5 Smart Strategies to Help You Stand Out in a Group Interview
The vibe at a group interview is very different from an individual interview. Both might get you a little anxious, but a group interview is a different kind of anxious. Rather than having the one-on-one time you may have been counting on, you’re going to be in a setting where it might feel like everyone is in direct competition. There’s no nice way to put it – you are.
In group interviews, you really need to make yourself stand out. Preparing a strategy beforehand and sticking to it can help you leave the exact impression that the hiring manager is looking for.
1. Dress Sharply
Whether or not we like to admit it, looks play an important role in first impressions. Wear something well fitted, but comfortable. If you’re packed into your outfit, you’ll be uncomfortable and distracted. Don’t be afraid to wear a small touch of bright color or a fun print, so long as the garment you choose is office appropriate. If there’s a touch of something vibrant, it will naturally be a little more eye catching. The more people look at you, the more likely they are to remember you. Add a small creative element to your outfit.
2. Interact Positively with Everyone
Interacting with others in a group interview may be a difficult notion to entertain. It’s hard to get along with the other candidates – after all, they’re all vying for the same thing you want. Many interviewers are looking for teamwork skills and leadership qualities during a group interview – if they did not, they would just carry out a normal, one-on-one interview. In fact, group interviews have a lot more in common with team building exercises than you may realize. If you are friendly and positive with everyone in the group, this shows that you’re wonderful in a group working environment.
Introduce yourself to the other candidates. Listen when they speak. Nod when you agree with what they say. Be a good sport. If you absolutely have to disagree with another candidate, be sure to raise valid points in a constructive way. Above all, don’t belittle other speakers, even if you know what they say is incorrect. Your competitive nature can outshine other candidates through your qualifications and the answers to the common interview questions.
3. Animate Yourself
Let all your positive qualities show. Speak with confidence and enthusiasm. Utilize hand gestures when appropriate. Have great energy, and project it across the room. Some other candidates may be nervous, intimidated, or negatively competitive. If you make yourself a positive beacon with interesting qualities, you’re bound to make a positive impression on the interviewer.
This doesn’t mean you should brag or be dramatic. Utilize your words and gestures appropriately, but utilize them to demonstrate your sincerity and passion. Smile. Use facial expressions. Pretend everyone in the room is a friend you’ve known for a long time. Allow yourself to feel comfortable and open.
4. Listen as Well as You Speak
During group interviews candidates are often tasked with coming up with solutions to some particular problems. This leads to situations where all candidates are sitting stiffly, waiting anxiously for their turn to speak, without paying attention to what others are saying. Remain calm, prepare your answer, but be aware of others’ answers too.
Listening will allow you to determine what’s lacking. Do you have a leg up on your competition? You’ll only know if you’re really paying attention. Conversation is equal parts talking and listening. If you’re listening to the best of your abilities, you’ll be able to pick up subtleties in the questions and statements you hear. Listening can give you a better version of an answer that was slightly lackluster. It can help you pick up details and keywords in the interviewer’s question, allowing you to properly utilize them in your response and demonstrate comprehension.
When it comes time to speak, consider what you’ve listened to. If you didn’t pay much attention or if things got lost in the shuffle, the interviewer will be able to tell that you were merely waiting your turn to talk. Great leaders and team players are always great listeners.
5. Send Your Regards
Always be in touch after a group interview. Even if they say that they’ll contact you, you should be the one to take the initiative. A lot of people are afraid to seem annoying, or they feel as though “we’ll call you” is the instruction they should be following.
In truth, it’s not unusual for a company to take weeks to get back to someone. They’re very busy. Following up can float you to the top of the list and keep you fresh in their minds when it comes time to make the final decision. It also shows you’re on top of things and actively interested in that specific position.
Send a follow up letter after the interview within 48 hours after the interview. Show gratitude for the invitation to the interview, and touch on a few things that happened. Maybe you had a wonderful opportunity to learn something new. Perhaps something funny happened. Demonstrate your enjoyment of the experience.
It can be easy to let a group interview get the best of you, but you shouldn’t. You were invited to interview because the company saw something great in you. Rather than sinking back into your shell, let them see in person what they saw on paper.
Sienna is an experienced blogger and careers expert, currently supporting Maxo. Sienna might often be found online, participating in online discussions with job-seekers, employers, and employees alike.