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Kirsten Barnes, the director of HydroApps – part of Counsilman-Hunsaker’s circle of expertise – shares how to address staff shortages with group interviews.

As you start hiring for summer 2022 or beefing up your existing team, a great way to talk to a maximum number of applicants in a minimum amount of time is to utilize group interviews.

Many of you are looking at your tasks and responsibilities daily and figuring out how to get time back in your day. Add in that staffing shortages don’t look like they’ll be resolved any time soon, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of making job offers without having a real conversation with your applicants.

Why Group Interviews?

Group interviews can save you time. Seasonal hiring events can fill hundreds of positions in a couple of hours. Group interviews are a great way to see how candidates interact with others. They allow potential employees to show their skills through skill tests and activities and help you place candidates in the best position for their strengths. 

Preparation is Key

Just like any program you offer, preparation is paramount to success. Treat your group interviews the same way for the best results. 

  • Decide when and where you’ll host your interviews.
  • Consider the format of your interview.
  • How many candidates can you accommodate?
  • Prepare your interview questions.
  • Train your interview team.
  • Communicate with your candidates.

Conducting Interviews

Treat your group interviews like a program you would offer or a meeting you would conduct in a straightforward approach to make the event manageable. 

  • Lean into your culture.
  • Have interviewees check-in and have handouts ready.
  • Have the interviewers introduce themselves.
  • Break into groups and conduct interviews.
  • Close your interview out just like you would close an event.

Follow Up and Close it Out

Please don’t be “that person” who never responds to someone after an interview. Whether you choose to move them forward or not, send a quick note to everyone who attended. For those you are moving on, send clear instructions on the next step, whether that is scheduling a one-on-one interview or simply making a final offer. Don’t forget to debrief your team or write your notes on what worked well, what could have gone better and what you will change up next time. 

Learn More: 10 Tips for Hiring Staff

Group interviews are great for seasonal positions, but be careful. They can sometimes give too much weight to an individual’s personality. For example, extroverts may shine while introverts may get lost in the mix. And even though we want to view teamwork skills, remember teams don’t become successful in a single day — it takes time and a mix of people in different roles.

Overall, those warnings pale in comparison to the benefits of a well-planned, well-executed group interview. They are efficient, exciting and fun for everyone, and they can set the stage for the culture you are growing in your organization.

Kristen Barnes

Kirsten Barnes is the director of HydroApps, part of Counsilman-Hunsaker’s circle of expertise. Her background is a unique blend of career experience in local government, health and wellness, and B2B customer industries.

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