Preparing For Interview Questions
There are a few common themes in almost every interview, which gives you a good idea of which interview questions to prepare for. Make sure you have an answer ready for things like “Why should I hire you?”, “What makes you the best candidate for the job?”, and the classic, “Why do you want this job.” Look at the job description to understand what qualities they’re looking for and base your answers around those, peppering in real-life examples from your career to date. If the interviewer can picture you actually doing the job, this should help your chances significantly.
It will be a rare interview indeed if you dont get hit with “Tell us about yourself”, so make sure you prepare a succinct yet informative answer. The interviewer wants a concise career summary, not a full life history.
Don’t panic if you get a left-field question like “Whats your favourite sandwich?” simply answer with honesty and good humour. Theyre probably just testing how well you respond to an unusual question under pressure, so you’re not going to blow it by favouring salami over Spam. Similarly, if you get a brain-teaser question, made popular by Google, stay calm and explain your thinking and process. There might not be a right answer, but they want to know how you’d go about finding out.
Heres a closer look at what you might be asked at interview.
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.
What Do You Have To Offer The Company
What They Want to Know: This is a Why should we hire you? question and thus offers you the opportunity to make a successful sales pitch for your qualifications to prove that youre the best candidate for the job.
I can offer you eight years of experience in luxury auto sales, during which I have never failed to exceed my managers quarterly production goals. Ive been told that my enthusiasm for innovative new automotive technologies is contagious, and customers appreciate that I can talk not only about comfort features but also about the advantages of internal mechanical, electrical, and computerized systems.
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What Are Group Interviews
Group interviews are interviews that involve two or more candidates and/or interviewers simultaneously. We can break down group interviews into two types:
Panel interview. A panel interview has multiple interviewers and one or more interviewees. Typical members of an interview panel include a hiring manager, a human resources representative, a relevant department head, and a potential coworker.
Group interview. A group interview involves multiple candidates and one or more interviewers. This article will solely cover group interviews.
Potential Second Interview Questions
The biggest difference between first interview questions and second interview questions really lies in the type of question that you are asked.
Generally speaking, in the first interview the company will want to get a feel for the type of person you are, and the questions they ask will emulate that desire.
But in the second interview, you can expect there to be more specificity regarding the position itself as well as a bit more prodding to determine how well you will fit the culture of your potential new team.
Having said that, this is not set in stone.
Every company goes about the questions a little bit differently, so you really need to be prepared for any type of question in both the first and second interview.
Having fun yet?
One thing is for sure at this point in the game employers are really trying to make sure youre a good fit, so expect that these are going to be tougher than the first round.
Read through these questions and come up with your answers. Weve given an example answer for the first two to get you started. If you need some more help learning how exactly to formulate a perfect interview answer, head over to our blog post Job Interview Questions and Answers 101.
- Why should we hire you?
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What Is A Panel Interview
A panel interview is a meeting format with several interviewers and one candidate. Panel interviews are typically used to get in-depth information about the candidate from several different perspectives for an important or competitive role. You might be asked to attend a panel interview after a phone screen or initial interview. Each interviewer will ask questions from their unique background that pertains to their role at the company. The panel is typically made up of people from teams you will be working with in the position.
Whether you are part of a group or panel interview, both are helpful to employers so they can understand how you perform in a group setting. The group format is a more realistic reflection of what the role will be like in working with others. Some employers might also decide not to tell you that your interview will be in a group until moments before it starts to see how well you perform under pressure.
Group Case Study Interview Examples
Lets look at an example of a group case study interview and how it might play out.
Our client is a company suffering from declining profitability. The prompt is presented to a group of 3-6 eager candidates. There is one of two formats through which the candidates will be evaluated through an interview or presentation.
Interview format: The candidates, after being provided with the prompt, are allowed some time to discuss the case. Because the interviewer is observing the process, the candidates will need to soon bring order to a potentially chaotic discussion and decide on next steps. In such a high-pressure environment, it is easy to start going back and forth without fitting your conversation within a defined structure. You are not only trying to solve the case, you are also trying to work with your team members.
The trick here is to use the initial time to come to a set of conclusive answers that can form a narrative. Once the discussion is over, the interviewer may take charge and ask the group a set of questions to move the case ahead. At this point, you must have a hypothesis to begin to answer these questions.
Irrespective of the format of the group case study, the skills tested remain the same:
- Business acumen
- Ability to lead/coordinate with the group
- Ability to communicate effectively with peers and the client
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Open Your Ears Not Your Mouth
This one is a big one. The fastest way to ruin your chances at getting the job is by not listening to whats going on around you.
Pay attention to whats being said, and not just by the interviewer or hiring manager, but by the other interviewees as well. Part of being a team is building off of the skills and abilities of your fellow peers.
Has one of them come up with a great idea but you know how to take it to the next level? Offer that information up. Not only will it show the hiring manager that youre paying attention, but it saves you the embarrassment of repeating someone elses brilliant ideafive minutes after everyone else has already heard it. Ouch.
On top of listening, remember whats being said, starting with everyones name, and by everyone we mean everyone, hiring manager and fellow interviewees. Youll score major bonus points by being able to correctly identify individuals during the interview. Itll also make writing those follow up thank you notes much easier!
The Investment Needed To Conduct A Group Interview
Some employers worry about conducting group interviews as they need more planning before you reap the benefits. So while these styles of interviews do save you time, they also take longer to plan and require more thought. In a sense, you spend more time initially planning them than a regular interview but save time later on.
Ideally, a group interview is planned over multiple days, if not more, typically a week or two before the interview. Some employers dont spend as much time preparing them as they should, leading to a chaotic interview where everyone talks over each otherthis isnt good for either the candidates or the employer.
Youll also need to spend time meeting the other interviewers before the group interview. Doing so allows you to determine how the discussion will proceed on the day. In this meet-up, youll need to decide the questions to ask, whos asking them, and how, ultimately, youll evaluate each candidates answer to them. Getting this structure right is pivotal, so be prepared to schedule time out for it.
Time commitments aside, it helps to have some dedicated HR software to back you up for a group interview. We spent time choosing the best software for our top picks and thought that Zoho Recruit was the best for recruiters. Zoho Recruit can help you set up your group interviews and starts at $22.50 per recruiter per month. You can try it out free for 15 days.
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Types Of Group Interviews
Whether youre interviewing with multiple candidates or sitting in front of a panel of interviewers, employers use group interviews to get a sense of how well you communicate, work in a team, and operate under pressure.
Here are the two different types of group interviews you may come across:
Panel Interview. This type of group interview centers around multiple interviewers meeting with and interviewing you.
Employers choose this style of interview so multiple important members of the company can reach a consensus on whether or not they wish to hire you. The panel typically includes a human resources representative, the manager, and possibly co-workers from the department.
Generally speaking, being asked to participate in a panel interview is a good sign. It signifies that the company is interested enough in bringing you on board to invest the time of multiple members of their staff.
Be Memorable But Not For The Wrong Reasons
At the end of the day, you want the hiring manager to remember you long after the interview is finished.
Wow, that guy really brought the group together to complete the exercise I gave them.
I really appreciated the eye contact that Ms. Smith maintained with me throughout the interview. It really projected attentiveness and confidence.
I can really see this person being a part of my team.
Any of these responses would mean that you have done a good job in your group interview. This is what you are going for.
What you arent going for, however, are responses like these:
That one applicant kept cutting off the other applicants when they were speaking. It was extremely annoying and very rude.
I dont have much to say about Ms. Smith, because she was nearly invisible for the entire interview. She really didnt contribute much to the group exercise.
I could never work with that person. His energy was overbearing and I dont think he has much respect for authority.
As you can see, a much different story.
The point is, you want to me memorable, you just dont want to be remembered for the wrong reasons.
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Standing Out From The Crowd: How To Nail A Group Interview
Feeling prepared, you walk into the office for your interview. You introduce yourself and are promptly led to the conference roomonly to find five other candidates waiting.
Group interviews can take you by surprise, but more and more, companies are using them to effectively find job candidates and expedite the interview process. And with the rising importance of office dynamics, group interviews arent going away.
Heres a quick primer: Group interviews can include both multiple interviewers and multiple candidates. As a group, you may be asked to answer typical interview questions, but you may also be put to the test. Expect to find a problem solving or work-simulation exercise, along with discussion around the problem solving process. The purpose of this style of interview is to see how you interact with others, demonstrate your skills in a crowd, and solve problems on the spot.
Your goal in this setting is to stand out , so that you can move past this first round and secure a solo interview. So, as much as youd rather have a one-on-one meeting, heres how to use the group setting as an opportunity to shine.
Show You Care About Teamwork
Group interviews are a great time to look into the team aspect of a company, for employees and employers alike. You should be asking questions about how youll fit in with the group, how the team works together, how you can help the team, and more. Employers will be impressed that you want to be part of their team dynamic and are more likely to say youre hired than if you focus on your individual abilities.
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Share What Youre Passionate About
As part of the hiring process, we ask potential candidates to give a passion presentation in which they share something theyre passionate about for a few minutes. One of the most impressive passion presentations involved an original song performed on guitar. Thats not to say everyone needs to be a musician, but we do notice people who surprise us with creativity.
Group Interview Tips And Preparation Strategies
Whether its you in front of multiple interviewers or you against other applicants, you cant afford to space out. You’ve got to stay alert throughout the whole ordeal even if youre not the one talking because looking clueless once everyones attention is back on you is doubly embarrassing in any group. Use the strategies below to prepare for your next group interview so youre not caught off guard with this new job search experience.
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Give Me An Elevator Pitch Of Who You Are As A Professional
Example answer: I am a marketing professional with over 10 years of experience in the food industry. Using my creative abilities and analytical nature, I can combine the two to craft excellent campaigns that drive real results. I have won numerous awards for the work I do, most notably a gold marketing award in 2019. I hope to be your companys next creative director to help your clients achieve better outcomes, every single campaign.
Dont Dominate The Conversation
Youre not a tomcat and this isnt your neighbourhood in other words, dont pee all over the conversation to mark your territory . As I mentioned previously, you want to stand out from the competition, but remember that group interviews are meant to assess your teamwork skills and dominating the conversation is a fast-track ticket to failure.
It can be tempting to increase the volume of your voice to get your point across, but talking over others or discounting their opinions will come back to bite you in the behind. Nobody wants to work with someone who is ready to walk over everyone to make themselves look good. Be aware of how long youre speaking for and give others a chance to speak, too.
Dont get lost in the group, either! It is likely that one or two of the other candidates will try to take control of the discussion, but you shouldnt feel threatened or intimidated by them. Try to be the first to speak a few times. Also, if you disagree with their points, be controversial and offer your own opinion.
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More Group Interview Examples And Sample Questions
The folks at Sausalito-based job listings site Glassdoor.com provide a collection of additional group interview examples that have been shared by interviewees.
Keep in mind: These are just a few examples and companies frequently change up the specifics of their group interview formats.
Your experience may be entirely different or very similar to one or more of the methods mentioned below. And as you will see, many big-name companies use the group interview process in different ways at different times.
Types Of Group Interview Formats
Two main types of group interview formats involve discussions and activities.
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Be Ready To Take Notes
Earlier I mentioned you should bring a notepad with questions to ask.
Well, you can write your own notes too. Youre going to be taking in a *lot* of information in the typical panel interview so this is important. Youll need to remember key facts about the position when you follow-up, when you ask questions later, and when you prepare for future interviews or discuss the role further.
So take notes, but remember one rule: I call it the 90% rule. Maintain eye contact 90% of the time throughout the panel interview.
That means less than 10% of your time should be spent looking down or taking notes.
Dont do more than this ratio or itll disrupt the flow of the interview and hurt your chances at getting the job offer.