How To Shine In Group Interviews

The thought of a group interview can be enough to put anyone into a state of shock, but this is probably because you don't quite know what to expect, that's where we come in. 

Assessment days are just that, a way for employers to assess you. Meaning there will be certain things that employers will be looking out for, the essentials being your ability to:

​• Communicate
​• Influence
​• Work in a team
​• Take and give constructive criticism
​• Lead others
​• Think creatively

Group exercises will usually take one of three forms:

Business game scenarios

These are often linked to the company’s own business. Your grasp of basic commercial issues, your ability to negotiate and organise workflow and, most importantly, your team working skills are being assessed.

‘Ranking’ exercises

'You can only take five of a possible ten items to a desert island. As a group you must to decide on which you'll take and rank them in order of importance.' Your ability to construct an argument and negotiate with other members of the group is being assessed.

Physical tasks

e.g. constructing a bridge out of straws over a one-metre gap. Your interaction with other members of the group, your leadership, teamwork and your practical problem solving skills are being assessed.

This begs the question: how do you stand out in a crowd when there are 7 other job hungry graduates vying for the assessors’ attentions?!

We’re glad you asked - here are GradTouch's top tips on how to shine in group interviews!

1. Assess the situation 

You'll usually be given some written information before you begin the exercise itself. Read it thoroughly, underline key points and look for any red herrings (irrelevant or misleading facts).

The composition of groups will vary; sometimes there might be two or three dominant characters, sometimes none. The skill is to identify the make-up of your group quickly and to contribute accordingly.

2. Listen actively

You need to show to the assessors that you are listening to others and aren’t just hell bent on getting your own way. Avoid cupping your ear in ‘panto’ fashion and instead nod, lean forward, look at the person who is talking and give feedback. Make sure you react to what they say, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak!

3. Hold back

It’s incredibly tempting to think of the group interview as a dog eat dog, battle to the death, but this isn’t the case. There is usually no set number of people who will ‘pass’ a group exercise. All or none of the group may get through.

There will usually be one or two ‘alphas’ in the group who will want to take control, and will be making every effort to show the assessors they can roar the loudest. Let them. 99% of the time this will not be the aim of the game, and being too domineering will cost them their place in the next round.

4. Involve others

As the ‘alphas’ begin to dominate the conversation there will likely be some quieter members who are struggling to get involved in the discussion. Involving these shy characters, through phrases such as “what do you think Sarah?” or “shall we hear from Charlie?” will almost always earn you ‘bonus points’ in the eyes of the assessors!

5. Play it cool 

While group tasks will often involve scenarios where you have to argue a case or persuade the group round to your way of thinking, the last thing you should do is lose your cool.

It’s good to be passionate, but employers will be looking for an employee who can stay calm under pressure and who can structure a logical argument. Stick to positive behaviour and language when interacting with your fellow interviewees. Focus on the points you’re making, rather than picking holes in other peoples.

6. Keep the group focused

With so many opinions to take in to account and everyone wanting their ‘air-time’ discussions have a tendency to go off task and end up with everyone scrabbling to come to some sort of agreement in the last two minutes.

A good tactic is to make it your job to keep the group focused on the task. Remind the group every five minutes or so of the time they have left and what needs to be done. Steer the conversation away from distractions and back on to the brief. Clarify peoples' answers and summarise the group's findings to form a conclusion.

So there you have it! Some handy hints to help you shine in group interviews. Looking for more advice on how to land a graduate job? Check out our job section and our advice blogs!


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