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When Is Group Interview Effective?

When Is Group Interview Effective?

Through my career, I have participated in several group interviews. I can still feel grumpy down the back and evoke the cold sweat that penetrated when I received these summonses. How many will participate? Do I have to stand before all the other applicants, my competitors, and tell why I'm better suited to the job than them? Imagine if I was picked to talk last and all my arguments were used by the others? What if it is implied that one should dress in blue and I am the only one who has not realized it and meets in green?


Interviewing is stressful. It is how one individually thrives in such situations. You have the type that gets a real adrenaline rush of it and almost approaches job interviews to know the life. Then you have the second type, which will rather jump in a parachute with a blindfold than to sit in for yourself at the barbecue. What is common to these two types is that they both, most likely, want to appear as relevant as possible to the employer. They will both show their best sides and often stand out from the competition. The interview is about making themselves attractive and convincing the employer that they do not need to interview anyone else.


You as a recruiter probably have experience with both types of applicants, and of course all between them. If you have a few handfuls of completed interviews on the butt, you have acquired some expertise on how to handle the breadth of applicants. Dilemmas like how you can help the applicant, with total brain loss, on the road before the person starts crying? Or how to get the applicant, who embroidery in the know and the irrelevant broad, to get down to the ground and keep the thread?


Not that I have experience holding interviews, but I can imagine there is no planning. It shouldn't be that anyway. You may want to adapt to the applicant to get the best possible impression from your next possible employee. If you can read the applicant, it may be beneficial for both parties: Perhaps you are making the applicant less nervous if you are a bit different and thus allow the candidate to make more of himself? Perhaps you find that you have a common interest and can "pause" interview a little bit occasionally to maintain a good mood? Consequently, the applicant will show more of who is behind the CV and the application, which is exclusively positive for both you and the candidate. You might work together, and you should also be able to defend the appointment.


But what about a group interview? What do you recruit again to gather a large group of applicants in the same room so that they can show the best of themselves when there is a maximum of ten minutes each available? And do they show off their best pages? When a job interview is a trial in itself, no matter what type you are, it should be a part for the applicant, who is on the cry, to hold back the tears, or the self-nominated great candidate does not overthrow the others in the room. It is clear how the interview is held. Does everyone's turn to talk and answer and ask questions? Or is it first come first served where one has to fight with voice and gesturing to get to?


I have participated in two group interviews. The first time we sat tightly on the floor in a tight room. The interviewers were at the forefront of the room, and those who sat at the back of their minds heard what was said before. The sitting position you chose had to endure during the two hours the interview lasted. I remember it was the war to get the word and stand out with clever information about themselves and how to contribute to the employer's brilliance and growth. It was uncomfortable. Both knees and confidence suffered. I knew I had a good starting point for being considered topical for the position, both from previous experience, interests and personal qualities. I also knew that I am good at charming and getting the talk to flow easily, even when I am in a vulnerable position. But, talking in front of a mass of people is something I've always struggled with, something I got to know along the way. There were several occasions to talk; On the turn, we got to say a little about ourselves, besides, there were several question rounds. I had prepared what I was going to say, but when it came to that I fell through. I only remembered fractions and the parts I managed to get out were disjointed and unreliable. The whole interview was a little uplifting affair and I lost all motivation to search further on jobs.


The second time we sat on chairs in a circle. The two who kept the interview also sat in the circle and all the participants had a good overview of each other. The mood was naturally a bit tense at first, but as we all had said a little each and the question rounds started, the atmosphere changed and we discussed and included each other in the answers. This was a completely different and a much nicer experience than the first. When I went out the door I had a good feeling, regardless of how I thought I had performed. I was left with the feeling that everyone had lifted each other and delivered a joint interview, without shoving and sharp eyes.


As an applicant, I prefer a personal interview rather than a group interview. Then I know that I have time to introduce myself and argue why I should move forward in the process. In a group interview, I am dependent on timing. No matter how the group interview takes place, I can't just as much rule when I say what and I can't assure myself that what I say is unique. The applicant sitting next to me can rightly say what I have planned to say right in front of my nose. I quickly become one of many, no matter how hard I try. And that's where I stop a little. Because I can only imagine how confused interviewers can be when they sort out impressions and weed out who is going to move forward in the process. Because if all the applicants answer the same questions they are asked, they have some lukewarm competitive experience (because I assume that they invited the applicants at least have relevant experience) and are equally motivated for the position, how should one separate from the other applicants then?


I have no research results to point to, nor are concrete examples from recruiters' point of view about the experience with group interviews. But, I have a hypothesis. If you, as a recruiter, spend a little extra time on the coarse sorting, perhaps including background checks of the applicants in the process, and use the well-worked job analysis actively, it will be a little easier to weed out the relevant ones from the less relevant ones. Maybe you are left with 5 rather than 25 applicants. 5 applicants are a little more affordable figure, and then you can cost them a personal interview so you get an idea of what the person on the other side of the table can contribute. Unless you have a well-developed sense of smell and can sniff your way to the right candidate, of course. As a seeker, among 24 other applicants, it is not difficult to understand that you want the proactive one, likes to speak in front of people and tackles stressful situations. You will find them in a group interview. But do you want all your colleagues to compete for who can speak the most and take the most space? It can be nice, in some contexts, to have employees with good collaborative skills, who are flexible and happy to turn around quickly, who can receive and provide constructive feedback, and see more aspects of a case and to mention something.


I did not go further in the process after the first group interview. And that's okay, it just did a little hurt to get the rejection. I'd rather work somewhere where I know the employer has figured out about me. It is more reassuring to meet the first day of a new job and you know you don't have to play a game precisely because the person who interviewed me was getting involved with the selection and chose me because I am who I am. Besides, I can do the work after the description. With this, I do not correct any index finger, but encourage you to consider how to make the recruitment process more efficient. Video interviews or screening are examples of methods that will boost the coarse sorting and facilitate the work of finding the right candidate.