Have you ever been through an interview process where you nailed the first one and have been told that your second interview will be with the other candidates doing group exercises? Whether you are worried about the competition or personality tests, use these tips to ace your group interview.
More employers than ever now use this method of a group interview. With as many as one third of companies using them to choose the best suitable applicants.
However, doing these group exercises may feel like your worst nightmare. The thought of undergoing tests, simulated exercises and interviews can reduce even the most confident candidate to a nervous wreck. So why are they so scary and what can you do about it?
Fear of the Unknown
All group exercises are different. Some might involve a number of tests such as. Aptitude or psychological exercises, role play, verbal or written communication simulations, presentations, activities to test prioritisation and organisation skills. If you have never experienced these kinds of tests before it can make you feel anxious and less confident.
What can you do?
Make sure you ask for information. Most emloyers will advise you what is going to be involved. They may even send you practice papers, if not, then search for example exercises (www.practiceaptitudetests.com). You will not be able to practice for the exact test you will be given. However becoming more familiar with the types of exercises you might be asked to do can remove the fear. You can also develop an approach which works for you. If you discover that a particular type of test is a weak area for you, then you can put in more practice or get some coaching on how to improve.
Fear of Competition
When doing group exercises, you are competing directly with the other candidates. In some situations you may find yourself making huge assumptions about their capability compared to yours. This can erode your confidence.
What can you do?
Mentally prepare yourself by using positive thinking to increase confidence through reinforcing and reminding yourself of your key skills and achievements. Make sure to be yourself. No matter how tempting it can be to compete with the alpha male/female in the group try not to be drawn into behaviour that doesn’t enhance your performance. Be authentic and act with integrity.
Fear of Being Exposed
The assessors are with you most of the time and you may feel there is nowhere to hide, that you have to perform at all times, even breaks and mealtimes. This can be quite stressful, and depending on your personality type, you may become withdrawn and quiet, or talk too much, maybe saying things you later regret.
What can you do?
Creat a strategy! what kind of impression do you want to give? If you know you tend to withdraw when under stress then make a point of talking in breaks and lunchtime with an assessor or another candidate on a one to one basis where you feel comfortable. Similarly if you know you can over compensate and say too much then have a few safe topics ( sport, news, social life) which you can stick too and involve other people in.
All in all, it is a good opportunity for you to work out if the company/job is right for you, should you be offered the role. The experience can give you real insight into the culture and the organisational values of the company. Plus if you’re not successful you can learn from the experience so the next group interview may not be so daunting.