Group interviews: what to expect and how to handle them

Some employers favour using a group interview situation as they gain a lot from interviewing a number of candidates at the same time, not only does it save time but it quickly identifies the best candidates in one fell swoop!

You may have experienced or about to attend a group interview. They can be a daunting experience, but following our interview advice should make the process a little easier.

As with any interview, arrive early

Making the most of any opportunity to stand out should be taken, that includes being early. Remember in a group interview setting you are being assessed from the moment you arrive, so take the chance to show off your social skills and interact with the other candidates before the interview starts.

So introduce yourself to the group…..

Stalling on this question could mean the end of the process for you. Have something interesting prepared and try to keep it short.

Body language

Strive for positive body language, don’t slouch, look attentive and interested in what is being said. Maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking to, but try not to stare.

Check out these body language tips from Mashable.

Question time

At the end of the interview you will usually be invited to ask any questions you may have about the role or the company. Having some pre-prepared questions show that you have a genuine interest in the role and that you are keen to lean more. Candidates that don’t have a single question may be deemed as uninterested and in a rush to leave the interview room!


You must maintain concentration, remember smile, nod and look enthusiastic while others are speaking and stay engaged throughout.

Things to avoid

You want to stand out, but you don’t want to be memorable for the wrong reasons, here’s what to avoid in a group interview.

  1. Be yourself, being over the top will not impress your assessors and possibly alienate the other candidates.
  2. Talking over people and shouting to be heard is not going to win you any points. There are ways to be listened to in a group situation and although you might get frustrated when others won’t let you speak. Wait your turn and make your point clearly.

Some candidates will try and take the lead, if you don’t want to get lost in the crowd use the leaders to your advantage. Listen to what they’re saying and interact, offer your opinions and work to include the rest of the group this will definitely work in your favour.

Charley Mendoza at EnvatoTuts+ suggests:

Don’t hesitate to rock the boat in group interviews if you believe in your answer and have a solid argument. You may not be applying for a leadership role, but this is a good way to stand out in a discussion where people tend to agree with the most popular opinion. If you’re afraid of coming on too strong, frame your counter-argument as a question. For instance, instead of claiming the group’s consensus on a sales strategy is wrong, ask “Did this sales tactic always work for you previously?” It’s easier to make the group question their opinion first than it is to tell them they’re wrong outright.

Don’t forget it is a formal interview, remember your interview etiquette see our interview hints and tips .

Key points:

Praise others ideas, take notes, dress appropriately and remember to smile!


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