To help candidates succeed during group interviews, we asked hiring managers and business owners this question for their best tips. From connecting to the four personality styles to engaging with the other candidates, there are several strategies to help you build connections and stand out during a group interview.
Here are 11 ways to build connections in group interviews:
- Connect to the Four Personality Styles
- Don’t Always Be the First Person to Respond
- Be Vulnerable
- Do Your Research
- Give Specific Examples and Accomplishments
- Respond to and Build Off of Others’ Answers
- Show Your Concern for Teamwork
- Be An Active Listener
- Follow-up is the Key
- Eye Contact
- Engage With Other Candidates
Connect to the Four Personality Styles
You may not know the panel’s exact personality style, but in a group, rest assured you have all four styles present. When you touch each of the styles with your communication, you connect with them…like you are speaking their own language. When given a question, be direct and get to the bottom line first. This reaches the Commanders who don’t have the patience for long-winded answers. Follow that up by sharing a story that illustrates your answer so that you engage the Coaches are who very interactive. As you are doing this, give eye contact to each person so that the Counselors feel your connection. Wrap up with some facts, figures and data that support your answer, and you will have connected with the Conductors as well as the entire panel. Repeat the process for each question.
Lorraine Bossé-Smith, Concept One LLC
Don’t Always Be the First Person to Respond
Speaking up in a group interview is generally good advice, but always being the first to respond isn’t the most strategic way to build a connection.
For example, allowing space for and hearing other candidates’ responses provides processing time and a chance to stand out with more than a thoughtful statement, but a collaborative approach as well. Often times the goal of a group interview isn’t to find one successful candidate but to witness how each person interacts with the rest of the group which is helpful for developing a good fit for the team.
Candidates can showcase their teamwork, listening, leadership, and professional skills by taking a strategic rather than competitive approach in a group interview.
Tommy Chang, Homelister
Be vulnerable. Sharing who you are in a genuine, vulnerable, authentic way helps you stand out because the interviewer does not only meet a prospective hire, but a person. When you are truthful about who you are in more ways than what you can offer a business, you create a lasting impression.
Chris Vaughn, Emjay
Do Your Research
When you are a candidate in a group interview it’s important to adequately prepare as you’ll need to stand out and make a lasting impression. Do your research beforehand on the interviewers by searching their Linkedin and seeing what they have accomplished in their interview. You should find a point that you are able to bring up in the interview that will help connect you with them while also showing that you did your research beforehand. In addition to researching the interviewers beforehand, make sure you do a deep dive into the company by sifting through their website, social channels, and any news placements. When you do your research, it shows!
Chris Hunter, ServiceTitan
Give Specific Examples and Accomplishments
You will most likely just be able to answer a couple of questions in this scenario. So make these responses count. Highlight specific accomplishments, in my opinion, not just with numbers, but with visual stories that are easily recalled. Also, ask the interviewees questions that demonstrate your interest in them as persons. This will assist you in developing a positive, genuine relationship.
Veronica Miller, VPNOverview
Respond to and Build Off of Others’ Answers
The mistake many make in group interviews is neglecting the other candidates. You shouldn’t spend the entire time they’re talking planning the next thing you’ll say to sell yourself. Part of what group interviews demonstrate is your ability to engage with your peers, and doing so effectively will make you stand out. Listen to the answers given by other candidates, and respond to or piggyback off of them when you have a relevant point to add or similar experience to share. This will ultimately help you connect better with the interviewers, as well, who will appreciate that you are making an effort to interact with the other participants, rather than just focusing on talking yourself up.
Jon Hill, The Energists
Show Your Concern for Teamwork
Group interviews, in my opinion, are an excellent opportunity for employees and employers alike to examine the team component of a company. You should ask questions about how you’ll fit in with the group, how the team works together, how you can aid the team, and other topics. Employers will be impressed that you want to be a part of their team dynamic and will be more likely to say “you’re hired” if you focus on your individual strengths.
Kenny Kline, BarBend
Be An Active Listener
During group interviews, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling invisible in a room full of candidates. This can make it hard to build a connection, or even could make you appear indifferent or apathetic. The best way to avoid it is to act as if the interviewer was talking only to you and to constantly show him that you are listening by maintaining eye contact and using body language cues such as nodding. Make sure to not only look like you are listening but actually focus on the information the interviewer is providing. Try to reference it when it’s time for you to ask questions, to further show your active participation.
Maja Kowalska, Zety
Follow-up is the Key
During a group interview, it’s important to gather names and email addresses (most companies follow a pattern). Focus on the questions that each individual is specifically asking, and note them. Within 24 hours of the interview, e-mail each person on the panel a personalized thank you with a short elaboration on what they were specifically interested in or asking about. Most employers are looking for a person who cannot just do the job but will follow up to ensure it is done correctly. This will differentiate you from the other candidates, and lead to greater success in connecting to the individuals in the group.
Mike Shaw, EMBARK
Whenever I have attended a group interview in the past it was for a position that I was intensively interested in. That’s just the way the cards fell.
So naturally, I was alert and listened attentively to the speaker. This also meant that my eyes followed their eyes constantly. I noticed that once the speaker locked gaze with me a 1st time and I was still attentively following their gaze a 2nd time, they seemed to periodically lock gaze with me, and the more I was present when their gaze fell to me. The more we locked gaze and connected.
Even to the point of nodding at one another periodically. When it came time to ask a question I ensured I had one prepared and naturally the speaker selected me 1st. As you can imagine by this point we had established a connection stronger than most if not stronger than all in the room. This worked for me on multiple occasions and ensured that the speaker remembered me, consciously or subconsiosuly.
Ross Kernez, Health Plan One
Engage With Other Candidates
Group interviews give the opportunity to see how candidates interact with others. One of the ways to build a connection in a group interview is to listen attentively when others are speaking and then make a point referencing what someone else has said. Another idea is if you see someone is left out of the discussion to ask their opinion and involve them in the conversation.
Georgi Todorov, thrivemyway