One of the most difficult forms of interviewing doesn’t require new-fangled technology. Rather, it’s a new group form — multiple applicants for the same position, possibly from multiple generations. What new rules apply?
You give away some of your privacy in these situations. What if your boss showed up to interview or a person who knows someone at your company?
Consider, too, whether this format creates a double standard in unbalancing employers and applicants.
Scott Rawitscher, co-owner of Collaborative Business Solutions LLC, headquartered in Portland, Ore., provides HR and recruiting services, among others.
“Employers are being lazy,” he comments. “There are people without jobs, so it’s kind of like a buyer’s market.” He doesn’t favor creating competition among candidates but indicates that if the employer tries to get information and runs the interview well, it can be productive.
Sales recruiter Jamar Cobb-Dennard of Hire Sales in Indianapolis explains that this format allows employers to “gauge interpersonal skills, set standard expectations and easily disqualify poor applicants.”
More corporate perspective comes from Callista Gould, founder of Culture and Manners Institute LLC in West Des Moines, Iowa, who speaks to businesspeople and students about table manners and professional dress. She became aware of group interviews in financial services and attributes the trend to “a lot of big egos. If you hire a toxic employee, it will cost you money.”
Gould is aware of dinners with ten applicants interviewing together, an opportunity for employers to learn how the individual applicants “interact with others” and screen them for the likelihood of embarrassing the employer in front of investors. She maintains that clients who are senior citizens are likely to hone in on details in clothes and accessories.
Cobb-Dennard favors being personable, approaching the other applicants as colleagues but also making sure you stand out visually. “Wear a memorable accessory, such as glasses, lapel flowers, hair accessory or pocket square, along with your conservative best,” he advises. “It will help you stand out from the crowd of black, blue and gray suits afterward.” He also recommends balancing the bit of flair with even greater preparation than for a traditional interview.
The format does have its advantages for applicants, Gould adds, in providing breathing room to think when another person is speaking.
Rawitscher spots opportunity among the applicants. Meet them and trade the names of hiring managers where you didn’t succeed — “a great way to find your next job quickly,” he says. If you’ve greeted and shaken hands with everyone, as Gould directs, you’ve given yourself a head start.
Rawitscher further recommends capitalizing on the opportunity to study the competition. Can you learn anything from their presentation of themselves? Assess their experience and how you outshine them. Capitalize on what you learn.
Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2013 Passage Media.