What are the advantages of a group interview? (Plus tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Job interviews are an essential part of the recruitment process and can take many different formats. One way to structure an interview is to hold a group interview with multiple candidates at the same time. There are various benefits to doing this and finding out more about these advantages can help you to decide if it's a suitable choice for a vacancy that you're trying to fill. In this article, we discuss what a group interview is, explain what the advantages of a group interview are and look at some tips for succeeding in group interviews.

What is a group interview?

A group interview is a type of interview that involves multiple candidates at the same time. Group interviews might include several tasks and activities as part of the assessment, such as a group presentation. Often, these tasks might require candidates to work together. Depending on the recruitment process, a group interview may also include shorter individual interviews. Alternatively, candidates who are successful at the group stage might progress to a second one-to-one interview.

Some jobs and industries are more likely to hold group interviews than others. This type of interview is particularly common for jobs that involve a large amount of personal interaction with other team members and the public. The reason why this type of interview is useful in these circumstances is that it allows recruiters to assess the applicants' teamwork and interpersonal skills. They're also useful when a business is hiring multiple people to do the same role. The industries where this type of interview is more common include:

  • hospitality

  • retail

  • food service

  • tourism

Related: 7 Example Group Interview Questions (Plus Sample Answers)

What are the advantages of a group interview?

Below are the main advantages of a group interview:

Reduce recruitment time and cost

Holding one group interview can reduce the time and cost of recruitment because you invite all the candidates at the same time or hold a smaller number of interviews. In contrast, individual interviews take up more time and are more expensive than group interviews. Additionally, seeing all the candidates at the same time also allows hiring managers to decide who they're going to hire and communicate this more quickly. This means that there's a lower risk of a successful candidate accepting an alternative job offer after the interview.

More opportunities to observe soft skills

Seeing the candidates as a group also allows hiring managers to assess their soft skills, such as their interpersonal skills and collaborative abilities. These skills are vital in many jobs but might be especially key to observe when hiring for customer-facing roles. Sometimes, group interviews include tasks that involve working as a team to make it easier to assess these traits.

Related: Working in a group: pros and cons (plus tips for teamwork)

Less bias

Group interviews can also help reduce bias because they usually involve multiple interviewers. The exact number of interviewers is likely to vary depending on the number of candidates in the group. You can also achieve this in other types of job interviews by having a panel of interviewers, but group situations typically involve the largest number of interviewers. This helps to mitigate individual biases and allows an organisation to make a fair and balanced decision on who to hire.

Easier to directly compare candidates

Seeing candidates complete the same tasks at the same time makes it easier to directly compare them. In individual interviews, recruiters rely on referring back to notes to make comparisons. In contrast, a group interview allows for immediate comparisons. This might help interviewers to reach conclusions more quickly about who they want to hire.

Can motivate candidates

A group interview can be motivational for candidates because they're in direct competition with others. Candidates are likely to be more aware of this than they'd be in an individual interview. This can motivate the strongest candidates to make themselves as visible as possible, while candidates who are naturally less confident or vocal might find this more challenging.

Reasons why other types of interviews can be beneficial

While group interviews are useful in some circumstances, other ways of interviewing candidates can sometimes be more beneficial. For some job applicants, a one-to-one interview is less intimidating than a group interview and it's easier for them to make a positive impression in this type of situation. One-to-one or panel interviews can also be more useful than group interviews when the interviewers would like to get to know the personality of each candidate.

Tips for succeeding in group interviews

Below are some tips to consider that can help you to succeed when attending a group interview:

Prepare in advance

While it might be challenging to predict the exact work or tasks you may encounter in the group interview, you can still improve your chances of success by preparing in advance. To do this, it's sensible to review the job advert and your application. You can also prepare an introduction and some brief descriptions of your work experience and key achievements. As with other types of interviews, you can also try to think of questions that the interviewers are likely to ask and consider how you can respond.

Related: Job interview tips: how to make a great impression

Have a professional demeanour

It's vital that you maintain a professional demeanour throughout the interview, even if it's a surprise to find out that the interview is a group scenario. By remaining composed and professional, you can make a positive impression and show that you can adapt to various situations. When other candidates are answering questions, try to maintain neutral and professional body language while also showing that you're listening to what they're saying. Additionally, try to avoid being disrespectful towards someone else's comments, even if you disagree, as this can negatively impact your chances of success.

Add new insights

Often, it can be challenging to distinguish yourself from the other candidates in a group situation if everyone's sharing the same ideas, so aim to always add new insights or perspectives. Whatever the question is, think about your own unique experience and what new ideas you can add to the discussion. By doing this, you can make yourself more memorable while also demonstrating the value you can bring to the hiring organisation.

Listen actively

In the interview, it's vital to allow other candidates to speak and to actively listen to their responses. Active listening is a key part of effective communication skills and involves listening to what someone's saying rather than waiting for your chance to speak. You can demonstrate active listening by looking at the person who's talking and using body language, such as nodding. You can also verbally acknowledge ideas or suggestions from others whom you agree with.

Show leadership

When you attend a group interview, you have an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership skills. One way to do this is by volunteering to answer a question first or by acting as a spokesperson if you're reporting back on group work or discussions. Doing this shows that you have confidence and are willing to guide others.

Related: 15 leadership competencies and how to develop them

Be friendly to other candidates

From the moment you arrive and meet the other candidates, it's key that you're as friendly as possible. The reason for holding a group interview might be to see how you interact with others, so it's essential to demonstrate that you're open-minded and have a positive attitude. It's also vital to be inclusive of others, even if you disagree with them. With this in mind, aim to be positive towards everyone involved in the interview, regardless of their position.

Be yourself

If you're particularly shy, you may want to make an additional effort to speak up in a group interview but, for most people, it's usually more effective to be yourself. The sense of competition that candidates can feel in this situation may cause some people to exaggerate their verbal and nonverbal cues in a bid to get attention. This can lead to other people finding it more challenging to participate. If you consistently try to be the centre of attention at the expense of others, it might make a negative impression, so try to avoid this if possible.

Send a follow-up email to thank the hiring manager

One way to be memorable for hiring managers is to send a follow-up email after your interview to thank the interviewers for their time. Not every candidate does this, so this can be an effective way of helping you to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Sending an email like this also allows you to reiterate your interest in the role.

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