By Shannon Lee, OnlineDegrees.com
Job interviews can be nerve-wracking on the best of days, but a group interview can take those nerves to a whole new level. The atmosphere oozes with competition, as everyone fights to be heard and make the best impression. How do you stand out in a room full of other job applicants who might be just as qualified as you are?
Group interviews are a great time-saver for potential employers, and provide a unique atmosphere in which to examine communication and social skills. This type of interview serves as a test of leadership and teamwork, two qualities that are high on the priority list of any hiring team. Some interviews might be a simple give-and-take of questioning and interaction, but others could present the group with a problem to solve or a debate to be had.
Whether it’s a simple interview or a complicated impress-fest, these tips can help you make a lasting impression.
1. Arrive in plenty of time.
Though being prompt should be an obvious interview tip, showing up early for a group interview does more than prove your punctuality. You can use the time wisely by chatting up the other interview subjects or building a rapport with the interviewer while you wait for others to arrive. Getting to know the names of everyone in the room will help when you are in the midst of a group discussion later.
2. Turn on your conversation savvy.
Be friendly and personable, yet professional. When talking with your potential colleagues (or competitors!), make a point of including everyone in the conversation. Try to draw in those who seem a little shy. Handle debates carefully by stating your points clearly but never cut anyone down. The last thing the hiring team wants to see is a combative, arrogant approach.
3. Do some in-depth research.
If the interviewer asks for questions from the group, be prepared with a few that will provide pertinent information and insight to everyone. In order to do this, research like crazy before the big day. Find out all you can about the company, benefits they offer, key players in various departments and current events that might affect the workplace, then come prepared with a short list of questions. If you know who will be interviewing you, do your research into them as well.
4. Be the most original person in the room.
You want to stand out in all the good ways. Do that by being the one they will all remember. Craft an engaging, honest and smile-inducing introduction that breaks the ice. Speak confidently and surely, remember to make eye contact, and carry yourself with a confident demeanor. Those first few minutes can set the tone for the rest of the interview, so use them wisely.
5. Dress neatly but catch the eye.
In a room full of boring suits, the vibrant splash of a tasteful red scarf or the welcome change of a unique tie will keep their attention. Conservative dress is still the name of the game, but a little pizzazz is definitely called for during an interview where standing out matters.
6. Be the first to say hello.
If you are the one who immediately approaches other interview candidates with a smile and a handshake, you will be seen as outgoing and personable — two qualities that are highly valued by employers. Be the one who greets those who come through the door after you arrive. A confident, gregarious personality can sometimes mean much more than the list of accomplishments on your resume.
7. Remember to send a thank-you note.
When the interview is over, keep the stand-out streak going with a heartfelt thank-you note. If you can get a mailing address and do this with good old-fashioned pen and paper, even better. Just be sure to create unique notes for each person, as they might get passed around the office. This will show even more of your creativity and thoughtfulness, which can go a long way toward solidifying that good first impression.
From the first hello to the thank-you note, the way you conduct yourself in a group interview will linger in the minds of your potential employers. Make sure every thought they have about you counts by following these tips to help you ace the interview and land that coveted position.
Shannon Dauphin Lee has been writing professionally for two decades on a wide variety of topics, including medical and health issues, education, home repair and relationships.