A group interview is no fun, but it could always be worse. Much worse.
Imagine yourself one of a panel of candidates, all vying for the same job in a high-stakes, high-pressure “competitive interview.”One of the many reasons a company will move into this complex environment is to save time, but mostly to see how well interaction among potential employees occurs in a very competitive arena. The difficult part is to find the balance between fighting for your place without forgetting that others might be your future co-workers or even bosses.
Bottom line you need to imagine that you are already employed by the company and discard the idea from your mind that your job is to impress your potential employer at that moment using any means necessary.
Let me give you an example of a similar experience I had with a large international company a few years ago, and how you can change your behavior and performance just because you know you are in an interview.
I was brought in by the company as an executive senior level career management consultant through a basic two person interview allowing my resume and personality shine. They were so sure that I was the right fit that it was all was needed by the general manager to hire me. This hire had a condition attached. I had to go through a certification process that the company policy included, I was no exception. They were not worried I was not worried.
I worked at the company for about 2 months before the training and following testing was able to take place. It seemed easy enough; a week of seminars and meetings and an afternoon of presentations I was meant to give to other consultants. These colleagues were meant to grade my performance. So far so good, I had a lot of fun through the training. They assigned every participant with one area of the job search process to present.
I went home and prepared for next day. I knew it all, it was hard to keep all the knowledge inside. When it came time to make my introduction I became serious and ready for business. I had potential future consultants as an audience and acting as a group of clients. At the other side three judges observing and taking notes. That’s when it happened, I changed, I was the individual who forgets who he is and transforms himself into the person he believes everyone wants him to be. That is one of the biggest mistakes you can ever make. And guess what? I made it!
When I think back is hard to believe that a pro as myself could act as such a novice, but it happens. That’s why I am trying to strongly remind you not to fall for it.
In any case after my not so appealing performance, I was called in by my boss and in a very disappointed voice she asked me “What happened? I did not recognize you” I simply responded ” I know exactly what happened in there”. I went on and explained to her that I forgot why I was there, which was to do my job and not to impress them with knowledge.
Since I had been working there for a while and all my reviews were coming in with top marks I saved my job and stayed for many years after that. But I was very lucky because of the circumstances and they way everything developed. In most cases you won’t get a chance to work at a company first and then get tested. It’s usually the other way around.
Relax. Very few U.S. companies interview multiple candidates simultaneously. But, you may still have to play the numbers game.
A greater number of companies are using group interviews to screen candidates as teamwork becomes more critical in the workplace. It often involves several people from various areas in a company, a recruiter, potential supervisor and future coworkers for example.
Copyright Fernando Ratkoczy
New Edge Productions