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It’s finally the big day. You’ve done everything you need to do to prepare for your interview, you’ve studied all of the most common interview questions, and you’ve finally found the perfect interview outfit.
You walk into the company lobby with confidence oozing from your pores — but wait! There’s four other people here, and they’re all waiting for the same interview as you!
Here’s the deal:
Group interviews can catch you off guard, but the purpose of this interview is to see how you interact with others and how you conduct yourself in social situations. With just a little preparation, you can have all the tools needed to stand out and land the job.
Keep reading to learn about the eight things you need to do to stand out in a group interview:
Even if you’re completely blindsided by the group of other people all waiting in the lobby for the same interview, don’t let them know. Instead of looking shocked, sad, or annoyed — smile to show that you’re confident.
How you act in this situation will be very telling to the employer about how you interact with others and handle surprises. You’ll want to handle the situation with dignity, instead of being totally thrown off and losing your cool.
Even if you’re awkward around strangers and scoff at the idea of small talk, you should use the time before the interview to make friends with the other candidates. It can be easy to ignore everyone else in favor of your smartphone, but try to use this time instead to introduce yourself and ask people about themselves.
Why should you engage yourself with the people who are trying to steal the job out from under your feet? Well, for one, the interviewers will notice the people in the group who are leading conversations. This will show them that you’re skilled with networking, and it’s a great way to show off that confidence we’ve been talking about.
Another great benefit to talking to your competitors? It’s going to come in handy during the group interview. Being able to address the others by name during the interview will show off your leadership and interpersonal skills, and it’s a great way to stand out from the other candidates.
Make references to the conversations you had while you were waiting, or build off of other candidate’s ideas. If someone makes a statement similar to something you had in mind, build on it by addressing their thoughts and adding your own input.
Make sure you address everyone in the room, including the interviewers. Make eye contact and address everyone while you speak. Whatever you do, don’t commit the cardinal offense of a group interview — repeating the same answer as someone else.
You definitely want your voice to be heard during a group interview, but that doesn’t mean you should talk constantly and dominate the conversation just for the sake of talking.
Make sure that everything you say offers unique insight and isn’t just a regurgitation of a previous answer. Skip the perfectly-scripted responses you have memorized — it’s likely that someone else is going to say the exact same thing.
Focus on keeping the conversation going with thoughtful remarks, instead of just spouting word vomit.
With so many dominating personalities and people trying get their voices heard, group interviews can be a challenge for those of us who are on the shy side.
If you’re someone who hates speaking in front of a crowd, make sure that your answers are thoughtful and purposeful. Never begin a statement with an apology for interjecting, and don’t leave an answer unfinished — this will make interviewers think that you’re a pushover and that you don’t have any confidence.
Check out this article to read more about how to show confidence during an interview, even if you don’t have any.
While you should be focused on giving thoughtful responses, it’s equally important to listen to what the people around you are saying.
In order to be fully engaged in the conversation and give valuable responses, you need to listen to what everyone is saying. Use body language to show that you’re invested, even when you’re not actually speaking.
If you think of something really good to say while someone else is talking, jot down a note so you can come back to it and offer more insight. Frequently interrupting others will only get you remembered as a big jerk.
While you should definitely aim to make a good impression at your group interview, you don’t want to go overboard and force yourself to do things you’re not comfortable with.
Sometimes simply trying too hard to show that you’re trying can come off as aggressive. Don’t speak over the other interviewees and don’t discredit their thoughts or opinions — or else you run the risk of looking like a huge ass hat.
Speak up and make sure that your most valuable points are heard, but make sure that everyone else gets an opportunity to speak up too. In a group interview, it really isn’t all about you.
If anyone else in that room has ever gone to an interview, or ever read about interview etiquette before, chances are they’ll be following up with a thank you letter.
Make sure to send a thank you letter to every interviewer in the panel. This is a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates and show that you’re courteous and appreciate the job opportunity.
Send your letter within one business day of the interview. Reference something specific from the conversation to spark their memory and make them remember you. It could be a great answer you gave, or even a funny joke that made the whole room less tense. As long as you can make the interviewer remember you in a positive light, you’re good to go.
As if interviewing for a job wasn’t stressful enough, now you’ve got to find a way to stand out from everyone else and prove that you’re better for the job than all of them.
It sounds scary, but there’s no need to panic. Just show that you’re confident, give thoughtful responses, and try to engage with everyone in the interview. And most importantly — don’t let the group interview catch you off guard.
Follow these tips, and you’re sure to show employers that you’re the best person for the job!
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