Five Tips for Nailing that Multi-Person Interview
From “super-sized” fast food meals to luxury cars large enough to fit an entire family of 10, plus their dog, modern trends have seen us embracing largesse in pretty much any venue. While we’re keen to try to tackle that 20 scoops hot fudge sundae we saw on Food Network, when it comes to interviewing bigger certainly isn’t always better.
Group interviews, in which one candidate meets simultaneously with two or more interviewers, can be a daunting experience for the unprepared. If you’re facing the prospect of being outnumbered in the interview room, we’ve got a few solid pieces of advice that will help you build confidence and put you on a level playing field in order to score that job of your dreams.
1. Keep Those Eyes Moving
Whether it’s a social conversation or a formal business sit down, making eye contact is a sure-fire way to make genuine connections and leave a lasting impression. We’re not talking long and drawn out staring sessions here. A few moments of eye-to-eye meet and greet while the interview is speaking or while you are answering a question can go a long way towards seeming honest, confidence and approachable; just the thing needed to set you apart from a crowded interview pool.
2. Get the Names Straight
One of the most difficult tasks during your interview will be remembering who’s who. Remembering names of people you meet is an attractive and useful quality, but can be difficult when you add in the stress and pressure of the interview environment and multiple participants to boot. Bring a notepad along with you to the interview and, when given names, write them inconspicuously at the top from left to right in the position your interviewers are located in relation to you. Don’t worry about your notes being seen as your company will appreciate your commitment to detail and professionalism which can help score much-needed bonus points in your candidate ranking.
3. Engage Everyone at the Table
It’s a given that we’re bound to make stronger connections with some people over others. While this is what helps set apart lasting friendships from mere acquaintances in the social world, at the interview table candidates should strive to give everyone their fair share of the conversation. Try to engage each person’s questions equally and distribute your time and attention across all interviewers. If you want to score big extra stars and come off looking like a pro, try to bring in and cross-reference points or questions made by multiple interviewers, making references back or mentioning how your answer to Mr. X’s question is similar to that of Mrs. Y. Critical thinking skills for the win!
4. Individual Research
Just because you’ll participating in a group interview doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for conducting research on the individual participants. Having background knowledge on education, work, experience or basic social profiles of your interviewers can help set you apart from the interviewee crowd. Typically, taking a quick glance at their page on the company website will be more than sufficient and probably expected by the interviewers themselves.
5. Follow up with Everyone as Individuals
Last but not least, when it comes to nailing that multi-person interview the thank you letters and follow-ups are often a candidate’s best shot of putting the icing on your career superstar cake. Be sure to send individual follow-ups to each person you met with. You should make these emails unique as interviewees will often share their responses between each other. Try to pick out individual questions, comments or interactions you had with the specific person to show that you have attention to detail and that you were engaged during the interview process.
Multi-person interviews don’t have to be a daunting experience. With a little practice and planning, meeting with multiple company managers or representatives can be an efficient and productive interview technique. Use our tactics and suggestions above and remember to show up prepared for the best chance at scoring that callback or offer letter for your next big career milestone.