Stand Out With These Group Interview Tips

August 15th, 2013 | Job Search, Resume | No Comments »

group interview stand out

Group interviews can be intimidating. Not only do you have to deal with pressure from the hiring managers, but you also have to outperform your competition right in front of them. Although deep down a group interview and a regular interview are one in the same, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to set yourself apart from the rest of the group.

The standard rules still apply

Just because this is a group interview doesn’t mean that the standard tips and tricks don’t apply. Make sure you do your research on the company and hiring managers, bring copies of your resume, arrive on time, dress appropriately, and mind your body language. Also, don’t forget those thank you notes after the interview has concluded.

Dress the part

A good way to stand out during group interviews is through your wardrobe. Having said that, showing up looking like a 1980s David Bowie or Bjork is going to get you remembered for all the wrong reasons, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear the standard black and white suit. Try wearing one uniquely colored tie, or shirt underneath a jacket for women. This will separate you from the group and give you a better shot at being remembered by hiring managers.

Break the ice

Arriving early is a standard tip for any interview, but for group interviews it is especially important as it is a good way to break the ice with the other candidates. This will allow your nerves to settle through small talk and also get you used to speaking in front of them. Also, if you are asked to do a group activity, it won’t be your first time interacting with the others.

It is also important to remember that the interview starts once you walk inside the building, which means you should appear friendly, outgoing, and sociable. Introducing yourself to the other candidates will allow you to look like a team player right from the start.

Open Big

You always want to make yourself stand out during the interview process, but during a group interview it is essential to differentiate yourself from the candidates sitting around you. When it comes time for your introduction make sure you keep it brief and powerful. You have less than 60 seconds to say something completely original, so make sure you have it well planned out beforehand.

Shut out the distractions

Public speaking is not the easiest thing in the world, and it can become even more nerve-wrecking when you have to talk about yourself in front of your competition during a group interview. Your best bet is to block out the extra sets of eyes and focus on whomever you are speaking to at the time.

Be prepared to adapt

As I said, standing out in a positive way is the most important part of a group interview. This means that you have to be able to adapt to any situation. If someone mentions something about themselves that is akin to what you were going to say, make sure that you are prepared with a back-up plan. You don’t want to mindlessly repeat an answer or pose a question similar to what has already been asked.

Lead, but don’t dominate

You should always help propel the conversation forward, but you don’t want to seem like an inconsiderate person who commands any and all attention. Group interviews require you to strike a healthy balance of leading and working with the team. Do not interrupt people, but do not sit back and hesitate to speak either. Otherwise you risk the interviewer moving on to another topic without you getting a word in.

Confidence, not arrogance

You want to let your ideas be heard, but you also don’t want to come off as arrogant. If you disagree with someone, do it respectfully, and make sure you have the facts and figures to back up your ideas. Group interviews are about drawing attention to yourself in a positive way, not bringing others down.

Treat everyone with respect

Everyone participating in the group interview deserves your respect. Remember to look at them when they speak. Feel free to take notes, but do not look disengaged. Staring around the room and twiddling your thumbs will make you look unprofessional and out of touch.

Make the best possible final Impression

As with any interview, you want to finish strong. Be sure to seek out any and all managers involved in the interview and thank them for their time. Also, thank a few of the other candidate as well. You don’t have to actively hunt everyone one of your competitors down and shake their hands, but don’t walk out the room ignoring the group either. Remember the hiring managers are perceptive and the group interview is not over until you leave the building. Plus, it is always a good idea to network with fellow job seekers and grab a few contact numbers. If you don’t get this job, someone may be able to help you out down the road.

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of –sel via Flickr