Group interviews can be nerve-racking, and as if an interview isn’t hard enough, now you are placed in a room with other job seekers, competing for the same position as you. Although this might seem like a tough situation, there are ways you can stand out from the crowd during a group interview and land that job you’re competing for.
• Dress Accordingly.
Employers WILL notice the way you are dressed, so this means no tennis shoes or t-shirts. Make sure you are dressed for the part, and dress up! Your hair must be neatly groomed, nails clean, women shouldn’t wear too much make up and you don’t want to overwhelm the employers with your cologne, so tone down the smells. If you are seeking a job in retail, especially a clothing store, you will want to wear the latest fashions to show the employer you are ‘hip’ with today’s styles. If you are seeking a sales position, or something a little more formal, wear a nice dress or a dress suit. Always looks your best, take a shower and smell nice; just don’t overdo it.
• Always Wear A Smile.
If you walk into the group interview with a blank stare or a mad look on your face, the employer is less likely to hire you. You will want to conduct yourself in such a manner that shows you have a personality, and a friendly one at that. Especially if you’re applying for any position that deals with customer service or the public, you will want that beautiful smile radiating from your lips the moment you walk into the business! This shows the employer that not only are you friendly and engaging, but you’re also thankful and happy to even be considered for an interview.
While the two ‘hint’s above are common sense when applying to any job, whether or not you’re having a group interview or flying solo, those are just the basics. When you’re put in a position where you have to rise above the rest in order to get noticed, you have to get a little more creative and not just worry about what you will look like that day, but you must also find out what you will SAY that day during the interview to get you noticed.
• Get Creative.
When in a group interview, the employer or interviewer will ask a series of questions, some related to the job and others are not. The questions that are related to the job, you must answer to the best of your ability, and we suggest doing your research on the position and the company before arriving at the interview. But even questions like “What is your favorite ice cream flavor?” can make or break you, so answer creatively! If you are given a basic question such as what is your favorite flavor of ice cream, don’t answer with plain and boring comments like “chocolate” or “vanilla” even if that’s the truth. Instead, say “chocolate with a hint of nuts and a dash of fudge!” or you could find another flavor that is close to your favorites, but one that nobody has said yet, or one that most people don’t ever think of like “Creamsicle ice cream” or “chocolate Oreo fudge ice cream”. The reason this works is because employers see that you are thinking outside of the box and not just giving a generic answer. Your answers show that you have a brain, and you use it well. Choosing creative answers alone can land you the job, but you must be wise about what you say and how you say it.
• Try To Answer ALL Questions.
Sometimes when in a group interview, the interviewer will throw out questions that anyone can answer. If this is the case, make sure you are one of the few that is answering each and every question thrown at you. This shows that you are quick to think of ideas and shows that you know what you’re talking about and you know it well. When you answer all of the employers’ questions they automatically assume you are capable of performing all duties that the job entails. This also shows initiative and it gives you a chance to show the employer how ‘smart’ you really are.
• Do Your Research On the Company.
Research the company you are interviewing for, and talk about what you know during the interview. Employers love it when you take time out to research their company because you already one step ahead of the game and that is less work that they will have to do to get you to understand what they are all about. Don’t talk too much about what you know however because then you can just seem unnatural and pushy, instead just throw some facts in there when asked a question. For instance, if the employer asks you how you conduct your upselling, and you know that this particular company uses certain items to upsell, reiterate that in your answer by saying that you know they use such and such to upsell, so you would more than likely use that item as your “go to item” in order to bring home the sale. This is great for the employer because you already know the job and what it entails when you do your research.
• Don’t Feel Intimidated.
It’s understandable that you could feel intimidated by others in a group interview setting, especially if you feel someone is more qualified than you, but no matter what you’re feeling during this time, don’t let it show. Be cool, calm and collective at all times. Don’t seem shy or bashful, but of course don’t overdo it. Don’t seem hateful towards the other interviewees but don’t let them steal your shine either. There is a way to meet in the middle with your emotions when you are invited to a group interview, and honestly, if you have to fake it, then fake it – just don’t let the employer see the trapped emotions. The reason you must keep your cool during a group interview is because nine times out of ten an employer is looking for someone confident and outgoing. If you are sitting in your chair, checking out the other job seekers around you, instead of paying attention to the interview, you will seem uneducated about the position and even unqualified. Or the employer will just think you’re not fit for the job because if you can’t handle a small interview, chances are you couldn’t handle a huge crowd in your store.
• Stay Confident and Highlight Your Skills.
Always let the interviewer know your skills, especially those pertaining to the position you are interviewing for. A great way to let them know your skills is when they ask you those questions that are based on performances in past jobs, such as when they ask “How would you describe customer service?”, you could always start off by answering that you worked in customer service at your previous job, and then proceed to tell them an actual event that occurred while working there. Make sure what you are telling them actually answers their question though, rambling on and on about what you have done at a previous job, but not answering the question is a huge red flag for employers – you don’t listen! Highlighting your skills that pertain to the job you are applying for shows the employer that you are most definitely qualified for the job.
The next time you are asked to participate in a group interview, try to remember the four C’s. Confident, Calm, Creative and Career Minded. It may sound silly, but remembering each of these C’s for the steps to take in order to stand out from the crowd, will more than likely land you the job.
Confident – his is the way you need to feel when you wake up in the morning, the day of the interview, knowing that you got this in the bag. Carry that confidence over to the interview and show the employer that you have what it takes to perform this job.
Calm – Since group interviews, and interviews alone, can be nerve wracking, the main thing to remember is to stay calm. They wouldn’t have called you in for an interview if they didn’t believe in you, so take a breather and relax. No need to be nervous, remain calm and keep fidgeting to a minimum. Also, practice slow, deep (and quiet) breaths if necessary.
Creative – This is one of the most important C’s because this is where you will stand out the most. Showcasing your creativity to the employer is extremely vile when in a group setting, the employer needs to know that you are the one they should choose for the job. If you’re applying for a writing position, show them some of your writings or pitch them an idea. If you’re applying for a cashier position, tell them how you handle small talk with customers. Get creative in your answers, but not off the wall.
Career Minded – This is where you let the employer know your experience and skills, thus allowing the employer to decide if you are qualified for this position.
Don’t let group interviews intimidate you, they can actually improve your chances of getting the position. When employers see their interviewees face to face and hear their experiences first hand, they are more likely to hire when they can compare to another instantly. It’s just like when you have a decision to make in life and you can choose between one or the other. When those two options are placed in front of you, you are able to see the differences immediately, compare one to the other, and that will allow you to make a better observation and choose the better option quicker than if you had to test each one separate, on its own. So chin up and put your best foot forward, you will ace your next group interview if you follow these guidelines!