Group Interviews: How to Make them Work

HR Resource
March 26, 2014 — 2,159 views  
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There are many scenarios in which a group interview comes into play, but the most common one is when employers are looking to find a team lead. If an employer is looking for an applicant who is assertive and makes his or her voice heard, the best test is a group interview. You could also opt for a group interview when there is less time for individual interviews to be held, or when there are way too many candidates applying for a single post.

How to structure a group interview

A human resource manager or recruiter should first screen applicants through a phone interview, following which an agenda should be set for the group interview. Before asking the applicants to introduce themselves, a personnel manager should give a brief talk about the company, the group activity involved and the job description. The group activity should involve something that the prospective employee will handle in the future. After the group interview, the interviewees should be intimated of the next procedure and also asked to sum up their experience of the interview in writing. Group interviews are stressful, and an employer should thank the applicants for participating.

Advantages of a group interview

A group interview helps you compare the positive and negatives of applicants with a common, objective yardstick. It is easy to assess an applicant’s personality, his or her attitude towards others, communication skills and leadership qualities. Because the parameters to judge applicants are transparent and open, there are fewer subjective issues cropping up in selection. Also, interviewers can choose from a wide range of applicants to pose questions.

On the flip side

If a personnel manager is not flexible and only wants to schedule a group interview, the firm may lose out on really good applicants who may not be able to make it on a particular day. A one-on-one could have been scheduled at a convenient time for the employer and applicant. The group interview may not be the ideal format for an applicant who seeks privacy, and the firm may stand to lose a good prospective employee merely because of the format being used. An employer may not be able to give individual attention to the applicants. Also, the loudest and most vocal candidate may not necessarily be the best. When you give an introduction of company values before the group interview, you have already given hints to the interviewee to give responses tailor-made for your company. 

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