What is a Group Interview? Common Questions, Tips, and More

What is a group interview? When an employee or a group of workers interviews many applicants at the same time, or when a group of employees forms a panel to interview one candidate, it is referred to as a group interview. Employers typically conduct both sorts of group interviews in conference rooms to mimic a meeting or team project.

What is a group interview?

A group interview is a meeting style involving numerous candidates and one interviewer that is frequently utilized when businesses need to fill multiple positions quickly. In industries like food service, retail, and hospitality, this interview style is common.

A group interview is a screening process where multiple candidates are interviewed at the same time. It is a type of interview that's performed by a hiring manager or group.

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Why do employers use group interviews?

A group interview may be used instead of a one-on-one interview for a variety of reasons. Employers may choose to conduct a group interview with multiple applicants or a panel interview with one candidate and several interviewers, depending on their objectives.

Why are group interviews important?

Group interviews are conducted by employers for a variety of reasons. Firstly, group interviews with multiple candidates are very efficient. They enable the interviewer to do numerous interviews at once, saving a significant amount of time.

Companies may also conduct group interviews to see whether applicants collaborate well with one another. A group interview may also show an employer which candidates fit well with the company culture.

You'll be part of the "candidate group," of whom performs the interview together. You and another candidate could be asked questions together. Creating a situation that will involve multiple interviewees to make a situational scenario in the room.

What is a panel interview?

A panel interview is a format in which multiple interviewers and one candidate meet. Panel interviews are commonly used to gather in-depth information about a candidate from a variety of viewpoints in preparation for a key or competitive position. After a phone screen or initial interview, you may be asked to attend a panel interview. Each interviewer will ask questions that are relevant to their job at the firm and are based on their own experiences. The panel is usually made up of members of the teams with which you will be working in the role.

Employers benefit from both group and panel interviews since they allow them to see how you perform in a group context. The group format is a more realistic reflection of what the role will be like in working with others. Some companies may want to keep you in the dark about the fact that your interview will be in a group until just before it begins, in order to assess how well you perform under pressure.

A traditional interview consists of one hiring manager and one interviewee.

Common group interview questions and answers

Common group interview questions include discussing work situations or problem-solving. Below are questions that multiple interviewers could ask in the group interview.

What was the secret to this team's success?

What they're looking for: Hiring managers use work simulation activities to see if candidates grasp the factors that contribute to a cohesive and effective team.

Example: We were able to collaborate successfully because we were ready to listen to one another's ideas and come up with a solution together. No one attempted to exert control over the decision-making process. It was also beneficial that we worked together to rapidly establish both a "Plan A" and a "Plan B" to address any eventualities.

What would your coworkers say about you?

What they're looking for: Hiring managers use this question to assess your self-perception, compare your responses to what your references have stated, and forecast how well you will fit into their corporate culture.

Example: My coworkers describe me as a diligent and passionate team member. I feel that cooperation is beneficial to most tasks, and I am prepared to do my share as well as step in when another team member requires support. It's also a lot of fun to boost morale by encouraging everyone and come up with humorous rewards when we hit certain milestones.

What words would you use to describe yourself?

What they're looking for: This is a classic rephrasing of the usual "Tell me about yourself" question that interviewers ask at the start of conversations. While it's vital to focus on qualities, hobbies, and experiences that complement the key qualifications the employer is looking for, it's also crucial to personalize your response so that your listeners feel like they've learned something new and fascinating about you.

Example: I've always been a "foodie," a home grower, and a home brewer who enjoys reading cookbooks; I'm never happier than when I'm in the kitchen trying out new recipes. That is why I like working as a waiter so much. It's a joy for me to give menu and drink pairing recommendations to guests, even if I haven't yet acquired my professional chef's certification.

Why are you interested in this position?

What they're looking for: The employer wants to know that you've carefully considered whether the position they're providing is a suitable fit for your professional experience and goals.

Example: I'm ready to advance in my profession, which is why, after three years as a corporate AP, AR, and tax accountant, I recently obtained my CPA certification. I'm experienced with QuickBooks and TurboTax for financial and tax reporting, and I'd relish the opportunity to help your clients improve their tax reporting procedures.

What about our company piques your interest?

What they're looking for: Employers appreciate applicants who have done their homework about the company before coming in for an interview. Prepare a few "talking points" that indicate your interest in their firm by doing your study.

Example: I have an entrepreneurial attitude, and it has always been my ambition to work for a startup business and help to their success. You're already well-known in the media for your groundbreaking "green" goods, and environmental conservation is a subject I strongly support. As your future brand manager, I am certain that I would be an excellent sales champion for your firm.

What can you bring to the company?

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What they're looking for: This is a “Why should we hire you?” question and thus offers you the opportunity to make a successful sales pitch for your qualifications to prove that you’re the best candidate for the job.

Example: I have eight years of luxury vehicle sales experience, during which time I have never failed to meet or surpass my supervisors' quarterly production objectives. I’ve been told that my enthusiasm for innovative new automotive technologies is contagious, and customers appreciate that I can talk not only about comfort features but also about the advantages of internal mechanical, electrical, and computerized systems.

How do you work as part of a group?

What they're looking for: It should be clear from the job listing whether you will be expected to work collaboratively, independently, or both. Structure your answer here carefully, particularly if it’s clear from the job ad that teamwork is an essential part of the role.

Example: I’ve always preferred working on teams, which comes from my experience as an avid student athlete in high school and college. I think that being a good team member requires you to proactively maintain open lines of communication with your associates and your team lead, and so I make sure that I actively listen to others, see where I can jump in to help them out, and try to mediate conflicts when they arise.

What does your career history look like in 30-seconds?

What they're looking for: Answering this question isn’t difficult if you prepare ahead of time. Touch upon the most significant parts of your education, how you’ve progressed in your career, and what you hope to do in the future.

Example: I was immediately hired after college graduation to work as a cub reporter at the Trial Times. During my six years there, I advanced to become their beat reporter for local and then state politics. While I love political field reporting, I hope to eventually turn my talents toward editing and writing political commentary.

From your group, who would you hire? Why?

What they're looking for: Becoming willing to appreciate the accomplishments of your peers is an important part of being a good team member. Although it may seem counterintuitive to recommend one of your competitors for the job you desire, the recruiting manager is doing so on purpose to see how graciously you respond.

Example: Don't make the mistake of tossing someone under the bus. On the other hand, you don't need to describe a competitor's unique strength that clearly distinguishes them from the competition. Instead, select a strength that is comparable to one you exhibited throughout the workout.

What was your individual contribution to the team's success?

What they're looking for: This question assesses your ability to consider and analyze your own work in a group setting. Use your response to remind the interviewer of one or two of the qualities you'd offer to the team as a team player.

Example: One of the most important requirements of this exercise was that we collaborate to develop a realistic action plan. I'm a big-picture thinker who, when given an issue to tackle, quickly considers the advantages and disadvantages of several techniques. I believe I did a fantastic job of assisting our team in framing the most critical concerns, quickly determining what would work and what wouldn't, and then deciding on our next steps.

Why did your team struggle to meet their goals?

What they're looking for: Every project has its own set of difficulties, and competent team members know how to assess what worked and what didn't in order to better their procedures in the future. If you want to make the best first impression, don't blame any one team member for the difficulties. Instead, concentrate on how the entire squad might have performed better.

Example: Because none of us had ever worked together before, we tried to find the ideal process. Teams that are newly formed do not communicate as well as teams that have been together for a while and know each other's capabilities. Because this is a job interview, we all want to create a good first impression, therefore we were probably more ready to delegate than to be given assignments. We quickly recognized, however, that we needed to agree on a team leader. After then, the process planning and implementation ran without a hitch.

How did you deal with the stress brought on by the challenges you faced?

What they're looking for: How do you deal with stress?” is a frequent interview question used to determine if you'll be able to handle the workplace's pace and expectations. Your response should reflect self-awareness as well as, ideally, a proactive attitude to stress management.

Example: The first stage was to concentrate on the specifics of the issues you established and determine the actions required to address them. This offered a rapid sensation of accomplishment, which helped to relieve anxiety. I was also prone to cracking light, mainly self-deprecating comments about the problems that developed in order to make my teammates laugh. Finally, at the end of each challenge, I took two-minute pauses for focused breathing exercises.

Tips to succeed in a group interview

Tips on how to prepare for group interviews:

Get prepared

Prepare yourself. Review the interview questions you'll most likely be asked, make a list of questions to ask the interviewer, and brush up on your interview skills before the interview.

Use active-listening skills

Pay attention to what the interviewers and your fellow applicants have to say. (Signal your engagement through your body language.) Refer back to what the person before you said when answering a question to demonstrate that you were paying attention. Show off your interpersonal skills.

Show you're a leader

Find a way to lead a team project if you're working on one. This does not imply that you should bully your colleagues. Leading may be as easy as involving everyone and ensuring that each person is assigned a responsibility.

If you're reflecting on the project with the interviewer, make sure to acknowledge your collaborators.

Make sure to be honest

While it is important to make your voice known, don't feel obligated to be overly outspoken if you are timid. It's preferable to answer a few questions thoughtfully than to babble incessantly.

Being a good listener who attentively answers questions may still set you apart from the crowd without causing you to pretend to be someone you're not.

Introduce yourself

Have a plan for being able to introduce yourself. Research the company, the job, and who you're interviewing with.

Determine the best way to answer "tell me about yourself" when asked. Recite your response before attending the interview so you can stay confident while answering.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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