With 2022 well underway, many job seekers are looking to apply for new roles. Some companies are now inviting these same job seekers for group interviews. But is this format the best way to conduct interviews for your company? Here are some of the pros and cons for you and your company to consider in using group interviews:
1. Helps to save time and money - Group interviews offer hiring teams the most efficient way to interview multiple candidates in a short amount of time. This can be beneficial in industries such as food services, hospitality, and retail where there’s a need to staff quickly, particularly for seasonal roles. The added benefit to interviewing multiple candidates is also that you can significantly reduce the turnaround time in the hiring process.
2. Provides insight into a candidate’s skill set - Group interviews offer a sneak peek into how candidates interact with strangers in a professional setting. You can observe which candidates have strong soft skills such as adaptability, communication, empathy, teamwork, and a willingness to learn. These insights might be hard to see during a traditional phone or one-on-one interview. The group interview offers a small sample of what to expect when a candidate becomes a fully-fledged employee.
3. Cuts down on miscommunication - Group interviews offer employers the opportunity to clarify and respond to frequently asked questions during the interview process. Not only does this save time by not needing to repeat questions, but candidates also have the chance to listen in on insightful questions they never heard before. The group interview allows for some collaborative effort between you and the candidates.
1. Louder candidates will dominate the interview - One of the glaring weaknesses of the group interview is that extroverted candidates might try to dominate the entire interview. This is less than ideal because not all candidates have an equal amount of time to speak. As a result, you might have an inaccurate assessment of how the more introverted candidates make observations, collaborate, resolve conflicts or even solve problems. You might miss out on candidates that were better fits for your company if you fall into the trap thinking the best candidates are the loudest.
2. No control of interview - Candidates come from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences. It’s no wonder then that there will be situations where candidates disagree amongst one another over a particular approach or perspective they might have. In some instances, these disagreements will go back and forth, taking away precious interview time from other candidates. While you can moderate the interview towards a more productive path to limit the time loss, candidates might feel like they have “unfinished business” and might want to carry the debate into the next question you ask, once again losing interview time due to the back and forth. If the cycle repeats itself way too many times, you may find yourself over time on your interview, defeating the purpose of saving time during the hiring process.
3. Can’t avoid groupthink - Candidates might be swayed to respond in a particular way based on sentiment for other interview candidates. A candidate may have a differing opinion or perspective, but after hearing a majority of the candidates respond a certain way, it becomes difficult for them to not change their original answer. Candidates may also hesitate to provide info (that they would provide during a one-on-one interview) because they’re around a crowd of people they do not know. These factors may result in misrepresenting a candidate’s actual potential and end up resulting in hiring a bad fit.
Group interviews offer many advantages for employers provided the interviews are used under the right circumstances. The group interview offers a quick way to engage multiple candidates while also providing a glimpse into how they might work in teams. A well-executed group interview also frees up more of the hiring team’s time because the team has an opportunity to clarify questions and next steps with multiple candidates instantly. The group interview is not perfect though. People with extroverted personalities tend to dominate these interviews, leaving almost no opportunity for introverts to stand out. Among other aspects where group interviews are lacking is the ease in which candidates can easily become sidetracked over differences in opinion or even refuse to acknowledge a different perspective because they’d rather be a part of the majority.
Now that you weighed the pros and cons of group interviews, do you see yourself using them in the future? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.