Group interviews: How to Succeed at a Group Interview/Panel Interview

One of the forms of “non-traditional interviews” calls group interviews. It means there is more than one person on the side of the negotiation process.

A group interview has two types:

The reputation of group interviews is fundamentally negative - representatives of network marketing, who often use just this form of an interview, have pretty much ruined it. Therefore, one can comprehend why many applicants are frightened by this form of an interview, but everything is not so simple. 

In this article, we will tell you about group and panel interviews and how to ace a group interview when there is more than one person on the side of the negotiation process.

Group Interview

Group interviews are justified if leadership and communication skills are important for a potential candidate. During a group interview, they are the easiest to show. Therefore, an HR-manager often uses group interviews to find leadership positions and in the mass selection of specialties, where confidence, initiative, and communication with a large audience are the most important skills.

Group interviews are meaningless for professionals whose responsibilities do not include working with people in stressful situations and do not need to show leadership qualities: accountants, engineers, IT specialists, analysts, editors. In a nutshell, all those who quietly do their work in their office work.

Panel Interview

You come for an interview, and several people are already waiting for you in the office - this is a panel interview, one of the types of group interviews.

This common form of interview replaces the applicant with several stages of interviews with various specialists of the company, which saves his time. But the panel interview itself is not the most comfortable, because the situation itself crushes. There are more than three people in the room, and every one carefully scans the applicant.

And all of them can actively ask questions, or just listen carefully and make notes. Each of the interviewers evaluates the candidate according to his criteria. Stressful scenarios are also possible when each of the interviewers will behave differently: someone may sit with a boring look and not show interest in what is happening, someone - persistently ask questions, someone - interrupt and the “victim” of the group interviews and colleagues.

Your task during such a group interview is to remain calm, not to panic, not to succumb to provocations, and thus make a good impression.

How to succeed group or panel interview: Tips and advice

1. Do Not Leave Immediately

A self-respecting company will warn about the form of the interview. It will not do this just for the reason of creating an effect of surprise. Do not refuse or leave, as soon as you find out that at the interview, you will not be alone with the interviewer unless you see a frank deception or a network company.

2. Take the Initiative

Feel free to propose your options for solving problems in a group interview. Try to treat this as training during which you need to show your communication skills and demonstrate self-presentation skills. Your goal is to stand out among other job seekers. But this does not mean that they need to be “drowned.”

3. Constructive Criticism

Criticism of competitors should only be constructive and reasoned, followed by a specific proposal. Praise, nod, approval - a manifestation of friendliness and courtesy towards other candidates are welcome.

4. Smile. Cheerfulness Attracts

Even if you look weaker against competitors, keep up the courage - it is not known by what criteria selection will be made in the end.

5. Be Yourself

The most valuable advice in any aspect of employment is to be yourself. After all, it is crucially important to maintain individuality and not succumb to herd feelings. Speak merely on your own, be natural, do not deceive, do not bother, do not flirt - as they say, “it is better not to be hired than soon to be fired.”

6. Remember the Name of the Interviewer and Do Not Relax

Talk to the interviewer by name. And don't succumb to the illusion that the recruiter is not looking at you at all. As a result, in a large group, the candidate does not feel close attention and begins to behave more informally - this is the rate of recruiters.

One of the techniques for detecting false information in a panel interview suggests that the recruiter will ask the same question to the subject at some intervals. A simple interview practically does not allow revealing invalid information stated by the candidate regarding his personal and professional achievements.

When answering the asked questions, try to meet each HR manager with your eyes, but focus on who asked the question.

7. Count On Long Group Interviews

Due to the number of participants, group interviews are quite lengthy, but often after its end after a short discussion, you can find out a verdict. If you fail, consider what happened not as a defeat, but as an opportunity to objectively evaluate your leadership qualities and compare yourself with competitors. Analyze their strengths and weaknesses, mark particularly successful performances, and take all this into service. Useful in the future!          


We advise you to show your personality in a group or panel interview, to come not only to an interesting company but also to an interesting position - in short, a successful and quick job search!