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Group Interview - any advice please...


Drongo_III
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Hi Guys

 

This is going to sound a bit silly (and possibly off topic entirely) but my motto in life is that if you don't accept your ignorance and ask a question then you'll just be ignorant forever.

 

So with that in mind....

 

I'm going for a job with a big web company as a project manager. The interview is going to be a group interview with a handful of candidates.

 

I've never in my life been a group interview and although i have experience in this field i am naturally quite apprehensive about what to expect - and i want this job so badly i would eat my feet to get it.

 

So does anyone here work for any big web companies and have you had any experience with group interviews in this setting? Any advice, tips, or suggestions on possible questions and format would be very welcome!

 

Drongo

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I have been involved in scores of group interviews over the years.

 

My advice is simple:

-Try and be as relaxed as possible.  Make eye contact with everyone as much as possible.

-Answer as honestly as you can, and be yourself.  Don't get caught up worrying about what you think the right answer is.  You have no idea about the agendas and hot buttons of the people involved.

-Make sure you have some "good questions" about the company you're interviewing which shows that you are familiar with what they do, which gets them to talk about themselves and also shows you did your homework

 

There are probably loaded questions that will lose you the job outright, but you won't know what they are.  Overall, in my experience, people are looking for someone who is going to fit in, and be easy to work with, so the impression you really want to make is that you're confident without being arrogant, and yet still a team player who works well with others. 

 

You may get some of those questions that people love to ask like:  "Tell me about a time you failed", or "What was a tough problem you had to face at work" and things of that nature, so it helps to rehearse a few of those, so you have a decent story to tell, that shows how you can make lemonade out of lemons. 

 

Just make sure that you remain positive throughout, and avoid any negative discussion about your past workplaces.  You might have worked in hell for Sadam, but that's still a "great learning experience"  where you learned a lot, and were able to achieve "this amazing success.."

 

Short of giving programming tests and having people fail miserably, I find that people are looking to hire someone who will come in and make their life easier, and that's really what you want to have them feel about you.

 

Good luck with the interview!

 

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Thanks Gizmola!

 

That's really great advice and to be honest helps to relax me a lot!

 

I think i am getting too caught up worrying about what might be, or how i should put this or that across when really i just need to deomstrate a confident air and an open mindedness to taking on whatever they throw my way.

 

Really appreciate your advice and i'm very glad i asked :)

 

 

Drongo

 

 

I have been involved in scores of group interviews over the years.

 

My advice is simple:

-Try and be as relaxed as possible.  Make eye contact with everyone as much as possible.

-Answer as honestly as you can, and be yourself.  Don't get caught up worrying about what you think the right answer is.  You have no idea about the agendas and hot buttons of the people involved.

-Make sure you have some "good questions" about the company you're interviewing which shows that you are familiar with what they do, which gets them to talk about themselves and also shows you did your homework

 

There are probably loaded questions that will lose you the job outright, but you won't know what they are.  Overall, in my experience, people are looking for someone who is going to fit in, and be easy to work with, so the impression you really want to make is that you're confident without being arrogant, and yet still a team player who works well with others. 

 

You may get some of those questions that people love to ask like:  "Tell me about a time you failed", or "What was a tough problem you had to face at work" and things of that nature, so it helps to rehearse a few of those, so you have a decent story to tell, that shows how you can make lemonade out of lemons. 

 

Just make sure that you remain positive throughout, and avoid any negative discussion about your past workplaces.  You might have worked in hell for Sadam, but that's still a "great learning experience"  where you learned a lot, and were able to achieve "this amazing success.."

 

Short of giving programming tests and having people fail miserably, I find that people are looking to hire someone who will come in and make their life easier, and that's really what you want to have them feel about you.

 

Good luck with the interview!

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I don't have any experience with group interviews but being nervous is a good thing, it shows that you care about what they think of you and/or how badly you want the job; so showing your nerves a little isn't always a bad thing.

 

 

 

I would imagine in a group interview they would simply hire the best programmer there that convinces them that they're not a complete dick and are willing to work hard.

 

 

When I had my interview for a PHP job I read up on everything I had claimed knowledge of in my resume the night before, so I knew I could convince them of my knowledge of PHP.

 

 

Also, don't be patronizing, but assume they have no knowledge of computing when answering their questions, even though they most likely do, this will show them how in-depth your knowledge is, if you know the ins and outs of how PHP parses a script and converts it to C, give them a dumbed down short explanation of it.

 

 

Nobody likes a smart arse - false

Nobody likes an arrogant smart arse - true

 

 

As Gizmola said, don't come across as arrogant.

 

-Edit-

 

Oh, and good luck :)

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Cheers guys!

 

The interview is on monday. So final few days of prep...it's knackering cramming by evening though when you're working flat out all day but gues these are the hopps we have to jump through to progress!

 

I shall let you all know how it goes. 

 

Hopefully i'll be postnig a big fat smilie face :)

 

Drongo

 

 

Well either way, once you get done with your interview, tell us how it went.

When is your interview?

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To add what Gizmola said, take initiative! Most people are so nervous they forget to answer any questions. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone that I wanted to hire, but when it came to the group interview they completely bombed it because they didn't say a peep on their own.

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Thanks King

 

That's a good point. I will make sure I express my opinions and get involved as much as possible.

 

I think i will feel so much better once i meet my competition and get a glimpse of what's to come too. The great unknown is always so much worse than the reality - usually...

 

:)

 

 

To add what Gizmola said, take initiative! Most people are so nervous they forget to answer any questions. I can't tell you how many times I've seen someone that I wanted to hire, but when it came to the group interview they completely bombed it because they didn't say a peep on their own.

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I had 3 group interviews for my current position and the main reason was for a personality test to ensure I would get along with everyone and am easy to work with.  For the most part, they filter out skill just by looking at resumes (which, on average, they view for less than 20 seconds) but of course most of the questions will be technical questions related to the position.  I think everyone else gave solid advice (especially Gizmola) and if you listen to them you'll be fine.

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