Top Group Interview Questions (With Answers And Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 6, 2021
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The job market is always changing and evolving. Certain jobs may have more openings than others, interviewers may ask different questions, and new practices become popular and replace the old. One of these newer practices is the process of group interviews. And, as group interviews become more and more popular, odds are that you might find yourself preparing for one.

If you’re accustomed to one-on-one interviews, a group interview can feel somewhat intimidating. Suddenly, instead of nervously facing a hiring manager on your own, you have to experience the same anxiety surrounded by other candidates gunning for the same position. Or, you find yourself sweaty and alone in front of a whole panel of interviewers.

What a nightmare.

However, with the right preparation, you can ace these types of interviews like any other. In this article, you’ll get to know more about group interviews, the common questions that are asked, and other tips on how you can set yourself apart from the competition.

Types of Group Interviews

Whether you’re interviewing with multiple candidates or sitting in front of a panel of interviewers, employers use group interviews to get a sense of how well you communicate, work in a team, and operate under pressure.

Here are the two different types of group interviews you may come across:

  1. Panel Interview. This type of group interview centers around multiple interviewers (often referred to as a panel) meeting with and interviewing you. Employers choose this style of interview so multiple important members of the company can reach a consensus on whether or not they wish to hire you. The panel typically includes a human resources representative, the manager, and possibly co-workers from the department.

    Generally speaking, being asked to participate in a panel interview is a good sign. It signifies that the company is interested enough in bringing you on board to invest the time of multiple members of their staff.

  2. Group Interview. This type of interview, which has been growing in popularity, features multiple candidates being interviewed by a hiring manager or panel of interviewers. When you’re in a group interview, you and the other candidates are all together when questions are being asked.

    You’re more likely to experience group interviews in fast-paced, customer service-oriented environments. For instance, companies may choose to interview several candidates at the same time to see what your teamwork skills are like.

    Interviewing multiple candidates at the same time also saves the company valuable time and resources, which is why more and more of them are gravitating towards these types of interviews.

How to Prepare for a Group Interview

One of the best ways to prepare for these types of interviews is by researching the most common questions asked. After all, group interviews give you a prime opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd, in the most literal sense. That being said, if you know what kind of questions the hiring manager or panel will ask, you can prepare your answers ahead of time.

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Often, hiring managers are looking for specific kinds of answers to their questions, and they’ll be mindful of the key words and phrases they’re looking for. With that in mind, it’s worthwhile to know what they’re looking for.

Then, once you’ve thought about all of the possible questions and your answers, remember to practice. The more you rehearse the way you want to answer the most common questions, the more likely you’ll be able to stick to stript under pressure.

Overall, taking these steps to prepare will help ease the pressure and anxiety that comes with the group interviewing process. Allow yourself the opportunity to show confidence on your big day.

Why Are Group Interview Questions Important?

Group interview questions are useful to companies for a few reasons.

First, group interview questions are very efficient, as they can hear answers from multiple candidates side-by-side. This saves the company several hours of interview work and allows them to pinpoint certain candidates out of the crowd.

The nature of the interview allows employers to see which candidates work well with others. Group interview questions can serve as a valuable introduction to multiple co-workers or potential co-workers. In addition, being around multiple candidates or members of the company will also show an employer which candidates will fit well with the company’s culture.

Finally, group interview questions outline how well potential employees respond under stress. Doing well in environments involving multiple people is essential for fast-paced and customer-focused environments.

12 Common Group Interview Questions and The Best Answers

When you’re in an interview with multiple candidates, the interviewer(s) may ask a variety of important questions. Typically, they may ask each candidate group questions, as well as individual questions. The group interview might even end with everyone having brief individual interviews.

Here are 12 of the most commonly asked questions, as well as the best ways you can answer them:

General Questions

These are questions that could be asked in a one-on-one interview but are still important to answer correctly if you want to stand out from the crowd.

  1. Tell me about your experience working as a team.

    Employer’s Intent: To gauge which candidates will work best in a team-oriented environment. Structure your answer carefully, particularly if it’s clear from the job description that teamwork is an essential part of the role. If you’re looking to stand out as an individual, give specific examples from your past.

    Example Answer:

    “When working at my previous position, communication and the delegation of tasks was a crucial part of our work. Often, we would meet at the beginning of shifts and discuss how to tackle our tasks as a team. For example, we often worked in groups of three to clean various parts of the same coffee machine. I enjoyed this system because splitting the work into different roles and communicating as a team improved our performance and efficiency.”

  2. How do your core values fit with our company’s culture?

    Employer’s Intent: For the employer, group interviews are particularly useful for pinpointing who will fit their company culture. Research the company ahead of time to showcase yourself as someone who would fit seamlessly into their team culture.

    Example Answer:

    “I’ve always believed in having responsibility for my work in my community. Therefore, being in a cooperative workplace comes with the notion that we should support and listen to our co-workers. My last manager encouraged us to take care of each other, which included the possibility of voluntary or mandated overtime. I often helped in this regard as I had the flexibility, and I also appreciated knowing my co-workers would have done the same for me.”

  3. How would your colleagues describe you?

    Employer’s Intent: To measure your level of self-perception and compare your answers to what your references have said about you. This question also helps the employer predict which candidates best fit into their company culture. Be aware of what your previous co-workers think your best qualities are so you can hone in on those and show confidence in your answer.

    Example Answer:

    “I think my friends and coworkers would describe an empathetic problem solver. While working at my previous company I reduced turnover rates by 15% by actively listening to frustrated employees, and properly vetting new employees. This allowed all of my co-workers to thrive in a positive work environment, and reduced feelings of anxiety in the workplace.”

  4. How would you describe yourself?

    Employer’s Intent: To understand how your traits fit the position and how they compare to the other candidates. You’ll want to focus on the characteristics, interests, and experiences that make the interviewers feel like they’ve learned something unique and interesting about you as an individual.

    Example Answer:

    “I’ve always had a passion for organization. When I was in college, all of my friends went to me when they had a sick day because they knew I took neat, precise notes. With that in mind, I always like to keep a clean workspace and create logical filing methods, so I’m always able to find what I need. As with my fellow students in class, I’ve found that my organizational skills increase efficiency and help everyone stay on track, too.”

  5. What can you offer our company?

    Employer’s Intent: To get an idea of why they should hire you specifically. You’re essentially being put in the position of having to make a successful sales pitch about yourself. Think about which of your skills, experience, and qualifications will be more valuable to bring up.

    Example Answer:

    “I’ve worked in customer service positions with fast-paced, team oriented environments for over nine years. Overtime I’ve learned the most productive ways to communicate with fellow teammates, properly delegate tasks, and work together in the most efficient ways possible. For instance, at my previous position my team of four completed our assigned project a whole week before our official deadline, because of our skilled communication and task delegation.”

  6. Name one of your weaknesses that you would like to improve.

    Employer’s Intent: To see if you’re capable of self-improvement. Explain how your personal growth can also lead to growth in their organization.

    Example Answer:

    “There are times when I’ve been too self-critical of my work. This perfectionism has delayed my projects in the past because I continue to critique something that doesn’t need to be critiqued. However, within the past two years, I’ve worked tirelessly to communicate this with my fellow staff members, and the advice I’ve received has helped me learn how to manage my self-criticism and regulate myself under pressure. This isn’t always easy, but I find that my improved self-awareness has improved my efficiency in the workplace.”

  7. How do you manage stress?

    Employer’s Intent: To look for reassurance that you know how to operate under stress in an efficient and healthy way. Provide an example of how you maintained your composure in a stressful situation, and mention the tools and communication skills you use to keep stress at bay whenever possible.

    Example Answer:

    “I actually find that I perform better under pressure and enjoy working in challenging environments. As a writer and editor, I thrive when I receive multiple projects with tight deadlines. Generally, I’ve found that when I have to work to a deadline, I can produce some of my most professional work. For example, my latest article, which increased website traffic for my company by 11%, was assigned to me only three days before the due date. I utilized the pressure of the deadline to increase my focus.”

Questions Asked After Work-Simulation Exercises

Often, group interviews may require everyone to participate in a work simulation or problem-solving exercise, where candidates will have to work together as a team. This allows the employer to see how you handle group projects, if you are a natural leader, and how well you communicate with others. Sometimes, the group work will conclude with a team discussion or presentation.

  1. How did you contribute to your team’s performance?

    Employer’s Intent: To evaluate the work you personally contribute in a team context. Do your best to remind the interviewer of your greatest strengths.

    Example Answer:

    “I’ve always excelled at being able to take the lead and coordinate everyone’s efforts. During this exercise, I found it easier to assume this role, as I helped everyone organize materials and schedule dates for the project in question. With these management skills, I believe I can take the lead in important projects and keep everyone on task as much as possible.”

  2. What made this team successful?

    Employer’s Intent: To assess your understanding of teamwork and how you approached the team simulation. Use keywords like communication, organization, diversity, and conflict management.

    Example Answer:

    “I believe we were successful because we utilized our diverse backgrounds to communicate innovative ideas. Because our communication was positive and productive, and everyone listened to each other, we were able to manage conflicts with ease and keep our work organized. In addition, this openness in communication is what opened the door for any new ideas brought to the table.”

  3. What would you have changed about the team’s performance?

    Employer’s Intent: To see if you know what makes a team work and if you’re capable of constructive criticism. When working in a team, it’s vital that you’re able to criticize your team’s work in a productive way, along with evaluating your individual contributions. Don’t single out any one person, but rather, offer ways in which the group as a whole could have improved performance.

    Example Answer:

    “There were a few times when we struggled to come to an agreement on how we should move forward. Given that, I believe that implementing a democratic voting system would be beneficial. With that, not only would everyone’s opinions have been more clear, but also, easily knowing the decision of the majority would speed up the overall process.”

  4. Who would you hire from your group and why?

    Employer’s Intent: To see if you’re willing to acknowledge the contributions of your peers. Even if it seems counterproductive to recommend one of your competitors for the job you want, it’s an even worse idea to throw someone under the bus.

    Example Answer:

    “I would hire Josh, not only because he gave everyone valuable insight on how to format our project, but also because he was the first to volunteer for a role that no one else wanted to take. Regardless of the importance of the role, being willing to step up to the plate is a valuable trait, and I commend him for being a team player.”

  5. How did you deal with the stress of meeting the team’s challenges?

    Employer’s Intent: To judge whether your performance in the group shows that you’ll be able to cope with the pace and demands of their workplace. Your answer should demonstrate your ability to focus under pressure.

    Example Answer:

    “I believe that the best way to deal with this stress is to communicate well and allow each team member to provide support for each other. If we’re writing a sample letter that requires neat handwriting, we can split up the work appropriately. For example, the team member with the best handwriting can write out the letter, whereas the person with the best professional writing skills can help determine what to write. In this way, stress is reduced because everyone uses their skills to support each other.”

Other Tips to Answer Group Interview Questions

With these samples in mind, here are additional tips on how to answer any questions thrown your way:

  • Take the time to be prepared. Review the questions provided by this article and elsewhere to prepare your answers. Doing so will allow you to properly brush up on all of your interview skills and increase your confidence.

  • Practice active listening. When working in a team, it’s essential that you know how to listen to your other team members. Use your body language and general demeanor to show your fellow candidates and interviewers you’re actively listening. Also, when you answer someone’s question, refer back to what others have said to show that you were listening.

  • Show leadership. Working on a team project gives you an excellent opportunity to show how you can lead others. This can be as simple as including everyone and making sure everyone has a task.

  • Be yourself. Though this may seem obvious, showing that you’re an individual will help you stand out to an employer. Answer questions thoughtfully and meaningfully by including your personal experience.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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