Help!! I’m Scheduled For A Group Interview — How Do I Prepare?

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The other day, I received this question from a reader.

Has anyone ever heard of a group interview? I am getting conflicting information on this. I was told that it involves the interviewee and several interviewers at one time

………. and also I was told that it involves several interviewees and some interviewers and the interviewees stand up in the front of the interviewers and make their presentation. Does this description sound confusing? I had almost forgotten that there are still companies out there that conduct group interviews. I went for one ten years ago and still have the scars to prove it. It’s one of the most stressful and unconstructive things you’ll ever be asked to do as a job applicant.

I like to think of group interviews as places where you and the other applicants are put in a room to fight it out. If you are asked to come in for a group interview, your decision on how to handle it will depend on how badly you want the job.

The moral high ground?  Make a statement and leave. Reverse the situation onto your prospective employer like this:

If a client asked you to come to a group meeting with your competitors so you could jostle for the right to sell to them, what would you say? And more importantly what would you do? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to share the processes and systems that make you unique with your competitors! You’d want to do it one-to-one.

As a matter of fact, you probably wouldn’t even bother with a customer that wanted to do business like this!  And, that’s how I feel. I appreciate the offer of the interview and I’m sure everyone in this room can do the work required?  That’s why we’re all here.

I don’t believe that this is the way YOU would choose to do business and I have skills and experiences that could be a real asset to your firm, but I would like to do this one-on-one rather than try to use these skills to out-maneuver the other people in the room. You have my number, call me.  That’s the approach I recommend.

Now here’s something to think about. Michael Gerber, author of E-Myth, was an evangelist for getting would-be employees into a room over a few nights so they can learn about the company and interact with the other staff.

He promoted this to thousands of businesses across the country. Your group interview could turn out to be this sort of thing. His theory was that until and unless a prospective employee could appreciate what the company stood for and how it operated, how could they be sure the company was right for them (makes sense, doesn’t it?)?

So if this is the case you should go to the interview and try not to sell yourself against the other applicants but ask questions about the company (you may be the only person in the room doing this). Find out how the company got started. What was the owner’s vision or dream? (If they are Gerber fans, they will love this stuff).

Ask how they see your role helping them in the pursuit of this vision. Find out their biggest frustrations and maybe show them how you have faced those same frustrations in your previous jobs and solved them.

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Do your interview skills pass the test?  Do you need some assistance in improving your interview persona?  If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services.  If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group.  Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.


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