What’s more agonizing than a job interview? A group job interview, in which multiple candidates appear at the same time to discuss their qualifications and compete for a spot in the next (hopefully smaller) round. The good news is that preparation will still help you maximize the outcome of the group interview, just as it does the one-on-one kind. If you’re heading into your first group interview, here’s what you need to do.
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1. Do your research.
You know there will be more than one candidate there, but how many people are we talking about? Will you all meet with the hiring manager at once, or will you proceed one at a time to a separate room to speak with the company’s representatives in semi-privacy? Speaking of the company’s representatives, who exactly are you meeting? These are all good questions for the recruiter, when you’re scheduling your interview.
Once you have this information, you can look people up on LinkedIn, refresh your memory about the company and its products, and research job titles and salary ranges in preparation for later stages of the interview process.
2. Don’t throw the other candidates under the bus.
Group interviews provide you with a chance to show how you interact with others. Granted, you probably won’t be directly competing with your co-workers once you’re hired, but hiring managers will still form an impression of your ability to get along with others, based on your behavior in the group interview. Therefore, you do not want to come off like someone who competes by tearing his or her co-workers down.
“Your primary goal, above all, is to show how you will benefit the company — not that you’re better than the other guy,” writes Ritika Trikha at U.S. News. “Plus, worrying about your competitors will take away from your confidence. Who cares about him? Let him do him and you do you.”
3. Prepare questions.
It’s easy to spend the bulk of your interview prep time thinking about how to answer the hiring manager’s questions, but if you do that at the expense of developing your own questions for them, you’ll miss a big opportunity – both to get the answers you seek, and to impress your potential new bosses.
“Believe it or not, it isn’t just the questions that you answer that are important in your job interview, but it is also the quality of the questions that you ask that can separate you from the pack,” writes Kitty Boitnott at Careerealism. “Demonstrate that you have done your research, and you understand exactly what the job entails … or ask about parts of the job description that you aren’t quite sure about … to show that you are a cut above the average candidate.”
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