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Using Group Interviews to Improve Your Hiring Process

Using Group Interviews to Improve Your Hiring ProcessWhat are team or group interviews?

There is some confusion about the terms “team interviews” and “group interviews.” One, because the two terms are often used interchangeably, and two, because they can mean either of two things: when interviewers get together in a group and simultaneously meet with a single candidate, or when one interviewer interviews several candidates simultaneously in a group setting.

In this discussion, we will use the terms interchangeably but with a common definition – a single interviewer in a group setting with multiple candidates. Let’s explore for what purposes this technique can work very well, and some the advantages and disadvantages of group interviews.

When does it make sense to use this interview technique?

  • If your need is for frontline people – those employees who create the first, last (and perhaps most lasting), impression on clients, customers, guests, and patients. These positions may include sales responsibilities such as upgraded memberships, additional services, and menu add-ons.
  • When the open positions are high-stress or require people work in a team.
  • If your business has multiple open positions with similar job requirements, e.g. department store holiday hiring or a management trainee program.
  • When your company has a constant need to keep people in the hiring funnel.

What are some of the advantages of group interviews?

  • It’s more efficient. You or your employees can evaluate several candidates in a fraction of the time it would take to interview them individually. Time savings = greater productivity for your business.
  • You get to see how candidates work with others and get a more multidimensional sense of the interviewee. You can structure a team problem-solving exercise that might simulate a situation they’d encounter on the job, which will give you insights into their interpersonal skills. You can also get a much better sense of how a prospective employee thinks and acts in a group interview setting than you would in a standard one-to-one, across-the-desk interview with its usual unimaginative back and forth, question and answer format.
  • Applicants quickly get a feel for your company culture and position requirements.

What are some of the disadvantages?

  • Group interviews can make some people uncomfortable or nervous and not bring out their best.
  • Not all teamwork skills can be assessed so quickly.
  • While they might sound simple, group interviews need to be well thought out and structured to get the most from them. You don’t simply ask questions as you might in a one-on-one interview; you need to stimulate group interactions and be a facilitator.
  • Interviewing a group requires some skill in understanding and controlling group dynamics. For example, an extrovert might be inclined to dominate a discussion or an exercise, which could have the effect of shutting down the introverts, when everyone should have an equal chance at participation.

Group interviews can save you a tremendous amount of time and energy during the hiring process, particularly if you are looking to hire a large number of employees or are regularly recruiting to keep your pipeline full. But it takes some skill to make them successful, so you’ll need to do your homework!

AHA! Impressions has extensive experience in helping companies like yours make hiring more effective and efficient. We offer a comprehensive Team Interview Program toolkit so you can get started right away, or for more information, complete the form below to download our FREE GUIDE, “3 Steps to Using Group Interviews to Take the Headache Out of Hiring.”

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