Group job interviews are an increasingly popular tool used by companies, especially medium and large companies, to select and evaluate potential candidates. Also called “collective interviews”, or assessment centers, they are mainly used to evaluate the skills of one or more candidates through the performance of group activities and tests.
Companies opt for group interviews for a number of reasons:
- are effective and time-saving, because they allow you to select multiple people at the same time;
- immediately highlight some soft skills such as the predisposition to work in a team, resilience, knowing how to listen, the candidate’s verbal and non-verbal communication methods, loyal and respectful attitude towards others;
- show how candidates work under stressful conditions.
In addition, they have a number of benefits for recruiters and HR. Including:
- the ability to fill many open positions within a limited period of time (especially when dealing with high volume recruitment, in periods of seasonal hiring, when you have a large number of similar positions, etc. .);
- allow recruiters to select multiple equally qualified candidates (for example, recent graduates) and to compare their skills and qualifications “live”, assisting in the application of their skills through tests, teamwork and specific tasks;
- achieving positive results when hiring for roles where teamwork, communication and stress management are important, if not indispensable, requirements for the position (for example, in customer service or sales);
- act as a first selective filter to narrow the selection of the most qualified candidates and invite successful candidates to the next stage of the interviews;
- as the Business Reporter reports, group interviews are the first useful tool “because they are a great way to inform candidates about the position they are going to fill, the people they will work with and, more generally, to let them know the company culture “.
Group interviews are commonly used to select the following specialists:
- all kinds of sales professionals;
- call center representatives/customer service agents;
- media professionals and public relations managers;
- hotel industry employees (receptionists, hotel managers and administrators, booking agents);
- business development consultants;
- flight attendants.
Strategies and useful tips
The whole process of organizing and executing the group interview must be planned in advance. Decide where you want to hold it, estimate a maximum number of candidates and carefully choose the recruiters who will participate. Furthermore, it is important that a “script” is prepared to follow. Such as? Starting from a structured list of questions, activities, case studies and exercises previously discussed and approved.
Remember to indicate in advance the type of interview the candidates will face. Group interviews can be challenging and last many hours, so give them time to organize and prepare as best they can.
Don’t abuse it! Group interviews should be applied in the right context and when they can bring useful results. And above all, don’t underestimate them. Managing a group screening is not a trivial task: it requires profound analytical skills and advanced competence in observing multiple candidates at the same time.
Start the test by having all candidates present. This will allow them to get to know each other, compare their experiences and become familiar with others. If you already know that the interview will take a long time, arrange a small refreshment: water, tea, coffee and some snacks are not only a thoughtful gesture on your part but also a step towards creating a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
If you are interviewing many candidates at once, it is worthwhile to divide them into smaller groups, so that everyone has a chance to express themselves and demonstrate the skills they will then be assessed on.
Finally, a fundamental tip for all recruiters: take notes and/or fill out evaluation forms on candidates throughout the interview. Once it is concluded, in fact, you will have to re-examine everyone’s interventions, responses and skills