With variable retention rates and Gen Y entering the workforce full-throttle, today’s business owners and management find hiring new team members a time-consuming, but necessary task. The desire to streamline the hiring process is at an all-time high, and while there are many strategies to do so, group interviews are becoming an efficiency trend.
Not only do group interviews provide prospective employees with job information, duties, and company missions, they give tremendous insight into how potential candidates interact with employers, coworkers, and fellow prospects competing for the job.
When you’re in crunch time trying to fill a position, and many prospects on paper have similar educational backgrounds or job experiences, it is critical to pick out the ones that somewhat “mirror” the core values of your practice through a group interview. Here, we’ve provided 12 tips to enhance your group interview experience and ease your hiring process.
A group interview, while creative and efficient, isn’t a versatile interview technique, and is most useful when meeting a large pool of applicants, or when the job position requires specific group social skills. When an open job position is in high demand, group interviews save time by giving employers an opportunity to talk to applicants together in short session, instead of spending an entire day burning through candidates individually.
If the job requires specific social skills or teamwork, group interviews can pull qualities such as leadership, communication, and assertiveness out from the applicant panel immediately. Consider a group interview for positions like dental assistant, office manager, and receptionist.
Sitting alone and directing a group interview in a room full of competitive candidates can be overwhelming for an employer. Not only should you utilize your team to pre-screen candidates, but consider involving multiple team members for second and third opinions during the group interview. To eliminate applicant perceptions of a single “decision maker” at the head of the table, position yourself, and fellow employees, strategically around the room, and make sure to involve them with questions and job descriptions. Following the interview, regroup with your team to collaborate and gather feedback.
Naturally, most candidates will be on their best behavior in their initial meeting with an employer, recruiter, or office manager. But group interviews give insight into how a prospective employee will behave around competitors, friends, and acquaintances. Social behavior is immensely important, especially for patient-facing roles. Even small discrepancies, such as refusing to wear a name tag or making a rude facial gesture about another candidates questions, can be vital questions to reconsider how well a candidate will work with your practice.
Clarify that candidates are free to leave the group interview whenever they like. If an applicant realizes the position or practice doesn’t mesh with their skillset or interests, it is better they exit beforehand and save an employer from expending time and resources to pursue them further. Because the hiring process is a two-way street, a mutual fit for both the potential employee and the company is vital to ensure future success and retention.
Thank all the applicants for coming and emphasize your appreciation for their attendance. Do so at the beginning of the interview an on the way out. While the application process can be harrowing for the provider, it’s also stressful for applicants. Make sure to shake their hands and thank them again as they’re exiting.
State your practice’s mission and value system early, clearly, and repeatedly throughout the hiring process. You may find your best team members share your mission and values, and didn’t enter the practice with a mastered skillset. No matter how talented or experienced an employee is — a communicative disconnect or disassociation with the group mission and mentality can be detrimental to the success of a practice. Explain in clear terms how your values are applied to your practice daily.
Use the group interview to tell potential candidates all the details about the job responsibilities, benefits and compensation, and what you’re looking for in a successful candidate. Go over what type of personality succeeds in this position, and explain what kind of experience you’re seeking. If you’re looking for someone who you can train on best practices for your office, let them know what type of training and support the employee can expect.
If you host a group interview in a space outside of your practice, make sure to include pictures and descriptions of the work environment. Explain to candidates the day-to-day office functions who they’ll be regularly interacting with while performing their duties.
Thoroughly illustrate to applicants what daily responsibilities the job position involves, and how your practice evaluates employee performance. Be detailed, so the candidates have realistic expectations and know ahead of time if they can handle the job. Also provide a written job description for candidates to reference throughout the interview and after they’ve left.
Benefit and compensation information is a top concern for potential candidates. Lay out the benefit information and all the policies for your practice. Include salary range, any pertinent retirement information, and details on any insurance policies. Importantly, lay out the hours required and other office policies such as time off.
Allocating time for Q&A is an invaluable component of group interviews. Not only does it give opportunities to interact with stand-out candidates, but also with less participative applicants who might be initially quiet or previously outspoken. Q&A is the more personal, fluid portion of group interviews, so make sure to answer and address any candidate questions and readily engage in final conversation.
At the close of a group interview, offer candidates an application to complete. In addition to generic information, including questions on the form that recap the session can determine how well the candidates paid attention. If there are any requirements for the job position, such as handling money or transactions, consider including a final question to address the candidates’ math skills.
Group interviews can be a useful tool throughout an extensive hiring process or when a job position is in high demand. By engaging your team, you can gain a more thorough perspective of potential employees and avoid forgetting the answers and qualities of individual applicants to the group dynamic. Hopefully, the tips above will benefit your understanding and structuring of a group interview, and ultimately streamline the hiring process in your practice.