How to Win a Group Task Interview

By Chris Delaney

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As part of the interview recruit process, for many managerial roles, you will be asked to take part in a “group task.” For many, this dreaded group task sends shivers down their spines.

The reason many find this section of the job interview intimidating compared to a traditional job interview question and answer session, is down to the fact that many people don’t really understand how they should act during the group task.

These 3 steps will help you take control of the interview, be seen in a positive light and be offered the job.


Group Task Start

To prepare you can Google “group interview task” and hopefully you will research the task that you are asked to complete. But in actual it doesn’t matter which task you receive, what matters is how you come across during the group task.

In group task interviews, several interviewers (or observers) will watch how you interact with the other interviewees and will score your skills, interactions and leadership qualities. Remember the interviewer(s) aren’t interested if you successfully complete the task, many task are designed to be stressful and unachievable, rather they want to see how you cope under pressure.

To start suggest to the group “let’s all read the instruction and plan together, how we can achieve the goal.” This first highlights that you can take control, and others will naturally follow your lead throughout the rest of the task, highlighting your leadership qualities.

Once all have read the instructions ask if anyone has any ideas, allowing the group to interact. Throughout this stage encourage, agree and suggest ideas. When required directly ask the introverts for their opinions, employers always want to see how managers can get the best out of their team, and in many group task interviews the quite interviewee are ignored – which looks bad for the extraverts as this task is designed to see your groups skills, rather than to hire the loudest interviewee.


Getting Going

The group may suggest on an idea that you know, due to your group task Google research isn’t the correct process. Initial go with the groups decision as you can suggest later your idea (the correct way to achieve the outcome)

In this stage you want to get the group started on the task, as there is often a time limit on group challenges. For certain group task you will need to split the group into teams to work on different elements. Again, as a leader you want to suggest this “shall me and X and Y work on this, while you three work on that?”

While attempting to solve the challenge, be verbal “what if we do this or that?” “how is your side getting on?” “need any help” and give praise “that was a great idea” “hey team, looks like we have nearly done this” and also warn “remember we only have 15 minutes left.

At a particular point you need to get the group to review what they have done so far, this naturally happens when the group start to realise their idea won’t work and the activity from the group slows down. Here state “I think we have done well so far, but do you this idea will work? We have about 20 minutes left, shall we carry on with what we are doing or try a different approach?” The response will either be silence or “what else can we do?”

You then suggest your researched idea that you know will work, or confident suggest any approach – remember this task isn’t to see if can o the designed activity, it’s to test your leadership and teamwork skills.


The End Game

 As the time is nearing the end, remain calm and still offer encouragement “we’re doing great, we might have this, remember we only have 2 minutes to go” If anyone isn’t participating give them a task “can you attach this piece to the piece at the far end, thanks”

As the end arrives, you will have in most circumstances failed the task, end with an encouraging statement “well done everyone, I think with a little more time we would have made this” you can even praise others “well done with that idea it worked really well” again this adds to your leadership persona


Group task are designed to check your leadership, team work and communication skills. Initially take charge, when others speak, you must listen. Encourage quite interviewees to talk and suggest ideas and throughout offer praise and reassurance.

When there is a natural flag in the task, offer options and create movement – there is nothing worse than 5 wanna be managers stood around looking stupid. At the task end, complement others and finish with more praise.


About the Author

Chris Delaney is an Interview Coach, Career Adviser and Author
Follow me on Google + here:
Twitter: @employmentking
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