How to Conduct a Group Interview
Performing a Group Interview

How to Conduct a Group Interview

The recruitment process can be time and resource consuming. So you’ve probably wondered at some point whether performing group interviews is a way of speeding up that process. Well, to ensure you’re fully aware of the task at hand, we’re here to give you a quick rundown on group interviews, what they’re for, and how best to conduct a group interview.

Wurkplace often consult businesses on their recruitment process, it’s something that many SMEs struggle with. Group interviews can be a fantastic way of ensuring you get the right people while cutting down on the time spent getting them. But what are they for?


What are group interviews?

A group interview is a job interview in which several candidates are gathered in the same room, and they are interviewed simultaneously by one or more interviewers. Group interviews are great for filling positions which depend on teamwork and positions which require communication, interpersonal and management skills. This is because you can test those skills straight away.


The Group interview vs The Panel Interview

Group interviews are often mistaken with panel interviews. However, group and panel interviews are two different things. The difference is in the number of job candidates being interviewed at one time.

  • A group interview has multiple candidates and one or more interviewers.
  • A panel interview has multiple interviewers, but only one candidate.


When should you use a group interview?

Group interviews are an especially effective hiring solution in situations when employers:

  • Need to meet a tight deadline for hiring
  • Need to hire multiple candidates
  • Have large numbers of applicants
  • Are hiring for roles where teamwork is crucial
  • Need to shortlist candidates with no previous experience


Why conduct a group interview?

Group interviews have many advantages over typical one-on-one interviews:

  • Save time: Group interviews allow employers to simultaneously evaluate multiple candidates.
  • Save money: Interviewing more candidates at a shorter time reduces the cost of the interviewing process.
  • Easier comparison: Interviewers can observe candidates simultaneously, making it easier to directly compare and evaluate them.
  • Observing skills: Interviewers can observe candidates’ skills in action, instead of relying on what they say.
  • Reduce inaccuracy: Multiple observers are proven to provide a more accurate evaluation of candidates.
  • Spotting potential leaders: Observing the way candidates behave is a great way to spot distinctive leadership skills.


Types of group interviews

There are a number of ways you can conduct your interviews, but to simplify things, here are our two categories:

  • Group discussion: In a group discussion interview type, the focus is placed upon group discussion. Interviewers present candidates with a certain topic related to the industry or even a specific job-related task and encourage candidates to start a discussion or a debate.
  • Group activity: The second type of group interview is an interview focused on a group activity or exercise. Interviewers present candidates with a certain industry-related task or work-simulation exercise and ask them to work together in order to find a solution.

Group interview duration

Group interviews require more time than regular, one-on-one interviews. The most common type of group interview is lasts from 90 minutes to 2 hours. In some cases, group interviews can last even longer than 2 hours, depending on the number of candidates and group exercises.


How to conduct a group interview

Preparation is a key to delivering a successful group interview. To ensure impeccable group interview preparation, follow these 6 simple steps:

  • Communicate: Schedule the group interview and inform candidates about the interview date, time, place, format and duration.
  • Select questions and activities: Carefully choose the best job interview questions to ask candidates and plan the group interview activities.
  • Create scorecards: Provide a rating sheet or interview feedback sheet to the interviewers ahead of time to ensure that the interviewers are comparing each applicant against the same set of criteria.
  • Divide duties: The best practice is to have one interviewer conduct and guide the interview, ask questions and give instructions, and others observe candidates and take notes.
  • Ensure space: Choose the right revenue or the location.
  • Prepare materials: Prepare all the materials interviewers and candidates will need in a group interview.


Give instructions and observe

Here is how you can incorporate the best group interview conducting practices in 6 easy steps:

  • Introduction: Start by introducing interviewers (and the company), and the positions for which you are hiring.
  • Allow candidates to introduce themselves: Invite candidates to take turns and present themselves in front of the whole group.
  • Provide instructions: Manage the interview by providing clear instructions for group discussion and activities.
  • Observe: Consider their behaviour, not just the answers they provide. Keep track of the way candidates interact with others and the role they take on in a group.
  • Take notes: Rely on scorecards to systematically collect all the relevant information.
  • End: Finish the interview with a brief wrap up. Explain the follow-up process and the expected timeline.


Evaluate candidates

After you’ve conducted the group interview, it’s time to evaluate your notes and choose the best candidates! Here is how to do it in 3 easy steps:

  • Sort notes: All the interviewers should go through their notes on their own right after the group interview.
  • Debrief: This is the time to hear all the impressions and compare candidates’ evaluation in order to choose the top candidates.
  • Provide closure: Inform your top candidates about the next steps and timeline of your hiring process. You should also send a personalized post-interview rejection email template to unsuccessful candidates.

For more info on how you can up your recruitment game, get in touch – We can handle all elements of the recruitment process, and ensure you attract the best people. Contact us using our quick online form, or give us a call on: 0330 400 5490.


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