Ask HR: How Should I Prepare for Group Interviews?

By Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP January 7, 2022
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Ask HR: How Should I Prepare for Group Interviews?

​Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP

SHRM President and Chief Executive Officer Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is answering HR questions as part of a series for USA Today.

Do you have an HR or work-related question you'd like him to answer? Submit it here.

 

While job hunting, I recently had to do my first-ever group interview. It was very uncomfortable, and I didn't do well. Do you have any tips for participating in group interviews? —Bob

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: Interviewing for a new position can be a nerve-racking experience for even the most seasoned professional, and group interviews add an extra level of complexity. However, if you are properly prepared, the complexity doesn't have to lead to overwhelming anxiety. I commend you for seeking out some tips to use next time you find yourself in a similar situation.

As with any type of interview, it is helpful to prepare with ample research on the organization. Compile some relevant examples of your experience, skills and education. Be ready to highlight how you overcame adversity in other positions. And practice for group interviews with other people who can provide honest feedback. Preparation allows you to exude confidence in your responses.

Demonstrate your networking skills and friendliness. Be sure to introduce yourself to the members of the group before the interview starts, if possible. This helps to build rapport with the interviewers and ease any initial anxiety you may feel. Often, companies use group interviews when teamwork and communication skills are cornerstones of the job. Showing your willingness to dive in and make connections can give the interviewer insight into how you will perform in the position if you are selected.

Involve the group in your responses by making connections with other participants' answers or, when it makes sense, agreeing with their responses. This can help you avoid just repeating another participant's point and will showcase your active listening skills. If you are well-prepared beforehand and remain engaged throughout, your group interviews will improve dramatically. Knowing your audience and yourself is the foundation for a successful interview.


In recruiting, we are increasingly seeing more candidates inquire about child care benefits. Is arranging some sort of child care onsite or child care support benefit a smart move? —Reena

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.: Yes! It's a smart move to increase child care benefits for your employees. When the COVID-19 pandemic canceled in-person school and most child care arrangements, more than one-third of the U.S. workforce struggled to work from home, care for their children and assist them with schoolwork. Offering child care benefits is one way to communicate your support to your employees and help them balance all their priorities during and even after the pandemic. Employer-provided child care benefits also help recruit and retain employees—not a small feat when post-pandemic surveys show that the Great Resignation may lead to employee turnover rates of 30 percent.  

There are several ways to offer child care benefits; it doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. Work with a reputable agency to provide onsite child care, offer options for backup day care, subsidize child care benefits, or simply increase flexibility to allow employees to work from home when they need to care for a sick child. Some employers are even offering less-traditional benefits like tutoring services for their employees' children at a reduced rate. Offering child care benefits doesn't just help your employees, it also makes good business sense. By offering child care benefits, your company will alleviate at least some of your employees' stress, giving them the freedom and bandwidth to focus on work, which benefits everyone.    

Your company could receive financial benefits, as well. Employers can reduce payroll taxes by depositing money, pretax, into an employee's flexible spending account. And employers giving child care subsidies can take advantage of an annual tax credit if the subsidies are used for qualified child care facilities and services.  

In total, offering child care benefits is a smart move for attracting and retaining top candidates while also garnering some key tax advantages. I see it as a win all around.

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