How to conduct a group interview

large group meeting

Group interviews can be particularly useful if you are:

  • Trying to fill multiple roles
  • Screening a large amount of applicants
  • Aiming to fill a role within a specific timeframe 
  • Filling a position where customer interaction and communication is a key aspect of the role

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when the interview process includes a group interview

1. Open communication with candidates 

One of the most crucial steps in this process is informing the candidates. Many people find group interviews intimidating, advise candidates as soon as possible so they can thoroughly prepare for the group setting.

2. Plan it out

The last thing you want is to feel unprepared in front of a group of potential co-workers. Instead, plan ahead of time by compiling a list of questions that will encourage an open discussion. This way you can spot which candidates communicate confidently and professionally.

Problem solving questions are also a great way to understand how the candidates will approach issues in the workplace.

3. Take time to introduce the interviewers

Introduce each interviewer with specific details, including their position, how they would potentially work with the applicants and any other relevant information which relates to the role.

It’s best to conduct a group interview with multiple interviewers. This allows all applicants a chance to be observed - if you try to manage it all yourself you run the risk of overlooking a strong candidate.

4. Allow candidates time to introduce themselves

Start the interview off by letting each interviewee introduce themselves. This gives everyone a chance to familiarize with the group and gain confidence amongst the other candidates.

Instead of just asking them to share their name and background, ask them to share their ideal vacation or a favourite place they’ve visited. Starting the interview with a “getting to know you” question will help to offset self-consciousness.

5. Differentiate your questions

While some questions will inevitably be the same for each interviewee, try to ask one or two questions specific to each candidate. Since a lot of questions will have been answered two to three times before some candidates get a chance to answer, they may not have the best idea to share or what they wanted to say has already been said. 

By asking a unique question, you can observe and analyse each person, even the ones who are disadvantaged by answering last.

6. Encourage questions

Make sure to allocate time at the end of the interview to answer candidates' questions. The candidates with good follow-up questions indicate they prepared for the interview and did their due diligence.

It’s best to conduct a group interview with multiple interviewers

7. Take clear notes

You really liked Janet, or was her name Jenny? Taking clear notes is imperative when conducting group interviews. Be sure to write the candidates’ names down and make a key, e.g one star if you liked them, two stars if you really liked them. This doesn’t give anything away if someone glances at your sheet and you won’t call the wrong person back for a follow-up interview.

 

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