Standing Out in Group Interviews

What Is A Group Interview?

A group interview is when an employer interviews several candidates, at the same time, in the same room. The interview might be set-up in any number of ways. Sometimes the format is a panel with the candidates sitting at long tables and questions being asked with individuals jumping in to respond. Another format is to have candidates arranged in groups with a task or problem to be addressed. The interviewers are interested in observing how you interact with others, seeing the role you take, the support you exhibit, your style for sharing input, capacity to solve problems, and ability to think in the moment. Group interviews are most widely utilized in career sectors where the nature of the work focuses on high interaction with team members and/or extensive customer engagement.

Tips & Strategies

  • Find out in advance if a group interview will be the format. You can often research a company’s interview process on a resource like Glassdoor.com or by asking your point of contact at the company.
  • Recognize that the interview is occurring during every moment that you are at the company, not just when you are being asked questions or engaged in an activity.
  • Talk with others before the more structured format begins.
  • Conduct research, if needed, to fully understand how to effectively engage within a group.
  • If interviewing outside of the U.S., research cultural norms for how people interact.
  • With U.S. employers, show that you are a good listener by acknowledging what you have heard others say, and then sharing your own points of view.
  • Show your ability to partner with others — and if taking the lead is not your preferred role, then share your willingness to take initiative on a task.
  • If you notice someone hasn’t had a chance to respond, ask them what they think.

Group interviews can be fun and energizing, and a chance to see who some of your potential new colleagues might be. Employers recognize that there are many roles to fill on a team and that not everyone can or will be the leader. Engage with others, be considerate, and share your voice!

Photo credit: Pixabay
By Kay Gruder
Kay Gruder Assistant Director of Graduate Student Career Programs and Services Kay Gruder