If playing at the park or outside with other kids comes up in your childhood memories, you may also recall being told once or twice to "play well in the sandbox." This is advice that stays true as you grow up, and group interviews are great places to take it to heart. Traditionally, interviews have been a chance for the company to get to know candidates in a one-on-one setting. With an increase in competition among qualified candidates in today's job market, however, more and more employers are using group interviews to check out multiple candidates at once. In these situations, you're often being observed from the moment you walk in, so it's important to have your game face on right from the start. Here are three essential tips for how to stand out in a group interview from the time you walk in.
1. Mind your mannerisms: One thing you don't want to do is to show how nervous you might be. Take a deep breath (or as many as you need to relax) and remember how much you know about what you bring to the table, such as your experience, skills and education. You will need to share this information as well as convey your confidence in your nonverbal communications. Make sure you make eye contact when you are speaking as well as when you are listening. Also, turn to the person you are speaking to and make sure to face whoever is speaking at the time.
2. Play well with others: One thing facilitators are watching for is how the group interacts with each other. Make an appropriate introduction and shake hands with everyone in the room. To stand out, you will want to also initiate conversations. As with any interview, employers often perceive a direct relation between the way you "perform" in the interview and how you will perform at work. Be a good listener, stay quiet and don't interrupt, and respect the person that is speaking; you should get the same in return. It is important to be a team player in a group interview, because this will show employers how well you work with others.
3. Sharing is caring: Don't forget that this is still an interview and not a fun exercise where you get to socialize. It is important for you to be heard, and while that can be difficult to do in a group setting, it's definitely not impossible. Make sure to share with the room why you are there, what you can bring to the role and how you can help the company reach its goals. Relate each topic to your relevant experience and skill sets; that's why you are there, right?
Knowing how to stand out in a group interview can be key to your success in today's competitive job-search environment. Overall, you want to be as prepared as you would with any interview. Make sure you set aside enough time in your day because typically, most group interviews have three basic scenarios: the wait before everything gets started, the group discussion, and often, some type of collaborative exercise. So, take a deep breath and remember why you are there: to stand out among the crowd and land that callback.
Interested in more posts on job search related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.
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