Why conduct a group interview
Group interviews save time and speed up the interview process by allowing you to evaluate multiple candidates simultaneously. They are also helpful as they allow you to test candidates for stress management skills, communication, and teamwork.
Consider conducting a group interview when you:
- Want to cover project based hiring needs on a tight deadline
- Are looking at multiple candidates for same positions.
- Are screening equally qualified candidates.
- Are hiring for roles where collaboration and interaction are essential.
During individual interviews, you assess answers of candidates. But, in group interviews, you get a chance to test how candidates react to other candidates’ answers and how they interact with others in the group. You can spot candidates who:
- Stand out from the others with their professional approach
- Use their persuasive skills capably
- Are good listeners
Group interview questions to ask candidates
- What is your most important professional achievement so far?
- Why do you think you are a good fit for this position? How will you contribute to the company objectives?
- What do you like about this job role? Why do you want to work with us?
- Describe your career history in short and explain your career objectives.
Interview questions to assess a group activity
- Given more time/resources, what would you have done differently?
- Tell me about a project where you worked on a very tight deadline.
- Do you have any experience of working in a team? What was your role?
Tips to conduct an effective group interview
- Share the interview format with the candidates, beforehand, so that they get enough time to prepare themselves. Also, tell them about the estimated duration.
- The group interview process can be nerve-racking for the candidates. Begin with a small presentation of the company and describe the process. Then, as an ice-breaker ask all the candidates to introduce themselves one by one. Keep the discussion casual to make everyone feel comfortable.
- Ask questions that require different answers, so that candidates don’t copy or take ideas from each other. For example, “Share about your most challenging project?” Questions with same right or wrong answers may benefit the candidates who will answer later in the interview, as they will get an idea of what to say.
- Consider forming many small groups and assigning them a team activity, like giving a presentation on a topic or solving a puzzle. Don’t focus on the results, but see how candidates collaborate, divide the amount of work and reach decisions.
- Give each candidate enough time to express themselves. But, determine if a candidate is taking time because they are nervous and lack experience or because they are an extrovert.
- At the end of the interview, ask candidates if they have any questions.
- Low participation: Look for candidates who step back during the team activity and allow others to make the decisions might be more passive on the job, too.
- Poor interaction skills: Notice candidates’ reactions when other candidates are talking. Are they friendly and polite? If they are unfriendly or subtly laugh at other candidates’ answers, they might lack interpersonal skills.
- Aggression: Team activities assist spot the rude “know-it-all” candidates. Leadership skills are a good sign, but only if the candidate respects other people’s opinions.
- Arrogance: If a candidate tries to overshadow other candidates by intruding on them or being rude, that is a sign they are not good team player.
- Lack of interest: If you feel a candidate looks uninterested or looks bored (checking time or phone), they might not be very interested in the job.