How to conduct a group interview
As a hiring manager, using a variety of methods to find a candidate that matches your role will always widen your success, whether that’s via a telephone interview , face-to-face or in a group situation.
One of the major benefits of conducting a group interview is that it reduces the time normally spent interviewing multiple candidates one-to-one.
Particularly when a role has attracted a large amount of applicants, it’s not always easy to select a handful of candidates based purely off a CV.
By using a group interview, you can widen the initial pool of candidates and compare and evaluate them side by side. And by using different elements of the group interview, you can assess applicants’ personalities and their competitiveness, as well as leadership qualities, team player mentality, communication skills and knowledge of the role.
Here is our essential checklist for conducting a group interview:
1. Prior to the group interview, telephone screen the applicants. This will assist you in inviting a select number of prospects to the group interview and will eventually help you to find the right candidate.
2. Prepare a group interview agenda. This should include the group interview process, an introduction, followed by an explanation of the company culture, a job description and job expectations, a group activity and a closing.
3. At the group interview, welcome all interviewees and introduce the interviewers, including a short bio of your role within the company.
Ask all participants of the group interview to introduce themselves too as an ice breaker. You could ask them to state their names and answer a specific question, such as what’s your favourite hobby? Try to make the introductory period an interactive discussion.
4. Role playing is a prominent feature of group interviews and is great for testing a prospective employee’s problem solving and team work skills. Ask a specific question or series of questions, or guide the interviewees in a task that is typical of their job description. Use this opportunity to watch how each participant works in a group environment.
5. Ask each interviewee to write a summary of their interview experience or to answer a question pertinent to the position they’re applying for. Make sure you have paper and pens at the ready. This section of the interview will provide you with a view of each candidate’s organisational and written communication skills.
6. Like with any interview, finish by explaining what happens next, including when they will hear from you again. Ask the interviewees if they have any remaining questions. Don’t forget to thank everyone for participating.
7. Immediately after the group interview, gather the interviewers together to discuss each of the candidates whilst they’re still fresh in your mind. If there are any candidates who impressed you, make a selection (they’ll only get snapped up by someone else if not).
8. Contact all candidates to thank them for their time and patience, letting them know whether they were successful or not. Group interviews can be stressful, in fact any interview can be stressful, and candidates should always be thanked for their effort in participating in the group interview.
If you’re looking to fill a role, consider conducting a group interview as one of the first steps in the selection process. Check out ‘How to Conduct a Group Interview ’ for more information and interview success.
Have you used group interviews as part of your hiring process? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with other hiring managers looking for their next talent? Share your experiences and views below.