Hiring Advice: How to Survive a Group Interview
It’s thrilling and scary at the same time: You’ve been invited for an in-person interview, which means you’re one step closer to that great payroll position. To make the experience even more interesting, the hiring manager mentions that you’ll be evaluated alongside other candidates who’ve made the first cut.
“Oh, great,” you say. “I’ve made it this far, and now I have to throw out all I’ve learned about preparing for a one-on-one interview.”
Well, not exactly. The hiring advice for a group interview is much the same as for a one-on-one — with some twists along the way. Make a great first impression by being impeccably groomed and greeting each interviewer with a smile and firm handshake. During the interview, speak clearly and confidently, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Here are some other interview preparation tips that will help you stand out on that big day:
- Get smart about the employer
As part of your job preparation, you may have already researched the organization when you customized your cover letter, but now is the time to do it again. You want to be the best-informed candidate in that room.
- Prepare for the questions
Rehearse responses to typical interview questions, but get ready for some fastballs, too:
Behavioral — e.g., Tell us about a time when you had to deal with an angry employee whose paycheck was calculated incorrectly.
Situational — e.g., What would you do if you knew a colleague was engaged in unethical activity?
Curveball — e.g., Which superhero do you identify with the most, and why?
- Anticipate possible scenarios
To test interpersonal and problem-solving skills, interviewers may ask candidates to role-play payroll situations or to work together to give a short presentation. This is where your collaboration skills come in.
- Be a team player
Aim for a good balance between individuality and collegiality. When answering questions, address the interviewer — but also engage other candidates. Wait until other interviewees have finished speaking before adding your opinion. Validate their comments when making your own. If you disagree, do so politely and professionally before explaining your point of view.
The best hiring advice for a group interview is to be ready for anything and have a positive attitude. You’ll be nervous when waiting in the reception room with a crowd of other candidates, but you’ve already made it this far — and you’ll do great because of your interview preparation. Good luck!
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps has more than 340 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at accountemps.com.