An alternative to Personal Interview and Group Discussion is a "Group Interview". Some institutes use this tool for their selection procedure. The Group Interview can last for 30 - 50 minutes. Here, a student's individual skills as well as his group skills are tested. The students may be allowed to interact amongst themselves or the interview may be a controlled one to maintain the protocol of the Group Interview. If the session is a controlled one, you should be very attentive to the interaction within the Group Interview. You might be asked for your reaction over some other student's statement. The formation of the group is normally done on the basis of a common binding factor e.g all students who have opted for a particular specialization in management, or all students with a common academic background.
This homogeneity makes it easier for the panel to engage the group members in a discussion. Student gets very little time to make an impression on the evaluators. Another way of conducting a Group interview is a variant of a Group Discussion, in which a group may be given a situation, case-study etc to discuss.
The interview panellists observe your overall approach. They observe how you emotionally respond to the group and how well are you able to handle stress. Your leadership skills and ability to take criticism are also evaluated. In case you chair the meeting, the observers check your planning, and how effectively you manage the meeting. In case you are leading the group activity, the panel checks your efficiency in delegating tasks and doing your own tasks.
GROUP INTERVIEW: DO’s
Be relaxed and confident – Nervousness can be a game changer in a group interview. The idea is to check if you can get along well with a group of strangers.
Display creative thinking – The panel intends to check if you can think on your feet. Out of the box thinking can tilt the scales in your favour.
Demonstrate leadership qualities – Group interviews are an apt setting to check your leadership qualities. Leadership is not about dominance. It is about ensuring that all the members of the group are actively involved in the discussion.
Listen carefully to others – It is very easy for the panel to judge who is a good listener and who does not listen. If you are not listening to others, it becomes apparent in the way you put forward your point of view in the discussion. A candidate who is reluctant to listen to others is viewed unfavorably by the panel.
GROUP INTERVIEW: DON’Ts
Don't show off your knowledge – Remember that your knowledge has already been tested when you took the written exam. The group interview is for demonstrating other aspects of your personality like temper, body language, the ability to work in a group, etc. So even if you know a topic very well, make sure that you only raise points relevant to the discussion.
Don't over-rehearsed your answers – The panel is hoping to meet your real, authentic self so avoid making your answers sound scripted or fabricated. Over-rehearsed answers can negate any positive impression that you may have made on the panel. So keep the interview honest and original as far as possible.
Don't be rude to fellow participants – This is one of the cardinal sins in a Group Interview. While initiating a discussion and speaking loudly does demonstrate your leadership qualities and confidence, a little overdose of the same may result in the panel perceiving you as a bully with a disregard for manners and courtesy. So make sure you display good manners at all times.
Which B-schools in India conduct "Group Interviews"?
Group Interviews have been historically conducted by S.P Jain Institute of Management, Mumbai.
These interviews have been supported by psychometric testing to assess the students' suitability for the program.