What is a group interview? How to stand out amongst the crowd

May 19, 2023

    Group interviews

    What is a group interview?

    Group interviews are a popular method used by employers to interview multiple candidates at the same time. It is a cost-effective and efficient way to assess a group of candidates and see how they interact with each other. Group interviews can take many forms, from a panel of interviewers interviewing one candidate to multiple candidates being interviewed at the same time.

    Group interviews can be an intimidating, stressful situation for candidates, as they are often competing with each other for the same job. However, they can also be an opportunity to showcase their skills and demonstrate their ability to work well in a team. Employers use group interviews activities to assess a range of skills, including communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership.

    During a group interview, candidates may be asked to participate in group activities, such as role-playing exercises or problem-solving tasks. They may also be asked to give a presentation or answer questions individually. Ultimately, the goal of a group interview is to identify the best candidate for the job, based on their skills, professional experience and teamwork skills.

    What do employers assess during a candidate group interview?

    Employers use group interviews to assess a potential candidate’s range of skills including:

    • Communication
    • Teamwork
    • Problem-solving
    • Leadership skills
    • Knowledge
    • Suitability

    What different types of group interviews are there?

    There are several types of group interviews, including:

    • Panel interview: A panel interview involves a group of interviewers who ask questions and evaluate candidates together. This type of interview is commonly used for senior or management roles.
    • Group discussion: A group discussion involves candidates discussing a topic or scenario together. This type of interview is used to assess communication skills, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities.
    • Group activity: A group activity involves candidates working together on a task or project. This type of interview is used to assess teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving skills.
    • Speed interview: A speed interview involves candidates rotating through a series of short interviews with different interviewers. This type of interview is used to assess a candidate's ability to think on their feet and communicate effectively.

    What are the benefits of a group interview?

    Group interviews have become increasingly popular among employers as a way to save time and resources while still finding a suitable candidate.  Here are some benefits of a group interview:

    They are efficient:

    • One of the most significant benefits of group interviews is how time-efficient they are. Instead of having to devote an entire day to meet each applicant one by one, an interviewer can talk to them all in one shorter session. This approach can save a considerable amount of time compared to meeting with each person individually.

    • Moreover, group interviews can be an efficient way to screen candidates and identify the most qualified ones. By observing how candidates interact with each other and respond to questions, interviewers can quickly evaluate their communication skills, teamwork abilities, and problem-solving skills.

    They increase diversity:

    • Another advantage of group interviews is that they allow you to interview a more diverse pool of candidates. This approach can help employers identify candidates with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, which can be valuable in a team environment.

    • Group interviews also provide an opportunity to assess a candidate’s people skills and how they interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. This insight can be particularly useful for companies that value diversity and inclusion.

    They all for clearer observation of candidate interactions:

    • Finally, group interviews allow the interviewers to observe how candidates interact with each other. This approach can provide valuable insights into how candidates work in a team environment and how they handle different personalities and opinions.

    • By observing how candidates interact, you can assess their interpersonal skills, leadership abilities, soft skills and emotional intelligence. This information can be particularly useful for companies that value teamwork and collaboration.

    What are the challenges of group interviews?

    Conducting group interviews can come with some challenges that employers should be aware of:

    Difficulty in assessing individual candidate's skills:

    • One of the main challenges of group interviews is that it can be difficult to assess individual skills. In a group interview setting, candidates may not have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills as effectively as they would in a one-on-one interview. For example, a candidate who is quieter or more introverted may struggle to stand out in a group interview, even if they have valuable skills to offer.

    • To overcome this challenge, employers can incorporate individual assessments into the group interview process. For example, they could ask candidates to:

      •    Complete a skills test 
      •    Provide a writing sample 

    This can help employers get a more accurate picture of each candidate's skills and abilities.

    Dominant candidates may overshadow others:

    • Another challenge of group interviews is that dominant candidates may overshadow others. In some cases, a few candidates may dominate the conversation, making it difficult for other candidates to share their thoughts and ideas. This can be especially problematic if the dominant candidates do not have the skills or experience needed for the job.

    • To address this challenge, employers should encourage all candidates to participate in the interview process. For example, they could ask each candidate to:

      •    Answer a specific question 
      •    Give them a chance to share their thoughts on a particular topic

    This can help ensure that all candidates have the opportunity to showcase their skills and abilities.

    The potential for groupthink:

    • Finally, group interviews can also be susceptible to groupthink. Groupthink occurs when a group of people makes a decision based on consensus rather than individual thought. In a group interview setting, this can lead to candidates agreeing with one another without fully considering their own thoughts and ideas.

    • To avoid groupthink, employers can encourage candidates to think critically and independently. For example, they could ask candidates to:

      •    Provide specific examples of how they have solved problems in the past 
      •    Share their unique perspective on a particular topic. 
    This can help ensure that each candidate is evaluated based on their individual skills and abilities rather than the group's consensus.

    How should candidates prepare for a group interview?

    During group interviews, it is important for candidates to stand out amongst their fellow candidates. As this is very different to the typical interview format, the individual interview, candidates will have to assert themselves enough for the interview panel to take an interest in them. Maintaining eye contact is a great start for candidates. 

    Review the company website:

    The company website is an excellent place to start researching the company. Candidates should look for information about the company's:

    • History 
    • Mission 
    • Values
    • Products or services 
    • Management team 

    Candidates should pay attention to the company culture and any social responsibility initiatives. This information will help them understand the company’s priorities and values and stand out amongst the other candidates in the group interview.

    Research common interview questions:

    To prepare for a group interview, it is important to research common interview questions that may be asked. This will help candidates to anticipate the types of interview questions that may be asked and to prepare answers in advance.

    • When preparing answers, it is important for candidates to keep in mind the core values of the company and to align their answers with these values. For example, if the company values community and responsibility, candidates may want to highlight their experience volunteering in their local community and their commitment to being a responsible individual.

    • It is also important for candidates to prepare examples that demonstrate their skills and experience. For example, if a candidate is asked about their experience working in a team, they may want to provide an example of a project they worked on with a team and how they contributed to the team's success.

    Bring extra materials to help stand out in the group interview:

    Bringing necessary materials to a group interview can help candidates stand out and present themselves in the best possible light. Candidates should consider bringing:

    • Extra copies of their resume and references
    • A notepad and pen

    Candidates should keep them organized and easily accessible during the group interview to make a great impression.

    In addition to a resume, references, notepad, and pen, there may be other materials that are relevant to the position or company. For example, if a candidates is applying for a design position, they may want to bring:

    • A portfolio of their work

    Or if a candidate is applying for a sales position, they may want to bring:

    • A list of their sales achievements

    How should employers prepare for a group interview?

    When preparing for a group interview, there are several key steps that employers should take to ensure that the process runs smoothly and effectively:

    Develop a structured interview process

    To ensure that the group interview process is fair and consistent, it is important to develop a structured interview process. This process should include:

    • A clear set of criteria for evaluating candidates 
    • A standardised set of questions that are asked of each candidate 

    By following a structured process, employers can ensure that each candidate is evaluated fairly and that the best candidate is ultimately selected for the position.

    Select appropriate candidates

    When selecting candidates for a group interview, it is important to consider a variety of factors, including their:

    • Qualifications 
    • Experience
    • Personality

    Employers should also consider how well each candidate is likely to work with others, as group interviews are designed to evaluate how well candidates can collaborate and communicate with one another. By selecting appropriate candidates, employers can ensure that the group interview process is as effective as possible.

    Prepare effective group interview questions

    To ensure that the group interview process is effective, it is important to prepare a set of interview questions that are designed to evaluate each candidate's skills, experience, and fit for the position.

    • These questions should be designed to elicit specific information from each candidate, and should be structured in a way that allows for easy evaluation and comparison. 

    To ensure that the interview questions are effective, employers should consider working with a professional recruiter or a human resources consultant to develop a set of questions that are tailored to their specific needs.

    How to conduct a group interview

    When conducting a group interview, it is important to set the tone, explain the process, facilitate group discussion, and evaluate candidates. Here are some tips on how to conduct a successful group interview:

    Step 1: Set the tone

    The interviewer should start by introducing themselves and explaining the purpose of the group interview. They should also set the tone by establishing a comfortable and relaxed environment. This can be achieved by greeting each candidate individually, offering refreshments, and thanking them for taking the time to attend.

    Step 2: Explain the process

    Before starting the interview, the interviewer should explain the process to the candidates. This includes outlining the format of the interview, the types of questions that will be asked, and the expected duration of the interview. It is also important to explain how the candidates will be evaluated and what the next steps in the hiring process will be.

    Step 3: Facilitate a group discussion

    During the interview, the interviewer should encourage group discussion by asking open-ended questions that allow candidates to share their experiences and opinions. The interviewer should also make sure that each candidate has an opportunity to speak and participate in the discussion. This can be achieved by using a round-robin style of questioning or by asking follow-up questions to each candidate.

    Step 4: Evaluate the candidates

    When evaluating candidates, the interviewer should focus on their communication skills, teamwork abilities, and problem-solving capabilities. The interviewer should also take note of each candidate's body language, tone of voice, and level of engagement during the interview. It is important to use a standardized evaluation form to ensure that each candidate is evaluated consistently.


    In conclusion, a group interview is a type of interview where multiple candidates are interviewed at the same time by one or more interviewers. The purpose of a group interview is to evaluate how candidates interact with each other, their communication skills, and their ability to be a team player. 

    To succeed in a group interview, candidates should prepare in advance, research the company and the job position, and practice their communication and team skills. During the interview, candidates should listen actively to other candidates' responses, speak clearly and concisely, and show their enthusiasm and interest in the company and the job.

    Employers can benefit from group interviews by saving time and resources, observing candidates' behaviour in a group setting, and comparing candidates' skills and qualifications. However, employers should also be aware of the potential drawbacks of group interviews, such as the risk of groupthink, bias, and unfairness.

    Overall, group interviews can be an effective tool for both employers and candidates to evaluate each other's fit and potential. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this blog, candidates can increase their chances of standing out and impressing the interviewers in a group interview.

    This post was written by: Alicia Edwards, Digital Marketing Assistant