Some companies are changing their interviewing process because of time restraints, and they’re holding group interviews instead of individual one-on-one sessions. It can be quite nerve-wracking to be in any kind of job interview but facing a panel of three, four, or even five people can up the ante on the anxiety.

Because it’s an effort to get a panel of employees together at one time, these people will most likely be meeting with several job candidates during that same day. But you can nail the interview and get a leg up on the competition by doing a few things that can go a long way to making your group interview as productive – and pain free – as possible.

Prepare: Whether you’re an established professional, or right out of school, this can’t be emphasized enough. Ask the recruiter the names of those you’ll be meeting, and what their roles are within the company. Check out their LinkedIn pages and get an idea of each person’s work history, and other information that will help you feel prepared before you go in. You’ll also want to be familiar with the company’s goals and vision. That way when you’re asked why you want to work there, you can give a confident, detailed answer instead of a general one. Doing a little bit of homework before your interview can go a long way.

Know the Job Position: Be very clear about the job you’re being interviewed for, and how it will impact each person on the panel. Be humble – yet confident – about your skills and what you can bring to the job. Also, be honest about areas in which you’d like to grow and improve.

Make Eye Contact: Meet and greet each person individually, shake each person’s hand and make direct eye contact. Remember to smile, use their names, and make a mental note of each one.

Keep a Notepad: Ask if it’s okay to take some notes during the interview. When they agree, jot down the attendees’ names so you can refer to them directly. You can also write down some questions that come up for you during the conversations. When they ask you if you have any questions for them, you can show that you were listening, refer to your notes, and bring up something that’s relevant.

Take Your Time: When rapid-fire questions are thrown at you, there is no reason to rush through your answers. Take a breath, think about your answer then speak clearly and confidently. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone to clarify a question. It’ll show them that you’re listening. If you get a new question thrown at you before you’re done answering, you can simply say that you’ll be happy to answer their question, but you just want to share this one last thought. Sometimes you’ll want to add information to a specific question that will bring it back to other team members so you can address their needs as well.

Thank Everyone: Your last impression is as important as your first impression. At the end of the interview, acknowledge and thank everyone and shake hands if possible. Once you get home, send every person you met a thank you note or an email. You might also want to call or email the person who initially set up your interview and thank them for their interest.

The key is to be confident when you’ve got to perform well in front of so many people. The more that you can prepare ahead and get an idea of what you can expect during the interview, the better off you’ll be. It’ll show in your voice, your focus, and also your body language. You can do this!

Need help preparing for an interview? Contact us. We’re here to help. MassHire Cape & Islands Career Center 508-771-JOBS (5627)

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