Group task at interview

Discuss what to expect in job and course interviews, what topics might be covered, how to manage anxiety, and how to get the desired result!
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lingua_franca
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:29 pm

Group task at interview

Post by lingua_franca » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:56 pm

I have an interview that will involve a group task, and my heart sank into my boots when I saw this on the letter. Whenever I've done groupwork with strangers I have found that people often talk over me just as I'm speaking, so I struggle to contribute my share. Friends have told me that I'm more softly spoken than I realise, so it's possible that others don't notice that I've already started to say something when they chime in too. Does anyone have any specific strategies for dealing with this, other than 'talk louder'?! "Excuse me, I was saying something there" sounds a bit pointed, and I wanted to avoid coming across as curt.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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alexh
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Group task at interview

Post by alexh » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:03 pm

What do you think the utility of a group task is from the selector's perspective? What are they looking for?

lingua_franca
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Group task at interview

Post by lingua_franca » Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:24 pm

Ability to work well with others - not to dominate, not to be too reticent, able to draw out people who aren't speaking much and to help discussion flow in a constructive way, willing to consider alternative points of view, astute listening skills, able to stay focused on the task, etc.

I've facilitated groups as part of previous jobs and research, and I've not found that a problem. It is group tasks with strangers at interview where I seem to have an issue making myself heard, and sometimes in other contexts as well - I've just started an evening language course, and I have noticed that sometimes I will be starting to answer the teacher's question when other students will speak over me, apparently without realising.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

NotReally
Posts: 31
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:14 pm

Re: Group task at interview

Post by NotReally » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:11 pm

I've had this EXACT same problem in a number of different contexts. Normally, i'm not too fussed, as I can chirp in later etc. Obviously, in an interview setting, you won't always have this option.

What i'd suggest is to make a bit of a physical point of the fact that you're making a point. Obviously nothing too "out there", but even just leaning forward, raising your index finger, and starting off with something like "Well, what we could do..." etc. I guess it's kind of like raising your hand at school, doesn't matter how softly or loudly spoken you are, a physical gesture like that is going to guarantee you a way into the conversation.

lingua_franca
Posts: 789
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:29 pm

Re: Group task at interview

Post by lingua_franca » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:26 am

I'm comforted to know I'm not the only one! It seems like such a weird problem to have, as it's not that I'm particularly nervous in these situations. Tonight I was at a book fair and I wanted the assistant to help me find something. He kept helping other customers even though I'd been waiting longer and I kept trying to attract his attention. I felt as though I were invisible to both him and the other customers. In the end I hurled myself into his path and went, "Excuse me, I need help!", as though the shop were on fire. :lol: I will definitely try the raised index finger trick, and perhaps leaning forward with my most meaningful expression on my face.
"Suppose a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?"
"Suppose it didn't," said Pooh, after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
- A.A. Milne.

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