Group Interview Tips
How to Stand Out

When searching for a job, you might have to attend a group interview at least once in your lifetime. This is very common with retail jobs and other entry-level roles.

In this type of interview, managers are evaluating a couple things:

  • Your leadership qualities.
  • Your team player attributes.
  • How you communicate with others.
  • How often you can speak out.

Overall, managers will categorize you in their minds if you are either outspoken or too shy. And sometimes, you can be in-between the two qualities. You definitely want to be looked at as a leader, not a follower.

So follow these important guidelines on how you can do well and stand out in a group interview:

  1. Research, research, research! Despite the numerous times I've mentioned this throughout my site, I can't say it enough... Doing your homework on the company and position are highly critical, so managers know that you are aware of your role. The more you show how much you know about the company, the more you stand out from the other job candidates.
  2. Dress apprioriately. I have actually attended a group interview in my past where other job candidates wore outfits that were improper and even showing tattoos! This is an immediate turn-off switch to the employer, and again, why you have to do your research. Understanding the company's culture is also about understanding their dress code. Even in retail, you have to match the store's style.

    If you believe you should wear general professional attire, read here. If you are absolutely unsure how exactly to dress, feel free to get my advice by contacting me here.

  3. Bring copies of your resume & references. Carrying a porfolio folder will ultimately make you stand out from the rest, even if the manager doesn't ask you for a copy.
  4. Arrive about 10-15 minutes early. Be the first to show up! That way, the manager(s) will definitely remember your name and keep you in mind throughout the rest of the group interview.
  5. Greet every manager in the interview with a firm handshake and a smile. It is highly unprofessional to not acknowledge who you will be speaking with. A handshake goes a long way, and a FIRM handshake takes you even further.
  6. Sit up straight, cross your ankles, and keep smiling. Throughout the interview, these motions are what you have to keep watching out for. It's very easy to have a tendency to slouch and lean back, especially if it's not your turn to talk. But just because you're not talking doesn't mean the employer is not watching you.
  7. Have a mini-introduction of yourself ready. Most of the time in group interviews, the employer will break the ice by having everyone tell a little bit about themselves. What you say is important and determine how you stick out from the rest of the candidates. Read more of my specific tips on this here.

  8. Nod your head every so often when the employer speaks. Managers want to know that you are a good listener and can take in information quickly. A simple head nod shows a lot of courtesy.
  9. Be the first to speak a few times. As mentioned, you want to look like a leader, not a follower. After the manager asks a question, don't be afraid to speak up first and give your best response. However, be aware of looking too aggressive and over-speaking. Employers can tell if you are trying too hard.
  10. Do not interrupt another job candidate while they speak. Yes, I know I just stressed on the "speaking up" factor. But being in a group also requires that you give others a chance to talk. This is an important team quality that employers are evaluating about you. Interrupting is purely rude.

    If you've already spoken up first a couple times, let the others take their chance. Again, you don't want to look over-agressive. A leader knows to let others finish while speaking.

  11. Ask questions in the end. Like with any other interview, you've got to prepare your own questions. Show your interest and ask a relevant inquiry. DO NOT ask about the pay, benefits, or anything else that is confidential. Review my list of questions to ask here.

  12. Thank each manager for their time with a handshake at the conclusion. Just like how you greet them at the beginning, do the same at the end.

After learning about succeeding in a group interview, review my Interview Process page for other highly important tips.

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