The typical job interview is one-on-one, usually a conversation between you and a hiring manager or potential supervisor. But this isn’t the only type of job interview you’ll encounter. If you’re seeking a job in a creative field, it’s highly likely that you’ll experience some version of the group interview.
Group interviews fall into two main categories: interviews with one candidate and a panel of interviewers, and interviews with multiple candidates. Beyond that, there is an infinite variety of possible dynamics.
Potential employers may hold group interviews for a number of reasons. A panel interview can save a company’s time and give human resources, management, and prospective team members a chance to get to know you simultaneously. This can be a clue that efficiency and collaboration are a part of the company culture.
Group interviews with multiple candidates can be effective for jobs that require collaboration, teamwork or steady interaction with diverse team members or clients. These can give you a chance to demonstrate how you function in interpersonal situations.
With a bit of preparation, you can approach any group interview with confidence and ease. In case you find yourself in a group interview scenario, here are a few tips to bear in mind.
Be Attuned to Group Dynamics
Find out who you’ll be interviewing with ahead of time so you can familiarize yourself with their names, positions, and backgrounds. If you’ve prepared for your interview well in advance, you’ll have an easier time “reading the room,” as comedians and other live performers call it.
Whether you’re addressing a panel of interviewers or being interviewed as part of a slate of candidates, social graces will pay off. Make eye contact with all of the interviewers naturally and use their names now and then during the interview to establish rapport. Do what you can to make sure everyone in the room feels included in the conversation – if anyone seems quiet or shy, provide an opportunity for that person to jump in. Pay attention to how people relate to each other.
If you’re addressing a panel of interviewers, be open to all of their ideas and look for the areas their interests intersect. Think of group interviews as your opportunity to demonstrate that you are at ease working in groups, eager to help bring out the best in everyone, and able to turn strangers into collaborators.
Be Confident and Respectful
Speak up when you have something to say, but be careful not to talk over others. Use your active listening skills to make sure you hear and understand everyone else in the room and keep the conversation on track. Make sure you ask some well-thought out questions toward the end of the interview to demonstrate your interest in the role and company. Strike a balance of assertiveness and humility, and show that you thrive in an atmosphere of mutual respect and positive interaction.
Take the Lead
If you’re in a group interview with other candidates and you don’t have a naturally dominant personality, don’t worry. A good leader is not someone who views others as competition in a zero-sum game, but someone who empowers everyone in a group to do their best. If you are asked to work together in a group project, look for opportunities to set up your teammates for success, and let them take their share of the credit.
As with any interview, when it’s over, thank everyone involved and let them know that you appreciate the opportunity and their time — this includes the administrative assistant who helped you. Reach out to each member of the panel with a personalized thank you email or note. If you connected with another candidate you interviewed alongside in a group, consider exchanging information and staying in touch. You never know when you might be able to help each other. It’s a small world out there!
To find the best job opportunities and for guidance on how to handle even the toughest interviews, contact Artisan Creative today.
Artisan Creative is celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you. We hope you enjoyed the 429th issue of our weekly a.blog. You can find more articles here.