The Dreaded Group Interview and How You Can Ace It

Group interviews are the stuff of nightmares for a lot of job seekers. Not only do you have to make a good first impression with the hiring manager, but you also have to do it in front of other people.



Luckily, it’s not as scary as it sounds. In fact, group interviews can actually be a lot of fun and a good opportunity to make some new friends. 

Let’s take a look at how you can ace the dreaded group interview.

What is a group interview?

Group interviews are often confused with panel interviews, but they’re completely different. In a panel interview, multiple people within the company interview a single candidate. In a group interview, however, multiple candidates meet with a single interviewer.

This allows them to see how you interact with others and observe how quick you are on your feet. While you would probably prefer a solo interview, group interviews can be a great way to stand out from the crowd and make a good impression.

Let’s take a look at how:

Stay Alert

Often, group interviews involve some kind of group work or problem-solving exercise. That means now’s not the time to zone out—the interviewer will be on the lookout to see how you react to situations like these.

Instead, stay focused and stay alert. You want to make a good impression and show the interviewer that you can think quickly under pressure. Communicating with your team and demonstrating your problem-solving abilities will go a long way towards getting you to the next step of the interview process.

Be friendly

Sometimes, candidates go into a group interview with an “it’s either me or them” attitude, thinking this will get them ahead in the interview.

In fact, this is the exact opposite of what you want to do.

A large part of doing well at a job is getting along with your coworkers. Group interviews give the hiring manager a good idea of how you work with others and whether you’ll fit in with the employees already there. Being friendly and helpful shows them that you’re a team player and you won’t make waves if you get hired.

Exude confidence

Group interviews can be intimidating for people who are shy or introverted, but never fear! Here are a few ways to exude confidence:

  • Maintain eye contact: Eye contact is one of the most important ways to show self-confidence, especially while speaking. Looking away when interacting with someone tells them you’re uncomfortable or unconfident in what you’re saying.
  • Watch your body language: Not only does your body language says a lot about you, but it also affects your mindset! Instead of crossing your arms or legs, try sitting and standing in positions that take up space and open you up to the people around you.
  • Smile: Nothing relays confidence better than a smile and it makes the people around you feel good too! Having fun and smiling at others during a group interview makes the time more enjoyable and leaves everyone with a more positive view of you as well.
  • Come in prepared: Preparing for your interview goes a long way towards making a good impression. The more ready you are, the more confident you’ll feel.

Listen closely

It’s important to be friendly and confident, but it’s just as important to know when to listen. After all, nobody likes to work with someone who won’t let anyone else get a word in!

Instead, speak only when you have something relevant to say. By practicing active listening, you’ll be better able to pick up on where the conversation is going and participate in a more engaging manner. Even better, you’ll be able to pick up on the little quirks and mannerisms of your fellow participants and use this information to get to know them and the interviewer better.

Prepare for your next group interview with these tips!

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Answer first sometimes

Don’t be afraid to be the first to answer the interviewer’s questions sometimes. You want to come off as knowledgable and well-informed, not shy and timid.

This doesn’t mean you need to fall over yourself to beat other candidates to the punch, however. You want to appear confident, but constantly talking over others will only come across as overbearing.

Instead, aim for a healthy mix of answering first occasionally and supporting other candidate’s answers. This will help establish you as both a leader and a healthy team player

Follow up

Sometimes, hiring managers get busy. Following up with them helps remind them of who you are and that you’re interested in the position.

It’s not enough to simply follow up, however. Instead, it’s important to follow up with something relevant from the interview. Whether it’s a joke you shared or referencing something that happened during an activity, this will help the interviewer recall you more vividly

In conclusion: key takeaways

Group interviews can seem intimidating, but they don’t have to be! Remember these key takeaways the next time you find yourself in a group interview:

  • Staying focused and performing well during group activities shows the interviewer that you’re able to handle the challenges you’d face on the job.
  • Everybody wants to work with a friend. Being friendly and making connections during the interview will put the interviewer at ease that you’ll be pleasant to work with.
  • Confidence is key to acing any interview, not just group ones. Observe your body language in a mirror before your interview and take note of what looks good and what doesn’t.
  • Don’t get too wrapped up in your own head. Make sure that while you’re maintaining a confident presence, you’re also paying attention to what the other candidates are saying.
  • Don’t be afraid to answer first once in a while. This will show you’re confident in what you say. At the same time, don’t be afraid to give kudos to the other candidate’s responses.
  • The interview doesn’t end once you leave the office. Be sure to send a personalized follow up within a week.

About the Author


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.

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