but there's a catch - it will take place in a group environment. Interviews are nerve wracking enough when done one-on-one, but add in a group dynamic and it can make you want to throw in the towel. So how can job seekers excel in a group setting when their competition is interviewing alongside them?
Practice and prepare.
"The way interviewees can remain calm is to practice. I would say look in the mirror and speak so that you can see yourself and become aware of how other people are going to view you," says Nicole Kennedy, program coordinator for California-based professional development firm Polishing the Professional. Kennedy also stresses the importance of preparing for the interview and doing your research prior to the meeting. "The more confident you feel about your knowledge of the company, the more you are going to exude that confidence." Taking the time to prepare goes a long way in demonstrating that you will be a proactive employee who is ready to go the extra mile.
"In a group setting, where everyone is trying to win with their words, the winner will be the one who has the best body language, displaying confidence without arrogance. Sit up straight, lean forward to make a point, don't smirk at someone else's statement, and nod as though you appreciate what is being said," advises Bruce A. Hurwitz, Ph.D., president and CEO of Manhattan-based executive search and career counseling firm Hurwitz Strategic Staffing, Ltd. Just because another candidate may be answering a question doesn't mean that it is time for you to zone out and stop paying attention. In a group setting, you are always being watched, not just when it is you in the hot seat. Be aware of what others are saying around you - at the very least you might learn something from what is being said in the room.
Act like a leader.
Group interviews can bring out the competitive spirit in anyone, but be wary of getting overly competitive. "Avoid elevating yourself by putting someone else down. If you want to illustrate leadership, you want to go out of your way to uplift everyone in the room," recommends Business and Efficacy Coach Laura Lee Rose. Show what kind of a leader and team member you will be by embracing the ideas of others, and giving credit where credit is due.
Treat it like a staff meeting.
A group interview is a great way for hiring managers to get a glimpse of how you work in a team setting. According to Lee, "A group interview is no different than a regular staff meeting. This is a good way to see how you will conduct yourself in a meeting environment." Be sure to act like a team player, listen to the ideas of others, and participate in a positive way. Demonstrate that you have a positive attitude that will contribute to the team, and show you are a valuable asset that will make a difference from day one.
The idea of a group interview may be scary, but follow the advice of our experts and you are sure to ace it.