A Necessary Evil: Group Interviews

It may just be me, but I feel like group interviews are becoming increasingly common as of late. Maybe it’s also because since September I’ve been on either side of the table depending on the situation. Thankfully it seems that for certain career type jobs and higher positions, group interviews are still not the norm. However, for entry level positions – particularly for jobs that are kind of like starter jobs. I’ve noticed that group interviews seem to be particularly common in jobs involving kids – think camp counsellor or childcare provider.

I’ve had experience running group interviews with my co-workers and we’ve spent a lot of time discussing what we look for, just even in terms of personality. We’re trying to staff camps with these interviews – so keep in mind what you would likely want in a camp counsellor.

Some of the things we’ve noticed is the fact that if someone comes in and is overly quiet, we aren’t likely to give them high marks. We also look for people who have what we call “a camp voice.” If someone who maybe answers questions, but is very soft spoken, we aren’t as likely to hire them.

It can be hard to properly present yourself in a group interview situation. Your best bet is to participate actively and enthusiastically. If you don’t seem like you want to be there, why would we want to hire you?  I’ve seen people fizzle and do nothing in a group interview situation. In fact, when I was in a group interview in the fall, there were two girls who shut down. There were only 5 of us total, so it was even more obvious who wasn’t talking. Now, I’m perfectly comfortable in those situations, so I spoke up – a lot in fact. I also quickly managed to find common ground with the two supervisors facilitating the interview – probably in part because previously I’d been the one to run the group interviews.

How do you feel about group interviews? Do you think they have a time and a place or should we always do individual interviews? Or perhaps a mix of the two kinds – with moments of group interaction and a private interview with each person.

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About Miss Substitute Teacher

Working as a substitute teacher. Kids really do say the darnedest things!
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