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Ace a group job interview

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in Workplace Communication

It’s hard enough to impress one interviewer, but when three or more executives at a time pepper you with questions, you’re really tested. Try these techniques:

1. Balance your eye contact. Begin each answer by looking at the person posing the question, but after a sentence or two look at the others in the room. Give each person about two sentences, then lock eyes on the next so that no one’s left out. Don’t ignore less-powerful people; they can influence whether you’re hired.

2. Involve the group. As the interview unfolds, refer back to what someone else said. Say Mary asks you about relocating. As you answer, weave in a comment such as, “When Jim made that point earlier about growth plans, it reminded me of my experience moving in my last job.”

3. Do your homework. Determine as soon as possible what position each interviewer holds and why he is on the interview team. Also pay attention to who would be your supervisor. If it seems that one or more interviewers are there to protect turf, try to discover their agenda. If you can impress the decision maker without alienating the powerful minorities, you may set yourself above the pack. You’ll also have some idea of the political climate.

4. Assert yourself. If you have trouble seeing one of your interviewers, say so. Example: Ask to move your chair if sunlight forces you to squint. Also try to reposition yourself so that you’re equidistant from each host.

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