While almost every job requires working within a team, very few interviews are conducted in a group setting. Many hiring managers consider doing group interviews too complicated—an added step that is hard to schedule and will delay hiring. But what if the best candidate is most obvious when observed with others? Watching how someone interacts within a group when trying to solve a problem or answer a question can provide insights that conventional interviews simply can’t. Here we outline some pros and cons so that you can evaluate whether a group interview might work for you.
Pros to a Group Interview
1. Reduce time to hire
Interviewers can evaluate multiple candidates in the same time slot, saving the time that would otherwise be spent on scheduling and conducting many one-on-one interviews. If you have a large number of candidates that make it past a phone interview, a group interview may be the next best step.
2. Reduce cost per hire
Group interviews are much more affordable than one-on-one interviews. While you will likely need more than one interviewer for the group, time is still saved over the hiring process and the overall cost per hire goes down.
3. Offer a unique opportunity for observing candidates
Group interviews offer a unique chance for employers to see how candidates function in a group. By observing how a candidate works with others, employers can easily find candidates with impressive teamwork and even leadership skills. For tech sector jobs, these are often qualities that can be overlooked.
4. Reduce interviewing biases
One of the benefits of using a specialist recruitment firm is that they will help you see past any biases you may have. Group interviews help with this because they are usually conducted by more than one interviewer. Multiple observers of the same candidate have been proven to provide a more accurate evaluation of their abilities.
5. A great way to see candidates’ skills in action
Group interviews allow interviewers to directly observe candidates’ soft skills in action, instead of relying on what candidates say about themselves. They offer a unique opportunity for interviewers to test candidates’ teamwork, communication and stress management abilities.
Cons of a Group Interview
Group interviews have certain disadvantages as well. Here are the key disadvantages of a group interview to consider.
1. Require multiple skilled interviewers
Group interviews require multiple interviewers so that all candidates may be observed carefully. And interviewers need to know what they are looking for, what questions to ask and what metrics to evaluate the candidate by. It may not be possible to find several skilled group interviewers in every organisation.
2. May be unnecessary
Depending on the position, working in a close-knit team may or may not be of high importance. For many of the developer positions we fill, candidates need to be able to communicate and solve problems with teammates, but day-to-day group work is not part of their job. This is an important thing to consider before scheduling group interviews.
3. Only useful for certain positions
Talent is so scarce for some positions that skills, experience and qualifications take precedence over the candidate’s ability to excel in a group setting.
4. Offer no anonymity
Candidates see each other face to face in a group interview, and in some cases, this may be an issue, particularly if some candidates do not want their employer to know they are interviewing.
5. Are impersonal
In a one-on-one interview, the interviewer is usually able to ask some personal questions and get a feel for the candidate’s personal preferences and personality. This is much harder to do in a group interview.
Are group interviews the right choice for your hiring needs? If you need to fill a position extremely quickly, have a large pool of similar candidates, and are looking for leadership skills, then a group interview is probably a good idea. However, if you have a very specialist role, a diverse set of candidates or a limited number of skilled interviewers, a group interview is likely not the best course of action.
For help filling your next tech sector role, or some expert advise, speak to one of our skilled consultants today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Oliver Parks
Oliver Parks Consulting offers search-based recruitment solutions to the technology sector, specialising in the ERP, CRM, CMS, ECM, BI and Open Source Technology spaces. The firm’s multilingual consultants operate in narrowly-defined niche market segments, enabling them to gain extensive knowledge of the people and companies operating in each technology. Oliver Parks has a proven track-record with more than 100,000 candidates worldwide and more than 300 clients globally.