Preparing for a group interview: Ask Amber

By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting

As recruiters aim to keep up with the high volume of applicants and implement creative ways to find the perfect person for their organization, some have turned to group-style interviews to allow more job seekers the opportunity to speak with interviewers in person. Should you find yourself in an interview with multiple other applicants, it is important to put your best foot forward. This week I’ll offer tips on standing out in group interviews.

Dress as you would for any other interview

Unless the employer specifies otherwise, you should attend the interview/open house dressed in business professional attire. Your appearance is very important and the standard rules apply (nothing revealing or excessively worn).

Arrive early

While it’s always good to arrive early and give yourself enough time to find the site/parking and prepare yourself, for a group interview, Hire Me 101 advises that being the first to show up can give you a major advantage. By getting to the interview 10 or 15 minutes early you have the opportunity to stand out and introduce yourself one on one (or at least in a smaller group) to the interviewer(s). If you are greeted by an interviewer or any staff member before the interview, be polite and social; this is also a great time to use your previously rehearsed elevator speech.

Socialize with other applicants

While you likely won’t leave the interview with a new network of best buds,  being rude or short with other applicants will make a strong (negative) impression on prospective employers. Show that you can be professional, even in uncomfortable situations, and that you function well as part of a team. Don’t think of a group interview as a competition. Yes, you are all after the same job, but the object of the interview is not to crush the competition—it’s to prove that you are the right person to complete that organization’s team.

Follow up with a thank-you note

Thank-you notes should be a common practice for job seekers, but in the case of group interview a thank-you note is more than polite—it’s your chance to again stand out. Be sure the thank-you note includes details specific to your responses/interactions in the interview, reminding interviewers exactly who you are; for example: I really enjoyed discussing your organization’s upcoming events with you before the interview, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more information about them on your website.

The more prepared you are for a group interview, the better able you will be to perform and make a lasting impression. Have you been part of a group interview? How did you prepare? Please feel free to share your experiences and expertise with other young professionals by leaving a comment below.

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