Campus interviews are the first step in the ladder of one’s corporate career. They provide the initial platform to exhibit one’s participative skills as well as leadership skills. Group discussions, usually fall second in place, after the Aptitude Test, with respect to the various rounds that a candidate has to go through in these interviews.
Here’s how one can ace any GD:
1. Poised Demeanor
Facial expressions and behavior suggest a lot about a person. You must appear confident. Make sure you show no signs of restlessness or timidness. This helps leave a positive impact on the fellow panelists and the interviewer. Landon Long, an interview coach and resume consultant says, “Do not sniffle, rest your chin on the hand or check your phones during the discussion, they suggest that you are disinterested”.
2. Your Introduction
When you present yourself to a crowd, you not only present ‘you’ as a person, but your background, skills, and traits as well. Start formally, do not start with “Myself XYZ ”and do not mention “meeting new people” as hobbies, these are immediate put-offs. Ensure continued switch of your eye contact between the interviewer and fellow panelists. Also, one on one discussions and pointing of fingers must be avoided.
3. Play the Crowd
The American Journal of Political Science, in one of its surveys, says, “In order to make yourself be heard, you need to state facts that the crowd approves of, only after ensuring that they are true”. In contradiction, if you feel the urge to disagree with someone, go for it! This shows your engagement in the discussion and your suggestive trait. For instance, if the topic is sensitive, like feminism, start off with “Feminism isn’t a thought process, it is a movement for equality between genders”. This suggests diplomacy and also puts across your point.
4. Work the Crowd
Speak your mind, but ensure you do not swallow the entire time span, re-stating the same facts, or shoving aside the opportunity given to others to speak. Keep the fellow panelists and interviewer engaged. In an interview for Delloite, one of my seniors shared their experience, and I quote, “There is no scope for generic statements. Statistics and Precise data are what can get you there”.
Establish your superiority of knowledge. Speak of emerging trends and true case studies. For example, if you wish to talk of low employability of Engineers nowadays, instead of quoting “not many engineers are getting jobs nowadays”, rephrase the sentence as “up to 7% of Engineers remain unemployed for years after completion of the course due to ….”. Exactness is the key to the minds of those present there.
5. Clarity in Thoughts
Psychologists say “the speed of your mind and tongue are correlated”. Before you speak, structure your points, and only then, pull off the strings of the canon. When someone is speaking on the same lines as you, say “I do agree, and I would like to add ……” is the best way to strengthen your stance and display leadership skills too.
6. And Now, Your Trump Card
Usually, there is always a eureka moment during the discussion, when a mind boggling point surfaces your thoughts, and which you feel is the magical armor, to fight all that competition and ace the GD. An interviewers’ panel says, “In a hurry to throw your trump card, you forget, there are others, who have probably won the game before your turn even came”. If any yet unstated or any exclusive fact comes to your mind, state it at the strike of the moment. Do not rush, suppress that adrenaline outburst, and play your card at the right time!
7. Temperament, as Cool as a Cucumber!
The panel will always not consist of composed people. People from various backgrounds, mindsets, and viewpoints may also be present. Provocative people are never too scarce. Never underestimate your opponent, but never take your opponent’s words too seriously, such that you’ll be remembered as the ‘chaotic child’. In the scenario of provocative/ inept statements like, “Women are meant to be in the kitchen” or anyone’s personal take on any particular religion, do not get enraged/opinionated. Staying calm and composed is essential.
8. It is a “GROUP” Discussion
While making yourself all audible and conspicuous, do not forget, it is a group activity. In chase for the limelight, you can’t deprive others of their chance to speak, to cut them off amidst their statements. This will portray an intervening and interruptive picture of yours, thus leaving a negative impression.
9. Carve a Niche!
When the discussion comes to the point of conclusion, you must be assured that you have created a unique image for yourself, leaving an impact on everyone. Make sure your are noted, for the ‘right’ thing, and not in the frivolous meaning. “The witty speaker” is always a better title than “the intervener”.
Group discussions, unlike other group maneuvers, gives the opportunity for an individual to showcase his/her leadership skills, both as an individual and in a team. Introverts, especially, those hardcore ones, who do not come out in the open quite often, must bear these points in mind, to secure that dream job. If these tips are followed, nothing can hinder you from cracking any Group discussion.