Occasionally employers conduct a group job interview, especially for large scale recruitment campaigns such as trainee schemes or graduate schemes.
Group interviews are where many candidates gather together with several interviewers to participate in an exercise of some sort.
Because you can't predict the exercise or exercises you'll be involved in, it's less easy to prepare, but there are things you can do to improve your performance in these type of situations.
We'll explain group exercises in more detail and provide some group interview tips to help you prepare.
The employer will already have selected the best candidates through the usual method of reading cover letters and CV or resumes but the group interview allows them to reduce the candidate pool further by deselecting unsuitable candidates in bulk. It's less time intensive than interviewing each candidate individually.
Usually the group 'interview' involves one or more exercises designed to imitate a work environment. One example involves dividing the group into two or more teams and giving each team a hypothetical (usually work related) situation or dilemma to resolve. Each team is then asked to present its results in front of the entire group.
Sometimes the dilemma is not work related, such as the case whether candidates are asked to decide how to choose 50 of 100 people to save from a sinking ship. These type of hypothetical situations cause a lot of controversy and interviewers can tell a lot from them about how people interact, influence and reach decisions.
During the group interview exercise, the interviewers often walk around the room observing behavior and listening to conversations. Occasionally they will ask questions and take notes and even throw in a one liner or two to stimulate debate or create argument.
But it is individual performance they are interested in, not group dynamics.
Here are some group interview tips to help you maximize your performance in your group interview.