Group job interviews are an efficient use of time for employers, although they can be a little awkward for applicants. Employers use this style of interviewing when they have many candidates to interview, or if they want to witness certain interactions among potential employees. Companies can learn the nuances of their candidates' behavior before hiring them. Areas such as teamwork and communication can be assessed through group interview activities. A typical group interview involves many of the same elements as a one-on-one interview, only it includes several other applicants for the same job.
Sort the Inbox
One activity that is found in group interviews is called Sort the Inbox. In this exercise, employers look for what the applicants consider a priority and how they explain their choices. The organizer gathers all of the applicants and splits them into small groups, instructing them to sort through a series of tasks together, such as "Get the agenda ready for the 3:00 appointment" or "Order food for next month's staff meeting." The applicants are instructed to decide among their team members how to prioritize all of the to-dos as though they were in their inbox. The organizer will not only observe how the candidates prioritize the items but also how they negotiate with one another regarding which is more important.
Change the Meaning
In a Change the Meaning exercise, the interviewer is checking to see how alert the candidates are to subtle communication cues. The interviewer reads the same short sentence several times to those in the room. Applicants are instructed to listen to the series of sentences where a different word is emphasized each time the sentences are read out loud. The applicants note which words were emphasized in each sentence and then discuss together how that word that stands out changes the meaning of the sentence.
Group interviews can also involved various types of assessments. It is an efficient use of time for a company to knock out its required testing while several applicants are in the same place at the same time. Assessments may include personality tests or evaluation of computer skills. However, results may not be discussed until after the group interview process.
At the end of the group interview, the applicants can be instructed to write about the process they just went through. The instructions could ask them to talk about what they learned in the group exercises and how their skills were enhanced through teamwork.These essays are useful to the company because they reveal the candidates' writing abilities, as well as their assessment of the exercises. Candidates might have negative feelings about being interviewed as a group and from that, the employer can determine how their potential employees are able to cope with these types of emotions.
Based in the Midwest, Gina Scott has been writing professionally since 2008. She has worked in real estate since 2004 and has expertise in pop culture and health-related topics. She has also self-published a book on how to overcome chronic health conditions. Scott holds a Master of Arts in higher-education administration from Ball State University.