What is a Group Interview and What Are The Precautions For It?

Group interview, also known as leaderless group discussion, is a classic form of interview. Generally, non-technical positions need to participate. As international students who have just graduated and are ready to return to their home country, they all say that group interview is the most headache for them. 

In this blog post, we will be covering what exactly is a group interview, the procedures and the precautions you should take in a job interview. 

What is a Group Interview?

Group Interview candidates smiling

A group interview is a unique scenario in the context of job interviews. In the context of campus recruitment, it is most commonly used in non-technical positions in the internet industry, such as operations and product roles, as well as in the fast-moving consumer goods sector. There are a couple of reasons for its popularity. Firstly, it significantly saves time and human resource costs. Secondly, an individual's performance in a group interview is generally consistent with their performance in a one-on-one interview.

Group interviews effectively reflect an individual's performance within a team (usually consisting of 6-10 people). They assess a person's ability to cooperate, communicate, and showcase their individual skills and personality in a group setting. Group interviews typically take the form of discussions, with HR personnel observing from the sidelines without directly participating in the discussions. They use this method to form an overall impression of each group member.

In a group interview, speaking more or arguing based on logic is not necessarily better. HR is interested in assessing your adaptability, leadership skills, organizational abilities, and more through the group interview process.

The General Procedure of a Group Interview

The general procedure of a group interview involves the following steps:

  1. Introduction 

All candidates are seated, and the interviewers introduce the process, clarify the schedule, and provide the group interview topic, along with scratch paper and pens.

  1. Self-Introduction

Each candidate introduces themselves to the interviewers and fellow group members. This is an opportunity to make a memorable impression, emphasizing your skills and qualities that match the job.

  1. Reading and Individual Thinking

Candidates are given 3-5 minutes to read and contemplate the interview topic. They are expected to independently outline their proposed solutions and conclusions on an A4 sheet of paper.

  1. Individual Presentation 

Each candidate takes turns presenting their proposed solutions and viewpoints briefly.

  1. Group Diícussion

After individual presentations, candidates engage in group discussions to collectively develop an overall solution and conclusion. Actively participating in the discussion, expressing your opinions, and facilitating a productive conversation are essential to showcase your communication skills, organizational abilities, and persuasive capabilities.

  1. Group Summary

The group nominates a representative to summarize the discussion and present the group's collective conclusions.

  1. Interviewer's Question

The interviewers may ask questions to specific candidates, which could relate to their proposed solutions, their performance during the group interview, or their impressions of their fellow candidates.

The group interview process assesses not only individual problem-solving skills but also collaboration, communication, and leadership abilities in a group setting.

How is Group Interview Held

Grop interviewees having a discussion

There are generally three forms of examination in the group: no leader group discussion, debate and presentation.

  1. Non-leader group discussion (which accounts for almost 80% of the group) is the most common form.

  2. Debate: Process: Self-introduction -> Group discussion after getting the topic -> Arguments -> Free debate -> Conclusion -> Interviewer questions and mutual evaluation.

  3. Presentation: The material of the presentation speech is prepared by you in advance, and the communication environment is also relatively simple. Generally, you only need to speak alone, and the interviewer and the interviewer listen together and ask questions.

Precautions for Group Interview

Arrive in Advance

Arrive in advance to familiarise yourself with your teammates: When you encounter a group, try to arrive 15-20 minutes earlier. In this way, you can familiarise yourself with your teammates in the interview and understand everyone's situation in the chat. This is a little utilitarian, but the final result is often to leave a good friend for you.

Picking The Right Seat

When the number of people in the group reaches more than 6, the choice of seats can determine whether you can speak. The first choice is to sit in the middle, and the second choice is to sit close to the interviewer. The former may allow you to guide everyone's point of view, and the latter can at least let the interviewer hear your point of view. Of course, if the position is fixed in advance and you happen to be on the side, it depends on your strength!

Pay Attention to Self-Introduction: 

Why is group self-introduction important? Because the interviewer is a person, especially for a long interview time, in addition to working overtime for the interview, he also has to deal with various things at work. It is inevitable that he will be distracted in the later discussion, but in the self-introduction, the interviewer's attention is still relatively focused, so the self-introduction should be short and powerful, and can be prepared in advance. One-minute introduction, 30-second introduction, and 10-second introduction, you should know where your strengths are and show them to everyone.

Speak Logically During the Discussion: 

You can't stop talking, you must show yourself, and you can't talk one by one. You can talk less, but you should speak logically and let others understand. Usually, you should increase your knowledge reserve and exercise your logical analysis ability.

Always Smile and Maintain Self-Confidence

Keep the tone of WeChat and confidence, don't argue when you encounter disagreements within the group, and keep the group's discussion harmonious. Maintain friendly communication with team members at all times, and listen to and understand their ideas, which must also be faced in future workplace discussions.

Final Thoughts

Thumbs up for interviews from managers

So, group interviews can be a bit tricky, but fear not! We've covered the general procedure and key precautions to help you shine in this format. Arriving early, picking the right seat, delivering a punchy self-introduction, and speaking logically during discussions are your secret weapons. And don't forget to keep that smile on your face and maintain a positive, friendly vibe with your fellow candidates. With these tips, you'll leave a memorable mark in the group interview world.