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How To Handle Group Interviews And Phone Interviews How to Handle Group Interviews and Phone Interviews

Group interviews and phone interviews introduce some different dynamics into the interviewing process.  Although the questions are likely to be the same no matter what type of interview you have, you won't have the benefit of a personal one-on-one conversation.  The following tips will help you be prepared to do well in these types of interviews.

The Group Interview

Group interviews can be intimidating to say the least. It's hard enough to try and impress one person, let alone a roomful.  Think of these interviews as an exercise in public speaking - many of the same rules apply.  You'll need to project your voice enough to make sure everyone can hear you, and you'll need to make sure you make eye contact with everyone when you respond to questions. Here are some tips for succeeding in a group interview:

  • Bring enough copies of your resume for everyone
  • Get everyone's name so you can follow up with thank you cards
  • Make eye contact with everyone when speaking
  • Treat everyone with the same amount of courtesy and respect

In the event that you have a "heckler" in the group - someone who seems to be anxious to see you fail, be aware that this may be someone internal to the company who has an interest in the position themselves.  Respond to their questions with a smile and a sincere professional response, do not get defensive or respond to their tone.

In a group interview, you may not understand everyone's role in the company.  Don't make the mistake of trying to second guess who the real decision makers are.  Give everyone with equal respect and attention.

The Phone Interview

If you are interviewing for a position in another city, you may have to have your most important interview over the phone before you are invited to come out in person.  This can actually be to your benefit, because you can use notes in your interview and no one will be the wiser.   Some tips for phone interviews:

  • Remember to have a smile on your face.  It comes through in your voice.
  • Stand up during the call. It will make you sound more confident.
  • Make sure there is no background noise where you take the call.  (Screaming kids or a blaring TV will count against you.)
  • Make sure you won't be interrupted during the call.   Ignore any calls that come in on call-waiting.

No matter what type of interview you have, make sure you give a great first impression and a great last impression.  After the interview has come to a close, sit down and write your thank you letters so you will be fondly remembered when it's time for the hiring decision to be made.

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