Notify The Interview Candidates
Some employers dont notify candidates about a group interview until the day of the interviewor even the moment they walk in. Thats a really mean trick to play on prospective employees, and they wont appreciate it whether you do it on purpose or by default. You need to make sure every candidate knows when the group interview is taking place well ahead of time, typically a week or so before the date.
The reason for this is because you need to allow candidates time to prepare appropriately for a different kind of interview. Group interviews can be stressful and more demanding than regular ones, so candidates need as much prep time as possible. The longer you give them, the better responses youre going to get and the better the outcome of the interview.
Group interviews are longer than typical interviews with multiple questions to answer and usually a variety of activities. Its a good idea to let them know who will be conducting the interview and the relevant positionsthis gives them time to research and form their answers.
Zoho Recruit can be particularly useful here as it allows you to send out SMS text messages to notify candidates from the app alone. While emails are good, mobile text messages are better as candidates can receive notice wherever they are via their phones. Zoho Phonebridge even enables recruiters to make phone calls and send other reminders straight from the software.
How Do You Work In A Team
What They Want to Know: It should be clear from the job listing whether you will be expected to work collaboratively, independently, or both. Structure your answer here carefully, particularly if its clear from the job ad that teamwork is an essential part of the role.
Ive always preferred working on teams, which comes from my experience as an avid student athlete in high school and college. I think that being a good team member requires you to proactively maintain open lines of communication with your associates and your team lead, and so I make sure that I actively listen to others, see where I can jump in to help them out, and try to mediate conflicts when they arise.
Why Have A Group Interview
Candidates who are sitting across from your desk for a one-on-one conversation are going to behave differently than they would with peers or competitors. A mass interview allows you to assign tasks to the group and observe candidates soft skills in action.
- Evaluate communication skills Can they interact with the group easily or do they find it taxing? Do they ask questions if they dont understand something? Do they ask for help from their co-interviewees? Are they comfortable answering interview questions in front of others, or do they become wallpaper?
- Spot leadership tendencies Is there one candidate who takes the reins and delegates tasks? Does that person also motivate the group and offer management advice as they work?
- Watch for teamwork Are candidates working together, or have some separated themselves from the group? Do they seem united? Does anyone seem overly competitive?
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Conducting A Group Interview Ask Yourself These 3 Questions
In this competitive job market, hiring managers are likely to receive resumes from a many great candidates. And when youve got a desk full of stellar application packets, it can be difficult to narrow your selection down to the top 10 applicants, much less determine which candidate youll hire. A group interview can help you make your decision more quickly.
A group interview sometimes called a mass interview offers the opportunity to see how a candidate acts outside of the formal job interview setting. As youll be interviewing multiple applicants at once and asking them to work with one another in group exercises, you stand a better chance of seeing who functions best as a part of a team and might be a good fit within the corporate culture. In addition, group interviews save you time and money.
Three questions you need to ask before arranging a group interview are Why, When and How.
Why And When To Conduct Group Interviews
Conducting group interviews is not appropriate for every situation. If youre hiring people to fill specialized positions, or youre not in a time-crunch situation, its probably best to conduct interviews one-on-one. While group interviews are expeditious, they are less personal, so they should only be used when you need to hire a relatively large number of people quickly and for similar positions.
If thats the case, then it can be beneficial to organize a group interview whether that involves having 3 people sitting across a table, working with 30 people broken up into small groups, or hosting a hiring event. Here are some reasons to go that route:
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Interview Questions To Assess A Group Activity
- What was your contribution to the team?
- In your opinion, what are the main reasons you reached/didnt reach your team goal?
- How similar or different is the approach you followed to other team projects youve participated in? Describe an example where you had to solve a problem on a very tight deadline.
- Given more resources and/or time, what would you have done differently?
Disadvantages Of Using Group Interviews
- Lack of rapport. Its hard to bond or get a clear view of a candidate when they are in a group setting.
- Introverts may have a hard time getting noticed whereas the extroverts shine.
- Can be awkward for applicants and they may not bring out their true self at the interview. Some may have an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience. It could lead to the loss of good candidates.
- Candidates may influence each others answers.
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Give The Candidate A Tour
When hiring for a farm or other agribusiness, especially for on-site roles, we recommend either conducting the interview while touring the facilities or provide a tour at some point. This will allow the candidate to really demonstrate their knowledge and experience as you show them certain tools, machinery or equipment theyll be working with on the job.
Provide Closure To All Candidates
When all interviewers have agreed on who is in and who is out, take the time to provide closure to all candidates. Let successful candidates know about the next steps and provide detailed information about these.
Send personalized post-interview rejection emails to unsuccessful candidates. Its also a great idea to provide constructive feedback to those who didnt make the cut, so they can focus on improvements for future interviews.
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Why Conducting A Group Interview Is Worth It
Conducting a group interview comes with many benefits. For a start, if youre on a tight deadline, group interviews help to fill open job positions quickly and efficiently. This method is advantageous when employers need to hire multiple people for the same position. Theyre an affordable and fast option that saves your business resources and time.
Another key benefit of group interviews is that they test multiple candidates at once. Imagine you have many similar applicants theyre hard to tell apart on paper, making your decision more difficult. Group interviews allow you to see who shines the brightest among them, compare applicants side by side, and get the answers to your questions from multiple applicants simultaneously, demonstrating how well they do under pressure. Group interviews also emphasize team-building and communication skills, letting you find the candidates with the strongest skill sets in those areas much more easily.
Group interviews also prevent biases from creeping in as they need to be conducted by several interviewers at once. Multiple people observing the same candidate and their behavior allow you to make a more informed and accurate decision about whether to hire them overall, increasing employee retention down the line and thereby boosting your business.
For now, know that group interviews are great at reducing the time spent on interviews and the cost to hire and are a good opportunity to see some teamwork in action.
What Are Group Interview Limitations
Conducting group interviews can come with limitations:
- Building rapport with individual candidates can be more challenging in a group setting.
- Personality may be unfairly weighted in group interviews: extroverted candidates could overshadow more talented, introverted ones.
- Senior-level, experienced candidates might view group interviews as demeaning. Michelle Gamble Risley, CEO of publishing company 3L Publishing, participated in a group interview, and shared her thoughts about her experience in a 2011 Fortune article:
It was just shocking and demoralizing. I felt I was at an executive level and I shouldnt be put into a cattle call. If they had warned me in advance, I would not have even shown up.
- Group interviews are often used to gauge teamwork skills, but efficient teams arent build in a day. Candidates who are team players may not feel comfortable working with strangers, let alone their competition.
Heres how you can mitigate the limitations of group interviews:
- Use group interviews when they make sense. Group interviews might make candidates uncomfortable and contribute to an unpleasant candidate experience. Also, while you can save time by interviewing multiple candidates at once, interviewers still need to dedicate time and effort preparing group discussion topics and activities.
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How Do You Identify A Good Candidate In A Group Interview
The criteria for selecting one candidate over another in an interview depend on many different variables. In general, however, the following are considered positive attributes:
- The candidate appears relaxed and comfortable speaking in public and interacting with their colleagues.
- They allow others to speak and listen and participate in the conversation spontaneously.
- They are able to express their ideas clearly and argue their opinions.
- They collaborate with their peers and participate equally with the others.
Likewise, it is important to bear in mind the type of role we are recruiting for. For example, if the interview is for a sales position, the person must demonstrate friendliness, the ability to listen, respecting others turns to speak, being persuasive, etc.
On the other hand, if we are looking for a team leader, we should concentrate on who has most experience, their career highlights, a candidate that demonstrates a positive attitude, and communicates well with colleagues, etc.
A good tip is to have a list of the ideal characteristics youre looking for in a candidate to remind you during the group session.
Strategies And Useful Tips
The whole process of organizing and executing the group interview must be planned in advance. Decide where you want to hold it, estimate a maximum number of candidates and carefully choose the recruiters who will participate. Furthermore, it is important that a script is prepared to follow. Such as? Starting from a structured list of questions, activities, case studies and exercises previously discussed and approved.
Remember to indicate in advance the type of interview the candidates will face. Group interviews can be challenging and last many hours, so give them time to organize and prepare as best they can.
Dont abuse it! Group interviews should be applied in the right context and when they can bring useful results. And above all, dont underestimate them. Managing a group screening is not a trivial task: it requires profound analytical skills and advanced competence in observing multiple candidates at the same time.
Start the test by having all candidates present. This will allow them to get to know each other, compare their experiences and become familiar with others. If you already know that the interview will take a long time, arrange a small refreshment: water, tea, coffee and some snacks are not only a thoughtful gesture on your part but also a step towards creating a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
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Introduce Each Interviewer To Candidates
Fast forward to the big day. Youre sitting in the room with a nervous group of candidates and are ready to start the interview. But before you dive into the questions and other group activities, you need to ensure each interviewer properly introduces themselves to the candidates.
The interviewers introduction will need to include their name and position and why and how theyre involved in the interview.
You want to make candidates feel at ease first and foremost, but this also helps them to think about what each interviewer might be looking to see. They can cater their answers in response to this with more detail, and youll get the best possible group interview experience. Each company will have different roles and positions, but the principle remains the same.
Youll need to shake hands with every candidate in the room, and be sure to smile to help ease the tension. Remember you were a candidate interviewing in front of people once, so dont forget that and let the power go to your head.
Its your job to create a good impression of the company during the interview, and candidates will perform better in turn.
Whom Would You Hire From Your Group Why
What They Want to Know: Part of being a valuable team member is being willing to acknowledge the contributions of your peers. Although it may feel counterproductive to recommend one of your competitors for the job you want, the hiring manager is intentionally trying to make you feel uncomfortable to see how graciously you respond.
Dont be tempted to throw anyone under the bus. On the other hand, you don’t need to mention a specific strength of a competitor that clearly places them well above the others. Instead, choose a strength that is similar to one that you also demonstrated during the exercise.
I would hire Susan, not only because she carefully listened to everyone elses opinion, but also because of her great sense of humor. I know from experience that being able to laugh together, even when under stress, can really affect the final quality of a teams production.
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Determine The Interview Process
There are two main types of group interview structures. There are group discussions and group activities. In practice, most group interviews are a hybrid of these two formats, which allows interviewers to get a well-rounded impression of each candidate in different scenarios.
Then, following the group interview, most organizations would include at least one final round of one-on-one interviews before offering the candidate the role. Ideally, youll set this up early on to allow for in-depth planning and coordination in the future steps.
Secure A Venue For The Interview
Most offices wont have a big enough space to accommodate a group interview, so youll most likely need to reserve an independent space for the purpose. Make sure the room is equipped with enough tables and chairs for the group and also has enough space for the group to break out into smaller groups easily.
This step is all about gathering your thoughts on how the interview process will unfold. It gives you an opportunity to outline the organizations needs, to start the recruitment process with clear guidelines in place.
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How To Conduct Group Interviews
Conducting group interviews is much more demanding than leading regular one-on-one job interviews.
Interviewers who conduct group interviews need to have highly developed interviewing skills and possess all the characteristics of a good interviewer in order to be able to spot the best candidate in the group setting.
A good group interviewer should be able to lead and moderate the group and observe individual candidates at the same time, which requires a lot of practice.
What Was Your Personal Contribution To The Teams Performance
What They Want to Know: This question tests your ability to think about and evaluate your own work within a team context. Use your answer to remind the interviewer of one or two of the strengths you would bring to them as a team player.
One key requirement of this exercise was that we work together to create a viable action plan. Im a big-picture thinker who, when given a problem to solve, immediately begins thinking about the pros and cons of potential approaches. I think I did a good job of helping our team to frame the most important issues, swiftly determine what would work and what wouldnt, and then settle upon our course of action.
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Questions To Ask In A Group Interview
This section specifically relates to steps 3 and 4 mentioned above. Creating a strong interview question bank ensures that the interview will flow smoothly and seamlessly.
- Question Category #1: Tell me about a time when
These types of questions will not only provide great insight into how your candidates think, they also provide a greater look into their overall experience. Expect to see the responses build off of each other as the candidates hear how their counterparts answer. Keep the situations focused on what they may encounter in their day-to-day role.
- Question Category #2: Company culture and values-based questions
Companies that have strong culture and values will need to do their best to protect their culture and values. You will want to ensure that the candidates answers line up well with that culture. Some of the most effective questions are those that explicitly ask about company values, such as These are our values. What value resonates most with you and why?
If you build your interview questions around those two categories, you will be able to build a very successful group interview process that will create strong relationships with your candidates and their interviewers.