How to Conduct A Group Interview
There are many ways to streamline your interview process. Since the interview stage comes later in the recruitment process, it is safe to assume that not many candidates will make it to the last stage of the interview. Even when many candidates make it to the final stages of the recruitment process, the company might not have the time to engage with all the candidates individually. This is when group interviews come in handy.
There are many different ways a hiring manager can conduct interviews, and they might have multiple stages of interview rounds with increasing difficulty as the candidates progress through them. There are structured interviews, where all the candidates are asked the same questions in the same order to effectively score them.
Like all these interview methods, a group interview is also a method of conducting interviews that makes it easier for the hiring manager to trim down the candidates and choose a suitable one for their job vacancy. All the while, saving time with qualified candidates to up the interview.
Group Interview Definition
A group interview is a format of an interview where multiple candidates are interviewed simultaneously by an interviewer.
This interview method is often used in the hospitality, food, and retail industries. When these industries need employees to join their workforce in a short time, they do group interviews.
The best part of a group interview is that it is suitable for hiring people in bulk and reduces the time to fill positions.
Candidate Group Interviews vs. Panel Interviews
When it comes to group interviews, there are two types of group interview models that are commonly used in companies. They are the candidate group interview and the panel interview. These two models are clearly distinguished based on the number of candidates or interviewers.
A candidate group interview involves multiple candidates, and only a single interviewer conducts the interview. The candidate is allocated an interviewer, who must interview all the candidates at once and find the right candidate for their company.
In a panel interview, there is usually just one candidate who attends the interview instead of a group of candidates. The interviewers who form the panel consists of the hiring manager, a team manager, and senior employees. This panel of interviewers conducts the interview on a single candidate.
Pros of Group Interviews
The following are the pros of using group interviews for your hiring process:
- The first and best benefit of the group interview model is that they save a lot of time. When there are multiple candidates for your job role, or your company needs to hire in bulk for a certain job role, without a doubt, group interviews are the best way to efficiently handle your time.
- In a group interview, candidates participate in the interview along with their competitors. This gives you numerous ways to handle them while letting the best candidate shine through all the rest. This will help you identify the candidates who can handle stress.
- Another advantage of a group interview is that it is easy for the recruiter to cut costs by interviewing multiple candidates, rather than having each one undergo a one-on-one interview. This helps save time and money when recruiting a suitable candidate.
- In a group interview session, it is easy for you to see how the candidates interact with each other. This allows you to check how the candidates handle other candidates’ answers. This makes it easy for you to compare candidates and make the right decision.
Cons of Group Interviews
Group interviews also have some cons that make them unsuitable for some industries. The following are some of the cons of a group interview that should be considered before adopting this interview model for your company’s hiring needs:
- Some of the candidates in the group interview may dominate the other applicants with their personalities. You can easily make the wrong decision to hire them, when the candidate might not even be a right fit for your company. Not every candidate may feel comfortable with the group interview, even if they possess the necessary skills to do the job efficiently.
- The interview panel you decide on needs the proper skills to conduct a group interview. They might do well with a regular interview with a single candidate. But, when it comes to a group interview, the panel of interviewers should stay on high alert and assess all the candidates at once. This is a lot trickier than it sounds.
- A group interview is almost always situational. This model might not be required for some roles. It is only applicable when hiring in bulk and when there are many candidates for the same job.
- In a one-to-one interview, the employer may make the candidate more comfortable and spend some time with them to understand them better. This can help the candidate easily open up and can lead to much more fruitful conversations. This is not possible in a group interview.
Tips to Conduct a Group Interview
The following are some tips to help you organise your group interviews and ensure they are conducted properly:
- It is best if you inform the candidate about the interview format beforehand. This can ensure that the candidate prepares themselves for the group interview format and is not surprised when they are told about the format at the very last moment. This will also help you to improve the candidate experience for them.
- Meet with the interview panel and debrief them about how the interview should be conducted and how they should evaluate the candidates. This can ensure that they are all on the same page and can help them conduct the interview together as a team.
- It is best practice to make the interview panel introduce themselves to the candidates in a one-on-one interview. The panel can explain their role in the organisation and explain the interview process if there are any candidate queries. This also acts as an ice breaker and helps the candidate ease into the group interview.
- Do not let a single interviewer from the panel do all the work. The panel members should all take turns and ask questions. It is best if the order of the questions and the panel members who ask them are decided beforehand.
- Once the interview is over, the panel should note down all the candidates who stood out and score them based on the agreed system. This can help them get together and decide on the potential candidates for your workforce.
While the group interview model might seem like a good option, it is crucial to ensure that you adopt this model only if its advantages outweigh the disadvantages. There are instances where the group interview may help you and should be carefully analysed before making it one of the stages of your hiring process.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are group interviews hard for the candidates?
Group interviews are hard for candidates who are shy and introverted. They might find it challenging to speak up with many other candidates around them.
2. How can a candidate ace a group interview?
To ace a group interview, the candidate must follow these tips:
- Be prepared for the interview.
- Be confident when they talk.
- Listen carefully and respond accordingly.
- Stay inclusive and respectful of other candidates.
3. What are some common group interview questions?
The following are some of the most common interview questions for a group interview:
- How would you describe yourself?
- Why do you want this job?
- Who would you hire if you were in our position?
- What can you contribute to this company?
- How well do you work in a team?
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