How to Handle Group Interviews With Ease

April 8th, 2016

One-on-one job interviews are intimidating enough – and group interviews ratchet the tension level up yet another notch.

Sometimes companies schedule panel interviews simply for the sake of efficiency. But often, their strategy is to assess how candidates perform in a professional group setting. The good news: If you are being evaluated by a number of people at a company, this probably means you are a finalist for a job.

  • An employer wants to know how well you work as a member of a team. Your group interview may be formal, with a scripted set of questions, or it may be a less structured conversation. Often, the format falls somewhere in between the two.
  • Do your research just as you would do before any interview. But group interviews call for extra preparation in order for you to make the best possible impression.

Skills for Group Interview Success

Here are some additional tips for acing your next group interview:

  • Up the ante on your pre-interview prep: In addition to learning all you can about the company and the job, find out the names, titles and a little bit about each one of your interviewers. Get clues on their specific functions and areas of expertise. Know where they fit into the company’s hierarchy.
  • Make sure your first impression is your best one: This is important in any interview, but since you are meeting with multiple people at once, their first impression of you is magnified. Make sure you arrive on time, are appropriately dressed, use the right body language, and are at your personal and professional best.
  • Make connections: Address each interviewer by name and make eye contact as you speak with them. Pay attention to what their interest is in the interview and which topics concern them the most. Don’t make assumptions about whose opinion matters the most in the hiring decision. Try to satisfy and build rapport with everyone.
  • Be a facilitator: If you notice that a certain person seems hesitant to participate, try to draw them in. Ask if you can clarify your remarks or if anyone has additional questions. You can take some control of the interview this way – and building chemistry with all the players is critical.
  • Be diplomatic: If your interviewers have a disagreement and ask how you would resolve it, show that you understand all their points of view. The fact that you acknowledge multiple points of view will bode well for you.
  • Be prepared to repeat yourself: Some panelists may need further clarification about one of your responses, either immediately or later on in the interview. This may be because each interviewer has different needs. For instance, your potential supervisor may be more interested in why you left your last job, while a possible future peer may want more detail on your analytical or data analysis skills.
  • Get business cards and send individual thank-you notes: Your personalized thank-you notes are a great opportunity for you to solidify your interest in the position and reconnect with everyone who interviewed you. Send a separate letter to each individual and personalize the content.

The career search professionals at the Select Group, Inc. can partner with you on your employment journey – and give you the coaching and guidance you need to ace your next interview. Search our job portal, submit your resume, or contact us today for more information.

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