Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means that if you click on any of our links, we may earn a commission.
The most significant benefit of conducting a group interview is that it streamlines the hiring process and tests multiple candidates at once. Employers, however, find that these interviews require a lot of planning and some find them daunting to conduct. Don’t worry: our guide describes everything you need.
Why it’s worth conducting a group interview
Conducting a group discussion has many benefits. To begin with, if you have a tight deadline, group interviews help fill vacancies quickly and efficiently. This method is advantageous when employers have to hire several people for the same position. They are an affordable and fast option that saves your business resources and time.
Another important benefit of group interviews is that they test multiple candidates at once. Imagine you have many similar applicants; they are difficult to distinguish from each other on paper, making your decision more difficult. Group interviews allow you to see who shines most clearly among them, compare applicants side by side and get answers to your questions from several applicants at the same time, showing how well they are doing under pressure. Group interviews also emphasize team building and communication skills, so you can more easily find the candidates with the strongest skills in these areas.
Group interviews also prevent prejudices from creeping in, as they have to be conducted by several interviewers at once. More people observing the same candidate and their behavior allows you to make a more informed and accurate decision about whether or not you will hire them in general, which increases employee retention and thus increases your business.
There is less need to compare notes: what you see in front of you is, in most cases, crucial. This interview method has some drawbacks, but we will talk about them a little later in the guide.
For now, you need to know that group interviews are good for reducing the time spent on interviews and the cost of hiring, and are a good opportunity to see some teamwork in action.
The investment is necessary to conduct a group interview
Some employers worry about conducting group interviews as they need more planning before reaping the benefits. So while these styles of interviews save you time, it also takes longer to plan and requires more thought. In a way, you spend more time initially planning them than a regular interview, but save time later.
Ideally, a group interview is planned over several days, if not more, typically a week or two before the interview. Some employers do not spend as much time preparing them as they should, leading to a chaotic interview where everyone talks about each other – it is not good for either the candidates or the employer.
You should also spend time meeting the other interviewers before the group interview. If you do, you can decide how the discussion will proceed on the day. In this meeting, you will decide the questions to be asked, who is asking them, and how you will ultimately assess each candidate’s answers to them. Getting this structure working is crucial, so be prepared to time-out for it.
Time commitments aside, it helps to have some dedicated HR software to back you up for a group interview. We spent time choosing the best software for our top picks and thought Zoho Recruit was the best for recruiters. Zoho Recruit can help you set up your group interviews, starting at $ 22.50 per person. Recruiting per. Month. You can try it for free for 15 days.
In summary, you will need to schedule several days to schedule a group interview, and it is wise to invest in recruitment software to help you do so. Time and money are required, but properly conducted group interviews will save you for both of these items in the future.
5 steps to conduct a group interview
Here are five steps you can take to begin the process of preparation for mediation. Let’s get started.
Step 1 – Inform the interview candidates
Some employers do not notify candidates of a group interview before the day of the interview – or even at the moment they enter. It’s a really bad trick to play on potential employees and they will not appreciate whether you do it on purpose or by default. You need to make sure that each candidate knows when the group interview takes place well in advance, typically a week or so.
The reason for this is because you need to give the candidates time to prepare appropriately for another kind of interview. Group interviews can be stressful and more demanding than regular ones, so candidates need as much preparation time as possible. The longer you give them, the better answers you will get and the better the result of the interview.
Group interviews are longer than typical interviews with several questions to answer and usually a variety of activities. It’s a good idea to tell them who is going to conduct the interview and the relevant positions – it gives them time to research and form their answers.
Zoho Recruit can be especially useful here as it allows you to send text messages to notify candidates from the app alone. While emails are good, mobile text messaging is better as candidates can receive message wherever they are via their phones. Zoho Phonebridge even allows recruiters to make phone calls and send other reminders directly from the software.
If you prefer emails, Zoho Recruit can also send these in bulk and also notify candidates that way. Whatever you choose, there is no doubt that HR software can help make the group interview process smoother.
Step 2 – Meet with the other interviewers
We mentioned the importance of meeting the other interviewers before a group interview. This step is important as without meeting the interview team you have no idea about the format and how to proceed on the day.
Imagine a team of interviewers sitting in front of a group of candidates, not knowing what to say or in what order to ask questions. Imagine the awkward silence and confusion. Yes, it does not make a good impression and the candidates you are trying to hire may even drop out as a result. Why would a graduate work for a company that was so disorganized? It only means problems in the future for them.
It is worth remembering that group interviews are not always the best for every personality type.
For example, introverts tend to perform better in one-on-one interviews, while group interviews tend to favor more outgoing people. There is nothing wrong with having confidence, but you need to make sure that the tallest people in the room do not always dominate the discussion.
You should not determine the interview result on trust alone – you can make a mistake and choose the wrong employment. Committing this wrong is a costly mistake, so a balanced interview is the order of the day.
For a positive result, sit down with the other interviewers and decide the order of the questions, how you want to ask them, and who out of everyone should lead the interview. Having a chief interviewer will help guide the process and ensure that the other interviewers do not even talk about each other.
Remember that all interviewers will have different priorities and areas they will focus on in the group interview. Each interviewer’s positions will mean that they will ask several different questions to candidates. Feel free to discuss what these questions will be and how it will affect the structure of the group interview.
Zoho Recruit easily saves your questions for you, and everyone on the platform can comment and see these questions when they need them. This is another valuable feature of the software.
Step 3 – Introduce each interviewer to candidates
Fast forward to the big day. You are sitting in the room with a nervous group of candidates and are ready to start the interview. But before you dive into the questions and other group activities, make sure that each interviewer presents himself or herself correctly to the candidates.
The interviewer’s introduction must include their name and position, and why and how they are involved in the interview.
First and foremost, you want to make candidates feel comfortable, but it also helps them think about what each interviewer might be looking to see. They can accommodate their response in response to this with more details and you get the best possible group interview experience. Each company will have different roles and positions, but the principle remains the same.
You need to shake hands with each candidate in the room and make sure to smile to ease the tension. Remember you were a candidate interviewing in front of people once, so don’t forget that and let the power go to your head.
It is your job to create a good impression of the company during the interview, and the candidates will perform better in turn.
Step 4 – Ask questions in phrases
During the presumption, you discussed what questions you would ask and in what order to your candidates.
Now the interview is here, so it is important that you ask these questions again and calmly. There have been cases where interviewers talked about each other or asked the same questions in group interviews. Do not let this happen as it will affect the whole structure and the final results.
The person in charge of the interview or the chosen main interviewer must act as a moderator to ensure that questions are not asked at the same time and that a friendly and efficient series of questions arises.
At the end of the interview, you should ask one last round of questions, including any questions you missed the first time. The closing part is also a great time to get further comments or information from candidates, but again, make sure things don’t fall into them and talk over each other.
Step 5 – Evaluate the candidates
The group interview is over and now comes the big debrief. This phase is crucial as you want to make sure that you are hiring the best candidates for the positions in question.
Some companies will start talking about the candidates as soon as they leave the room, and although there is nothing wrong with this, a better approach is to take a quick break, let thoughts be processed and return later in the day. However, do not let this evaluation be too long as you need to keep the candidate responses and what happened is fresh in your mind.
You can remedy the problem of remembering who said what by taking notes, but recording a group interviewer does not hurt either, as it provides better accuracy. HR software like Zoho Recruit can help you record interviews and then discuss the results later, so it’s worth considering.
Using HR software will improve the overall effectiveness of your evaluation and will ensure that the best candidate is selected. Be sure to get consent if you decide to record the interview – candidates should be aware that you are recording them and potentially sharing videos on another platform.
Zoho Recruit can also help you process your assessments and candidate responses in one place. You can rate candidates out of five, leave notes and feedback from the interview and use the platform to help you make your final decision.
How to hold a group interview. Remember that you will feel the benefits of group interviews in the future more than anything else, so put in the planning time first and reap the rewards later.
Remember that group discussions will not always be the best choice for employment. These interviews are not suitable for every personality type, require skilled interviewers to conduct and need some planning to get it right. That aside, do not reject them and make sure to use recruitment software to make the process easier.
If you need to reduce the time and cost of hiring, want to overcome interviewed prejudices and would like to see the applicant’s skills in action, then group interviews are a solid choice.
If you are thinking of the next steps you need to take, we recommend checking out these other guides: