Group Interview

I had heard of group interviewing but had never experienced it personally . . . until the other night.

Without getting into specifics, the final fifteen candidates (who had all passed the phone screens) were all invited to a hotel in central New Jersey. When I arrived, I felt like I was at a conference as I signed in at a table in the hallway, wrote out my "Hello My Name Is..." sticker, and shook hands with the greeters. As all the other finalists arrived, there was a friendly hubbub as we socialized with one another.

At the appointed time, the facilitators invited us to take a seat and the program began. First, there was information about the Company and about the opening. Then each of us was invited to give a two minute talk about some accomplishment from our careers. After that, we had the opportunity to ask questions. Finally, the facilitators asked for feedback, thanked us for coming, told us what the next steps would be, and closed the session.

As a veteran job hunter, I was impressed with this group interview technique. For the Company, it was an incredibly efficient way to see the finalists and get to know them. The phone screens had already sorted out the applicants that did not have the right credentials or whose salary expectations were not in line with the Company's budgeted range.

By way of the two minute talks, the Company was able to

- test the preparedness of the applicants

- assess their ability to handle stress, to communicate, and to sell their capabilities

- gauge the "fit" between the candidates and the Company's culture.

For the finalists, it was a curiously enjoyable experience. It appeared that none of the others had ever been to a group interview either. Just about everyone who gave feedback at the end said that they found it to be a positive experience.

Personally, when I compare it to other traditional interviews I have had over the years, I think I favor the group interview. There was something galvanizing about seeing your competition!

Plus, I knew several of them from my "past travels." I actually found myself rooting for two of them!


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