How To Stand Out In A Group Job Interview Without Making Everyone Else Look Bad

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Photo: Flickr/neate photos

You got the call. They want you to come in for an interview. You’re totally psyched, until you find out it’s a group interview (cue the sad trombone).Group interviews are harder because you have to not only make a great impression, but you also have to stand out amongst a pack of cutthroat, job-hungry competition. As if a job interview isn’t nerve-wracking enough.

You want to stand out, but you also want to show that you work well within a team. But how can you work well with a group of people who want you to fail? These tips will help you:

1. Don’t one-up the other guys. It might be tempting to constantly try and tear down other interviewees when answering questions, but this is a terrible way to beat them. By focusing on your competition too much, it’s easy to lose focus. Your primary goal, above all, is to show how you will benefit the company—not that you’re better than the other guy. Plus, worrying about your competitors will take away from your confidence. Who cares about him? Let him do him and you do you.

2. Share what makes you unique. The last thing you want to do is lie to fit in with the group. Take advantage of instances that allow you to showcase your personality. For instance, if the interviewer warms up by asking everyone about their hobbies outside of work, don’t just shy away and say something generic like “reading” or “watching movies.” These are easy chances to share one of your unique, cool interests. In fact, every one of your answers should be unique—drawing from personal experience.

3. Listen and build on what others say. Listen carefully, not only to the interviewer but also to the rest of the group. One great way to do this is by effectively adding or building on what others have said. “This demonstrates desired characteristics, such as team orientation and a willingness and openness to explore with others,” says Lynda Zugec, managing director of The Workforce Consultants.

4. Research, research, research. Zugec says that stellar interviewees will practice crafting questions and answers that “show evidence of having conducted some sort of background research on the organisation.” The more you equip yourself with knowledge about the company’s status quo and its goals, the more you can impress the employer by emphasising your dedication to the company. Also, get an idea of the company culture so that you can show how well you would fit in.

5. Come prepared with business ideas. After you have thoroughly researched the company as well as your role, come ready with some ideas that would benefit the company. “Suggest something that has the potential to bring in business or add revenue in some innovative way that we have not yet considered,” Zugec says. “The former shows initiative and the latter creativity and innovation, all of which are high in importance.”

6. Aim to be the best dressed in the room. A first impression counts. Don’t be remembered as the guy who came in sloppy and smelly. Arrive chic, classy, and professional. This means, men should avoid outdated ties (ones that are too thick) or suits (ones with extremely wide lapels) and women shouldn’t show excessive cleavage or wear bright makeup. Simply put: dress to impress.

7. Follow up with a thank-you note. You would be surprised how many people forget or neglect to do this. Sending a note right after the interview will automatically make you the front-runner. And when you do so, avoid common thank you blunders, like using a generic template or misspelling the interviewers’ names.

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