How to Conduct a Group Interview


Group interviews can become confusing and disorganized without preparation. Typically, the group interview process is longer than an individual interview, often running 90 minutes to two hours. This type of interview is designed to hasten the application process required for a large number of employees needed for similar or identical positions. Conducting interactive activities in a group interview helps recruiters learn more about the applicants and how they might fit into a company's culture and management style.

Things You'll Need

  • Interview plan or structure
  • Questions, tasks and discussion items
  • Name tags (optional)
  • Paper and pens as needed
  • Room large enough to accommodate the group interview process
  • Welcome all interviewees and introduce the interviewers. Explain to the interviewees the roles of each member of the interview panel. Allot about 10 minutes.

  • Describe to the interviewees the process that is about to unfold -- allot 10 to 15 minutes. The interview process should be decided upon prior to the interview and should be well known to those conducting the interview. Many companies have a particular interview outline they work with. If your company does not have one, use one that begins with an opportunity for interviewees to introduce themselves, followed by an explanation of the company culture, a job description and job expectations, a whole group activity, a small group activity, a personal written response and a closing.

  • Ask all participants to introduce themselves. Asking them to state their names and answer a specific question such as "where did you grow up?" or "do you have a hobby?" provides the interviewees with a specific topic and makes the introduction period an interactive discussion. Allot about 15 minutes.

  • Conduct a group activity or discussion. Ask a specific question or series of questions, or guide the interviewees in a task or the creation of a document that is typical of their job description. Use this opportunity to watch how each participant works in a group environment. Allot about 20 minutes.

  • Conduct a small group activity. Break the larger group into two or more smaller groups and give them a question to answer or a task to perform. Then have them present their results to the rest of the room. Allot about 25 minutes.

  • Ask each interviewee to write a summary of the interview experience or to answer a question pertinent to the position he is applying for. Provide each one with paper and pen, and give them five to 10 minutes to complete the process. This portion of the interview provides a window into the organizational and observational skills of the applicants, as well as their grasp of English.

  • Collect the summaries and ask if the interviewees have any remaining questions.

  • Close the interview by thanking everyone for participating and explaining what happens next. Never leave the interviewees without someone to contact with questions. Tell them when they will hear from you again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Providing name tags helps everyone feel engaged.
  • Include role-playing activities when interviewing for positions where customer service is important.

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