Perform Well in a Group Interview

Group interviews take place with a whole bunch of people in a room. It can feel intimidating and quite competitive, which can lead to an increase in nervousness. However, it is most certainly something you can deal with provided you have prepared. Along with good preparation to help you deal with the unexpected, the key is to make yourself stand out.


Preparing yourself sufficiently

  1. Research the company on the Internet. Don't just go to the company's website. Go to other sites that you can find online that discuss the company, such as news sites, reviews and even competing companies in the same field. Look for the company's financial performance information, company history and any big wins (and losses). Try to find out the philosophy driving the company, including reading interviews given by and biographies about key past and present key people in the firm.
  2. Read the position details and read them well. Make sure you come into the interview able to describe what you think the job is. Think about how your skills and background fit into the job, as you may have to answer that question on the spot.
    • Consider how your existing skills demonstrate ability to do what will be required of you in this job. This includes lateral thinking, to transfer skills that are not spot-on fits for the role but display adequate knowledge and experience to allow you to quickly tailor existing skills to the new role.
  3. Prepare a 2 minute introduction summarizing your education, your experience, your career goals and how this position will fit into your future plan. Practice this introduction with a friend.
  4. Role play. If you can, get a few friends or family members to role play a group interview with you. Give them the job description and a bunch of questions. Encourage them to ad lib as well as ask the questions. Divide them into competing interviewees and interviewers. As well as trying to answer questions, watch how others answer questions and the sorts of dynamics you might encounter in a group interview situation. While it's not the real thing, if your friends/family play along properly, you may discover some useful information and approaches.

Undertaking the interview

  1. Arrive early. Being early will give you an advantage over some of the other interviewees, as it allows you extra time to meet the interviewers, take in the surrounds and settle yourself. Of course, others in the group may well do the same thing, so introduce yourself (see next).
  2. Introduce yourself to the people from the company before the group interview begins. Be polite and exchange a brief chat to show that you're friendly and team-spirited.
    • Be aware that you will probably be wanting some space to compose yourself, and so will your fellow interviewees, so don't chew their ears off.
    • If another interviewee is too talkative, invasive or even trying to psych you out, be firmly polite and explain that you need a few minutes to yourself before the interview starts and simply move to another part of the room.
  3. Stay polite towards your fellow interviewees throughout the interview. Usually group interviews are designed to see how you interact with other people so be courteous to your fellow interviewees.
  4. Be alert and ready for anything. These interviews are interactive. Pay attention, as you will be expected to participate and any lack of participation or enthusiasm will be noted.
  5. Listen. The interviewers will usually give an overview as well as detailed instructions. Some group interviews involve training and exercises involving several steps. For example, you may have to perform a mock sales pitch using the companies steps to a successful sale.
  6. Be considerate. Interviewers may be looking for leadership skills, but this does not mean talking over others or trying to be the loudest. Instead, act as a 'facilitator': say "Shall we take a vote?" and then count the votes. This shows that you are confident, but willing to listen to others.
  7. Give others a turn. Again, if trying to show leadership, delegate tasks to others. Don't try to do it all yourself: no good leader would do that, but if you can co-ordinate others, this works well.Take detailed notes if you are allowed to do so.
  8. Make eye contact with everyone at some point. Direct your pitch at everyone, and don't focus all your attention on one person.
  9. Include quieter people. If someone hasn't said much, ask their opinion. This is great as it shows you are considerate and a real team player. (But don't defer to someone else when it's your chance to speak.)
  10. Praise others for their good ideas. This is a good way to seem friendly and a little authoritative at the same time.
  11. Don't be shy. Speak out, but don't cut other people off or go over your allotted time for the question or exercise. If you are broken up into small groups, realize that people will still come over from time to time to hear what you are saying.
  12. Smile. It might be nerve-wracking but if you appear morose you shan't fare well.
  13. Be sure to say goodbye to the interviewers before you leave. Send a follow-up letter that thanks them for the opportunity and their time.

Additional Help

Doc:Job Interview Questions and Responses,Interview Strengths and Weaknesses,Interview Tips and Tricks,Group Interview Self Intro


  • Say things like:
    • "That's a good idea - who else agrees with that?"
    • "Shall we take a vote? One, two, three... yes, this is the most popular way, are we all agreed?"
    • <to a quiet person> "What's your opinion on this?"
    • "He is doing X, so why don't we do Y, so everything gets done."


  • Don't expect the group interview to be your only interview. Sometimes there are follow-up interviews involved.
  • Do not get angry or abusive towards someone if they appear to be taking over, or for any other reason!
  • Don't expect to get the job, since some group interviews involve up to 20 applicants at a time.

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