How to Stand Out in a Group Interview
Group interviews, meaning multiple candidates are being interviewed at the same time, can be nerve-wracking and challenging. While they are rare, some companies find them efficient, especially for the first-round interview series.
Whether the group interview is face-to-face or, more likely today, virtual (via a web-conference), imagine yourself in a semi-circle of candidates facing a table of multiple hiring managers. Your mission is to stand out (in the right way) on all levels of the interview, including with the:
- Quality of your answers
- Quality of your questions
- Manner in which you present yourself
Interviewers are looking for right “fit” within their team. They are also looking at your skill level and ability to think on your feet. Positioning candidates with each other in the same interview is one way to see how you might act in a job setting. I coached many candidates through these types of interviews, and all were called back to the next round of interviews.
Connect with Recruiter and Interviewers on LinkedIn Before the Interview
If you do not know the interviewers, ask the recruiter, and they may (or may not) tell you. Be sure to write a personal connection request such as, “I look forward to interviewing with you on…” and, “Thank you for connecting with me here.”
Practice Your Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions
Script yourself and rehearse them. Some examples of common questions are:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your strengths?
- What are your areas for improvement?
- Why should we hire you for this job?
Dissect the Job Description and be Prepared to Talk about Your Skills
Your strengths should come from the items listed on their job description; the reason they should hire you should be based on items in the job description. For example:
“There are three reasons you should hire me. One, you are seeking someone who is analytical and pays close attention to detail. I have been demonstrating those skills for four years.”
Prepare Great Questions to Ask
Bring the questions in on a piece of paper and write down the answers they provide. You will stand out since most candidates have weak questions and will not take notes.
Dress on the Formal Side
It does not matter what the interviewers are wearing or what the typical attire is for the job. You are the one interviewing, and you want this job. Be better than the person to your left or right.
Send Thank You Notes Immediately
As soon as you get to your computer (not your phone), send a well-crafted thank you note to each interviewer, and to the scheduler or recruiter who made it all happen.
In summary, prepare to look the part, say the right things, be confident, and show your passion for their position. Magic will happen when you pivot on meeting the hiring teams’ needs for each unique job opportunity.
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