5 Ways to Fail a Group Interview

Does the idea of participating in a group interview terrify you? How are you supposed to stand out among a group of five, ten, perhaps even 20 other interview candidates? Director of Career Services at Globe University-Appleton Jenny Schroth recently held mock group interviews so her students could practice how not to fail a group interview. Keep reading to find out a few ways to make yourself stand out, along with some ways to eliminate yourself from the competition in this style of interviewing.

We polled Gina Havlovick, director of admissions, Jenny Schroth, director of career services, Michelle Karbon, campus librarian, and Sara Zelewske, high school coordinator, on the do’s and don’ts of group interviewing.

5 Ways to Fail a Group Interview

  • Show up late. In a sea of people, you can just slide in at the last minute!
  • Speak negatively about your past employers.
  • Text while you wait your turn to answer a question. How else are you supposed to pass the time while you wait to give your answer?
  • Underdress. There are so many other candidates. They won’t remember what you wear anyway.
  • Scowl at the person sitting next to you. Their answer was awful!

Group interviews can be awkward, but if you do some of the things mentioned above, you will surely be checked off their list as someone not to call back. Schroth uses mock group interviews in her classes as a way to prepare her students for this popular method of interviews out in the real world. She notes that employers have such a variety of candidates to choose from, and that this is a great way to weed candidates out quickly.

Director of Admissions Gina Havlovick also commented, “This hiring method is a unique way for employers to easily compare candidates in the same room. If you are lacking in one area, it will be glaringly obvious when you are sitting directly next to other candidates.”

globe university-appleton

Career Capstone students participating in a recent mock group interview.

So what are you supposed to do? How is it possible to stand out from the other candidates, when the competition is right next to you? Read some good advice below on how to fearlessly command the interviewer’s attention in this setting.

How to Stand Out in a Group Interview

  • Be mindful of your posture. If you’re slouching and the candidate next to you isn’t, it’s obvious. The interviewers are taking notes of your body language.
  • Be enthusiastic and truthful about your answers. If you’re saying, “I’m a passionate person who loves people,” but don’t even have a smile on your face, you aren’t very convincing.
  • Pay attention to the other candidates’ answers. The interviewers will see this as a sign of respect and it’s a great way to show good listening skills.
  • When the interview is over, don’t forget to approach the interviewers, shake their hands, and say thank you. Even though this is a group setting, the fact that you approached them individually will speak volumes about your professionalism and personality.

“Surveys have shown that employers admit they already have an idea if a candidate has a chance at getting the job or a second interview within the first minute of meeting them,” High School Coordinator Sara Zelewske said. “So keep in mind the importance of that immediate first impression, which starts the second they see you—your handshake and introduction, how you are dressed and carry yourself, etc. Be confident and wow them from the start.”

Hopefully, you feel a bit more prepared on how not to fail a group interview.