Compared to one-to-one interviews, group interviews have many advantages. You’ll be able to test multiple hires at once, see how the interviewees work in a group, and can reduce your cost per hire, saving resources elsewhere. Our guide will show you how to conduct a group interview step-by-step and discuss the challenges you may face.
We chose VidCruiter as one of the best products for the job due to its ease of use, range of features, and ability to host reliable live interviews. We’ll provide some alternatives that may be better suited to different scenarios a bit later on.
Step-By-Step Guide To Conduct a Group Interview
Step 1: Inform Your Interviewees
The first essential step is to inform candidates they’ll be meeting for the group interview.
There’s no doubt these types of interviews can be stressful. In most cases, more so than one-to-one interviews, so letting everyone in the group know allows them to prepare.
After all, each candidate will be trying to stand out among the rest, so they’ll need time to come up with questions and plenty of time to practice.
A good way of informing candidates of all the required details is to send an interview request email, like so:
Best practices here include directly stating the company name on the email as soon as possible—candidates will most likely have applied for many positions.
Be sure to let them know where and how you’ll conduct the interview—there’s a strong chance this will be remotely, but not always—and who will lead it if you know already.
A list of dates and times towards the end is crucial.
Step 2: Meet With the Other Interviewers
You’ll find that multiple interviewers conduct most group interviews, so you all can discuss the candidates collectively at the end. Naturally, then, you need to sit down and speak with the other interviewers ahead of time. In this meeting, before the interview, you should discuss how you will carry it out.
Think about what order you will ask questions and how you’ll ask them. There should be someone who takes charge of managing the interview.
That said, each interviewer will likely have their own set of priorities or areas they want to focus on during the interview. The lead interviewer should ensure everyone gets a chance to ask their questions to candidates.
These applicants want to work for your company, so you need to maintain professionalism. Talking over each other, for example, is not a good look.
This part of the step is the right time to become familiar with the platform you’ll be using. In our case, we’re using VidCruiter.
To get started, navigate over to the VidCruiter homepage and sign up for a free demo by clicking where it says Request Demo in the top right-hand corner.
Doing so will take you to a form. Fill in your company details and the message box, like so:
You can even use VidCruiter to meet with the other interviewers and at the same time get an idea of how the platform works.
Step 3: Introduce Yourselves to Candidates
By now, you should have heard from VidCruiter and have access to the platform.
You’ll be able to invite applicants to a live panel interview with several interviewers quickly and easily using the platform. Up to 50 people can participate—nine people if you plan to record it.
You can change the mode of interview by clicking Interview Mode under the menu, as shown below:
From there, navigate to the live panel mode, and invite your applicants via email.
When the interview begins, you’ll need to introduce yourself to the candidates.
Everyone in the room should start by saying their name, title, and what part they will play in the interview process.
Doing this will help your interviewees plan. They can show each interviewer what they want to know about them.
It also helps to make your company look well organized—something each candidate will want to get a good sense of as well.
Step 4: Ask Questions in Turns
During the main course of the interview, be sure to ask questions in turns.
It isn’t great for candidates to have questions flying in from every corner at once. Ideally, you will have debated your strategy earlier on. You should have an order and timing about how the interview will proceed.
At the end of the interview, you can use a portion of time to talk about additional areas that you might not have discussed or anything else the candidates want to bring up.
Your lead interviewer should be the one to start this ending section.
VidCruiter can help here, too, and allows you to view your questions and company rating guide with a few clicks.
Click where it says Rating Step on the left-hand side to see this, like so:
You’ll be able to format the end of the interview in such a way that ensures each interviewer doesn’t talk over the others.
Step 5: Discuss With Other Interviewers
At the end of the interview, you should talk about each candidate and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
You can either do this straight after the interview or later on.
We suggest doing it straight after as your thoughts are still firmly in your mind about each candidate. Leaving it too long may make it hard to recall key points of the interview.
With that said, VidCruiter does allow you to record the call and view it later. To do so, hit the Record button.
A timer will appear at the bottom showing you the duration of the call, as shown below:
Above all else, be sure to take your time to talk the interview through and hear out every assessor’s account.
From there, form an impression and make your decision as required.
3 Top Benefits of Conducting a Group Interview
We’ve listed below the top three benefits for conducting a group interview.
In a nutshell: you’ll save money, time, and will promote accuracy.
Reduced Hiring Time
This first benefit is simple. Conducting group interviews saves you time for use elsewhere. By evaluating many applicants at once in a single time slot, you simplify things.
Instead of individually going through the candidates one by one, you’ll have more time available for wherever you need it. There are no multiple interviews to conduct and all the complex scheduling involved to carry them out—just one interview that gets the job done.
Reduced Cost Per Hire
Like the above, but on a financial level. Group interviews are more affordable than one-to-one interviews. By interviewing many applicants at once, there’s less expense involved.
You’ll save money on HR fees and other revenue costs associated with setting up the interviews. Depending on the size of your company and its resources, this can be key.
Reduced Interview Bias
More than one interviewer frequently conducts group interviews, which lends itself to an increased sense of accuracy. In other words: reduced bias.
Multiple interviewers observing the same group of candidates allow for a more accurate evaluation of their skills and mindset. Not to mention that you’ll get to see the candidates interact as a team. Which candidates worked well together? The conclusion here will be far easier to make with several perspectives.
3 Biggest Challenges of Conducting a Group Interview & How To Troubleshoot Them
We’ve spoken about the benefits of conducting a group interview, but what about the challenges?
These types of interviews won’t be for all applicants, and you’ll need extra skills to conduct them, not to mention they can be more demanding.
It’s Not for Every Personality Type
It’s fair to say that everyone is wired differently. Humans have a range of different personality types. Some of us have more domineering traits, while others prefer to excel more quietly.
The problem with group interviews is that the loudest people in the room tend to dominate them. Being loud and assertive doesn’t always mean you’re the best person for the position in question.
Sales roles tend to be a good match for more dominant candidates, but they’re unlikely to be the best fit for something like accountancy.
That said, VidCruiter can help to alleviate this issue. The platform allows you to conduct panel interviews where each applicant gets a chance to speak.
You’ll be able to switch between candidates whenever you want by clicking, as shown below:
In other words: the platform makes turn-taking in group interviews easier to carry out and maintain.
If someone is talking for too long or dominating the discussion, you’ll have the power to focus on other candidates. Everyone gets their chance to speak.
You Need Strong Interviewers
We’ve said about the benefits of group interviews, but the truth is: conducting the interview will demand strong interviewers to receive those benefits.
Your top team of interviewers will need to have the skills to lead a group of competing candidates— this will also mean you need to have a structure to the interview and a plan running throughout it.
Everyone needs to have an equal opportunity to speak. A proper structure will help facilitate this rather than a chaotic and unplanned session.
A panel interview is a suitable format for this, and you can easily set these up with VidCruiter. You can do so by inviting applicants to the interview with a simple email that will automatically be sent out at the right time. Up to 50 people can take part in these interviews.
You can change the mode of the interview by clicking Interview Mode under the menu, like so:
From there, choose where it says Panel Interview, and you’re good to go. It’s straightforward and will help to expedite your group interviews.
Of course, you’ll still need strong interviewers with the required skills.
Group Interviews Run Longer
Group interviews will save you time in the long run, but they also typically run longer than your average one-to-one interview. Some of these interviews can last for up to three hours, and some have even exceeded that.
This fact is especially true if there are many candidates and lots of tasks for them to complete.
Extended interviews mean there’s more to focus on, and picking out top talent from a long session requires not just great interviewers but strong memories.
Even the very best will find it hard to think about the defining moments in an interview that runs over a prolonged duration.
The good news is that technology can help here. Recording interviews is easier than ever, and VidCruiter features the ability to record and store them away. You can play them back whenever you want.
You’ll be able to focus on critical sections of the interview and can refresh your memory before making your decision.
To do so, click the Menu button and find where it says Record Interview:
A timer will appear at the bottom, showing you the length of the call.
With this functionality, you’ll be able to make informed hiring choices, leading to a more qualified hire for your position.
Other Options for Conducting a Group Interview
Our guide has shown you how to conduct a group interview using the capabilities of VidCruiter.
Yet there are many great tools out there that can help you do so, and each tends to be stronger in different areas.
For example, Interviewstream features a dedicated interview builder that helps you create highly structured interviews. If interview structure is your primary concern, then this might be a better fit than VidCruiter. No pricing information is given, but a 30-day trial is available.
Spark Hire is for those that need top-notch interview scheduling.
The scheduling functionality integrates with Google, iCloud, Outlook.com, Exchange, and Office365. If you need robust interview scheduling, this is the one for you. Spark Hire starts at $119 a month, and a 14-day free trial is available.
But, your ability to interview is hampered if you don’t have good recruitment software to help you find and attract talent. Here are our top five recommendations for various use cases and needs:
- ClearCompany – Best for talent management
- JazzHR – Best for high-quality candidate sourcing
- BambooHR – Best applicant tracking system
- Recruiterbox – Best for collaborative hiring
- Recooty – Best free recruiting software