Instead of that well practiced pitch you’ve developed and meticulously honed, you have to out-perform the other candidates in the room.
So, how can a job seeker impress during a group interview with your team?
We asked the members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) for their advice.
Candidates looking to join a new company should be genuine. The landscape of professionalism is changing across the country and we want people who aren’t afraid to bring the positive attributes of their personality to the office. Stay loose, and let the real you shine through. If it doesn’t work out, there wasn’t a match and it would have been a bad experience for the candidate regardless.
Give Unique Examples and Accomplishments
In a group interview with several candidates, you likely will only have the opportunity to answer a couple of questions. So make these answers count. Highlight specific accomplishments not just with numbers but with visual stories that are easily remembered. Also, ask questions of the interviewers that show you are interested in them as people and create a positive, real relationship.
Be Polite to Everyone
Focus on being polite and friendly with everyone — not just the hiring team. The hiring team is also looking at your ability to behave under pressure, work with others and to be confident. We look for candidates to treat everyone with respect and friendliness, not candidates who try to take power from other people. It’s easy to tell the difference by how candidates treat each other.
A friend of mine once told me that he applied to a tech company not with a resume, but by using the tech the company sold to apply. I believe this was a website builder, and so he used the platform to build a gorgeous website, which featured his credentials, a video he shot explaining why he was perfect for the position, etc. The other candidates never stood a chance.
Be Confident and Knowledgeable
Being able to appear comfortable in what can be an uncomfortable situation for some is impressive. I want to hire people who are smarter than I am in their fields. Prove to me you are an expert and worth hiring. I want someone that is going to crush their job and make our company grow!
Demonstrate Clarity of Thought
Demonstrate clarity of thought and personality in response to unusual situations/questions. When we conduct job interviews, we ask, “When was the last time you made someone smile?” The answer tells us a lot more about the candidates attributes than a resume, references and traditional questions.
Show You’re Curious
At Y Scouts, we often conduct group interviews with leadership candidates. There’s a direct correlation between a positive impression and the amount of research a candidate conducts going into the interview. They know who the people are in the room before entering through the door. They have questions prepared that fill in the blanks for the data they couldn’t uncover. In short, they’re curious.
Bring Up Side Projects
I love seeing side projects from potential candidates. Even if they’re not qualified, seeing their creativity and marketing skills is something that’s much more important to me. So I tend to look for people who have done amazing projects on their own before.
There’s nothing more important to us than our culture. We are diverse, yet maintain a certain energy and attitude that we hold dear. During a group interview, aptitude, competency, and answering questions properly are often less important than whether or not an individual is fitting in with the group. It is so vital to us that they feel like a member of our team before they become part of it.
Make Us Remember You
Most important thing to do if you want to get the job? Tell us what you can do for us. An interview is a chance for a job applicant to share their talents, skills and ideas, so this is their time to wow us. They need to make sure to do their research and know everything they can about our company and clients. Stand out and make an impression that we can’t forget.
Share What You’re Passionate About
As part of the hiring process, we ask potential candidates to give a “passion presentation” in which they share something they’re passionate about for a few minutes. One of the most impressive passion presentations involved an original song performed on guitar. That’s not to say everyone needs to be a musician — but we do look for people who surprise us with creativity.
Show You’re a Team Player
Trying your hardest to grab attention and impress everyone won’t do the trick in a group interview setting. Engage in conversation, be yourself and show us that you can work and thrive as a team member. Prove to us that you will be a great addition not only due to your ability to produce great results, but also due to your ability to build relationships and work in a team.
Do Your Homework
The most impressed I’ve been in a group interview was with an applicant that printed out our website and brought it along for reference. From the staff page, she immediately knew everyone’s role in the room and our backstory and products. She didn’t need to say she was detail-oriented or would be a good learner. Instead, she demonstrated those things. That was huge.
Show Up Early
Make sure you’re the first one there. Chances are you will get some one-on-one face time with the interviewer. They will remember you are prepared and early and you can also build rapport before everyone else shows up!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Business Collective.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.