Group Interviews

So I have one more day left of work before I embark on my journey as a mature age student! I’ve applied for a few casual and part time jobs so I don’t starve and have received my first invitation to attend a group interview. I hadn’t realised this may entail doing weird team exercises with other applicants, as my partner later explained to me this may include group problem solving, etc.

So tell me about how I might be able to ace this? What is usually involved? Any Dopers who use this method to recruit staff?

Group interviews are a bit tricky. You have to first find out about the postion you’re applying for. Is it one that requires leadership or co-operation.

The interviewer will look to see if your participation is correct. For instance, if the job is about participation and delegation, your interviewer will want to see you’re able to do this within your own group.

A “group” interview can be misleading as some people mean one interviewer with a group of people. This is usually the case, but I’ve had “group” interviews were it was just me and then five of the managers interviewing.

So get a good understanding of what the position you’re apply for will entail, then on the interview apply that to your particular group.

That’s the beauty of group interviews and why they’re used. They save time. I can take a people applying for a managment position and one applying for line work and test them out simultaneously.

Make sure you have a proper balance of assertiveness and being humble. You want to come across as being able to “take control of a situation,” but you don’t want to over do it.

I had a job in a computer store over the holidays and it threw me 'cause we were divided into six groups and picked a question out of a jar and had 10 minutes to discuss it and solve the problem.

That wasn’t hard, the hard part was EVERYONE had the exact same question. And my group went last. So you had to figure out a way to answer it without simply repeating what the other groups had said. One other man and myself got holiday jobs, so we must’ve done something right. :slight_smile:

I just wanted to say that I have never, ever heard of group interviews in my life! Thank God.

I’ve had a couple of group interviews. None of them have resulted in me being hired, perhaps because I was too honest–I don’t think the people doing the interview wanted to hear “Sometimes the customer isn’t right–some customers are jerks who steal stuff” or that I hate pestering people to get store loyalty cards. And I think my lack of bubbly personality hurt me in another case.

I never had any group activities, but it gets tiresome listening to fifteen variations on the same response to a question–especially if you are first, and someone else has a better answer, or you are last and you don’t really want to say “what they said”.

But mostly, don’t stress too much, put your best foot forward, and don’t take it too personally if they don’t hire you.

I’ve done group interview twice, both times for retail positions, which seems to be the type of work where these happen most often. The first time was a disaster for me. I wasn’t quite sure what group interviews entailed, and I must have made the other interviewees look really good. I was quiet as a mouse and was always the last one to speak. And even then, my answers were very passive. It’s as the kids nowadays say: a complete fail.

But from the experience of the first one, I aced another one I was invited to. It’s a fine line between being assertive and confident in answering the questions, and dominating it so that no one else had the opportunity to share. With group interviews, not only are they asking you questions to prompt some “right answers” out of you, but also to see how you get along with people. If you insist on answering everything first and cutting people off to do so, it’s just as bad as not saying anything until the interviewer directs it to you. So try to answer some questions first, and then give others the opportunity to have their say. And another trick is to learn everyone else’s name too. That way, if you do come to a question where you can’t think of your own answer, you can always say something like “I agree with [name of person with good answer], I think he/she has a good point, and [expand their answer in your own way].” I think that little trick was what made them offer me the job because not only was I listening to other people, I was remembering their names to boot.

Oh I like the name idea! Thanks for your advice everyone!