How to Prepare for and Stand Out in a Group Interview

Updated: September 21, 2020

Group interviews can be particularly intimidating for less-experienced candidates. In this guide, find out how group interviews work, how to prepare, and how to stand out from the crowd.

Understand how group interviews work

There are two main types of group interviews. The “group” can refer to multiple interviewers or multiple candidates.

  • The most common type of group interview is called a panel interview. In this type of group interview, you meet with multiple interviewers at the same time, who take turns asking you questions.
  • Another type of group interviewer involves one interviewer interviewing multiple candidates at once.


Know what to expect to nail the group interview

Group interviews are more efficient than one-on-one interviews. By interviewing multiple candidates at once, employers save a lot of time. And, by conducting a panel interview, employers can get feedback from multiple employees at once. A panel interview also allows employers to see how well a candidate meshes with the overall company culture and works with different roles.

In a panel interview, two or more interviewers take turns asking you different questions. Usually, each interviewer will ask you at least one question. Interviewers have different perspectives and backgrounds, so a panel often includes people from different teams. Interviewers for a panel interview might include:

  • The hiring manager.
  • A human resources professional.
  • A co-worker/team member.
  • One or two members of other teams that will be working closely with your team.

In a group interview, the interviewer will ask a set of questions to all the candidates. Employers often hold group interviews if they have multiple openings for the same role, or if they have many strong candidates for one opening. In addition to the usual hiring criteria, the interviewer will pay attention to your teamwork abilities, assertiveness, and individuality.


13 common group interview questions


Group interview questions (multiple candidates):

Group interview questions are often focused on teamwork, leadership, and differentiating yourself. Sometimes, the interviewer will have you complete a team-building activity, too.

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • How do you define success?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What is your greatest strength/weakness?
  • Tell me about a time when you took a leadership role.
  • How would you describe yourself?
  • What makes you unique?
  • Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult client or coworker.


Panel interview questions (multiple interviewers):

Panel interview questions are varied and tend to focus on collaboration, adaptability, and cultural fit.

  • How would your former manages/teammate describe you?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • How do you stay organized?
  • What motivates you?
  • Tell me about a time when you experienced conflict on a team and how you resolved it.

Group interview tips (panel interview)


  • Do your homework.

    The best candidate is an informed candidate, so use sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor to your advantage. First, find out the names and titles of those individuals who will be interviewing you. If the company doesn’t provide this information up front, feel free to reach out to your company contact or the HR department. Bonus points: You’re already showing initiative! Then, do your research just as you would for a regular interview—you’ll just need to review multiple LinkedIn profiles this time around.

  • Try a round of role-playing.

    Gather a few friends in the cafeteria and have them do a mock group interview with you. They can ask you common internship interview questions, so you can hone your responses. At the same time, you’ll be able to practice your body language and eye contact—a particular challenge in a group interview (that we’ll discuss in more detail in a minute).

  • Arrive prepared.

    Just as with any other interview, bring a folder with extra resumes (enough for every person on the panel to have their own copy), any portfolio items, a pen, and a notebook. Getting to your interview just 5–10 minutes early will show that you’re reliable and allow you time to decompress. Don’t complain about getting lost or jogging in heels to make your bus; interns should help solve problems, not bring them to work.

  • Exude positivity.

    It’s true that everyone has different preferences and backgrounds—but it’s equally true that everyone loves a good attitude. From the moment you walk in the door, be enthusiastic. Smile at the group, appear calm and confident, and wait to be directed to your seat. As a show of respect, address each person by his/her/their last name, unless directed otherwise.

  • Make eye contact with the interviewer—and with everyone else in the room.

    When someone asks you a question, focus your attention on them. When you respond, however, be sure to direct your response to the whole group. The best way to do this is to (at least briefly) make eye contact with each person during the course of your answer. Try to give equal attention to each person to avoid the appearance of favoritism.

  • Forge personal connections.

    The best post-interview thank you notes recall memorable details from the interview, but with four or five interviewers, truly connecting is a bit trickier. If you can, try to remember one notable exchange or interaction with each interviewer. This could be something you have in common (maybe you both studied abroad in China, or maybe you both like cats), something about you that particularly impressed them (if it elicited a, “Wow!” it’s worth mentioning again), or something about them that really resonated with you (maybe you loved their idea to switch to an eco-friendly printer). It’s about putting a personal touch on the process and solidifying that connection so that you stand out from a crowd. And one more thing: With so many people, it’s okay to take a few notes during the interview—as long as you maintain eye contact most of the time!

  • Keep it short, sweet, and clear.

    Especially with so many people, it’s important to speak clearly and answer concisely. You want everyone to understand you, and you want everyone to have time to ask their own questions.

  • Ask your questions to everyone.

    Most interviews wrap up with the question, “Do you have any questions for me?” and a group interview is no exception. Do not answer “no.” Be prepared with thoughtful, informed questions, and address them to the whole group—they can figure out who’s the best person to answer each one.

  • Give thanks.

    Thank the group members collectively at the beginning and end of the interview. After, write a separate thank you note to each member of the group. Restate your interest and, as per our note above, reinforce that personal connection. Be sure to double-check the spelling of everyone’s name and use their correct title and preferred pronoun.