Group Interviews are the Wave of the Future

Instead of spending my spring break relaxing on a beach with a drink in my hand, I spent it going on multiple job interviews. Graduation is only a month away, and seniors, like myself, are fearing that they will be unemployed after graduation. I thought I should stay ahead of the game and apply for jobs early near my hometown, and since they wanted to have a sit-down interview with me, I decided to schedule it during spring break.

One of the interviews that I went on was for a sales associate position for the Philadelphia 76ers. I was extremely excited just to be asked to have a sit-down conversation with the higher ups of the organization, but after arriving for my set interview time, I noticed that there were several other college students arriving as well. A group of 15 soon formed and it was slowly setting in that we were all here to interview for the position at the same time.

When setting up this interview, it did not mention that it was going to be a group interview. I assumed that I would be sitting down with the person who read my application so they can put my face with a piece of paper, but I was extremely wrong. I did not assume that group interviews were as common as they were, but Dina Wulinsky, associate director for the Career Development Center, says otherwise.

“For positions that involve a high level of customer service or a strong team-based work, a group interview may be a good way to analyze interpersonal and communication skills,” said Wulinksy. “We also tend to see these types of interviews in creative fields that involve groups of individuals working together to solve corporate branding needs or client marketing/design needs.”

I was extremely unprepared for a group interview since in my time of applying for jobs and interviewing, it has not been done in a group setting. Wulinsky gave me and other students some tips before going into a group interview.

“In a group interview, you’ll want to find a balance of being both a team player and leader. Utilizing listening skills is highly important as you’ll want to not only understand the task ahead of you but to tune into the thoughts and opinions of the other members to solve the problem/task at hand,” said Wulinsky. “You will also want to be very prepared for not only your part but also have a good understanding of what other members of the group will be presenting and/or discussion. This way you can contribute your own ideas and thoughts on topics, especially if the interviewers put questions to the group about the project as a whole.”

Wulinsky also wants students to know that the Career Development Center has many resources to use when preparing for interviews, both group, and individual.

“Students can make an appointment to meet with a staff member to review interview tactics and/or conduct a mock interview,” said Wulinsky. “We additionally have an online interactive mock interview system called Big Interview where students can practice interviewing skills.”