Oftentimes, a company will have prospective employees interview in groups as one of the initial steps in the hiring process. This allows them to see a larger group of people before scaling it back to just a few for a second interview. It can certainly be intimidating as you can quite literally put a face to your competition for getting the job. I went into my group interview not knowing for sure what was to follow, which is why I wanted to give you all some tips I think you’ll find helpful!
Be nice to everyone
It may seem like a fairly obvious tip, but it’s important to treat everyone you encounter at the office with the utmost respect. This goes for everyone—the janitor, the secretary, the interviewer, etc. People talk, and if you're rude to someone, you can bet that it will come back to bite you—don't make these mistakes. The company will not want to hire someone who is unfriendly or unkind, so be aware of your disposition. Aside from the people who work for the company, it’s also important to be friendly with your competition. When I walked into my group interview, I was extremely nervous, but it was also oddly comforting to see a group of seven other nervous men and women in front of me, knowing they were in the same boat as I was. I made a conscious effort to be outgoing and friendly, asking everyone their names and where they were from. The thing was, I knew I was being observed. There were two women there who worked for the company who were “there to help us.” Read: they were there to watch our interactions. A company is looking for people who can get along with others and work as a team, so although you may not want to make friends with the enemy, it will say a lot about your character and personality if you do.
Resist the urge to get informal
Sometimes, you may have an interviewer who is very casual with you. But before you start throwing “like” or “ya know?” into every sentence, pause. Remaining formal in this situation will show the interviewer you know how to conduct yourself. Think through everything before you speak so that you don’t start sputtering out clumsy and inarticulate answers. Remember: there’s a difference between uptight and formal. Stay true to yourself and who you are, but don’t get sidetracked and end up telling your entire life story.
Find what makes you stand out
In an interview where you’ve literally seen your competition, it’s imperative to find a way to stand out from the rest of the crowd. One good idea is to send a thank you note to each interviewer, so make sure to get business cards or at least contact information as you are going through the process. Also, arrive at the interview early. It shows that you take it seriously. Plus, you may have the opportunity to speak with some people at the company one-on-one before everyone else starts arriving. There’s nothing worse than showing up late to an interview. It looks unprofessional and it’s downright embarrassing. In my group interview, one guy showed up a full hour late! At that point, we had already started going through the interview process. He said he was “stuck in traffic,” but instead of helping his case, it just made him seem like someone who didn’t know how to prepare. Don’t let this dire mistake happen to you.
Group interviews can be intimidating as it forces you to see who your actual competition for a job is, but there are plenty of ways to nail It and stand out, even with other trying to do the same thing. Use this simple advice, take a deep breath, and go in there with a smile on your face and the intention to win them over by showing them why you’re right for the position.
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