By Bridget Burris

The stress of hiring a new employee can be somewhat overwhelming. Not only is there an incredible amount of work in the hiring process but the stress of choosing the “right” person is tough. Over the years we have used the group interview process to increase efficiency and alleviate stress and this technique has proven invaluable. Let me explain how to do a group interview:

  • We run our ads on with a VERY detailed description.  We always use the free service with them, no need to pay for this.
  • Choose your applicants you wish to speak with from the resumes received and email them an invite for their interview. We always use email as it cuts down on time phoning and leaving messages. We live in the technology age so use it. Also you only have to write the invite once and then cut and paste accordingly. We never let candidates know they will be attending a group interview, just that they need to show up at 5pm at our office location (include address) and to expect to be there for two hours.
  • You will need the help of several team members for this process. In all honesty, most team members love being part of this process and tend to be a greater help for the new team member when they help choose their co-workers.
  • Have a team member greet the applicants upon arrival. We always note their arrival time and ask candidates to complete an application once they arrive. Obviously anyone that arrives late is probably not going to get the job! Since we do back ground checks and drug screening we require their signature and consent.
  • Once all applications are complete I would normally stand up and introduce the team helping with the process. I also explain the group interview as most applicants are surprised to see several individuals there for an interview at the same time. Collectively introducing everyone and giving them a welcome intro is a real time saver as I normally give the full run down on what the company is all about, what the job requirements are and what benefits are included – but this way I only have to do it once.
  • Next we split everyone up into groups of 3-5 candidates with a team member to lead them. The team member will oversee the candidates completing the following:
    • Aptitude test: We ordinarily use the Wonderlic test.  It is incredibly accurate and a wonderful tool. After using it for several years I believe it really tests the speed at which an individual can learn. LOVE it! Clinical assistants need to score a minimum of 16 and for administration positions candidates need to score at least a 19. I have tested these numbers time and time again only to realize that someone that scores 15 is going to take 6 months to get up to speed, even if they are the sweetest, kindest person!
    • Memory test:  We ordinarily place instruments on a tray, give the applicants 1 minute to memorize it and they ask them to duplicate the tray setup. They get given a second chance to improve. Remember these tests are important to gauge team interaction vs competitiveness; ability to interact with each other, whether they have a desire to improve and general stick-to-it-iveness.
    • Dexterity test: We show the applicants a paperclip and then give them a wire and ask them to bend it into a functional paperclip within 1 minute. Once again this is more about how they react than how awesome the end product is.I have seen people throw the wire down and quit and have seen people giggle when it is actually functional. Truly some great insight. They are given a second chance to improve on this too.
    • Personality test: This is not normally a timed exercise. We use the Colorcode personality test. Basically you are not going to place a social, high energy, personality type as your financial coordinator as they are more likely to succeed in a TC role. This test is not confining but it is a good exercise to ensure that all four personality types are present in your office to ensure a well-rounded team culture and to help get the right people in the right seats on the bus. An office with only peaceful personality types would be very boring and a bunch of powerful personalities would kill each other!
  • In addition to these tests we ordinarily do a 3-minute interview with each individual in private. Basically we are asking if they have any questions and what they would like to see themselves paid in this situation. Asking what they expect to be paid is a very important question as it tells us what their expectations are. During the interviews we ordinarily serve snacks and beverages and have our team chatting to the applicants. This is a great time for observations as everyone is normally having fun and they tend to be relaxed. Yes, this is when we have heard that individuals are in the middle of a divorce and may be moving closer to their parents in the next state, we have heard that they were fired under suspicious circumstances from their last job, we have heard how they used all their vacation and then quit their last job. Amazing revelations that we can’t ask about but love to know before hiring!
  • Once the applicants are done with their interview we let each individual know that we will contact them via email in the next 2-3 days and thank them for their time.
  • As a wrap up to the process, we get with our team, ask their opinions and eliminate obvious non-candidates. The potential teammates are asked to come in for a working interview (they are paid an hourly rate) and based on their interaction and performance, we finalize our choice.
  • We are sure to contact each individual via email within the given time to let them know if they did or did not get the job. Also, we ordinarily also send them a hand-written card thanking them for their time. We use this as a marketing opportunity! We have had so many applicants bring their children to us for treatment over the years because of their awesome experience during the group interview and we take this as a compliment to our hiring process.

I encourage you to give the group interview process a try. It is great way to get your team involved and, by doing so, somehow the dynamic of the interview process changes drastically with the applicants – allowing you to learn much more about each candidate than you can in a traditional, individual interview. I believe you get a greater sense of who the applicants really are. Yes it takes a bunch of time and effort to do a group interview, but getting the right fit for your team is worth it!