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I had recent interview that was definitely a bit...surprising. I know companies interview more than one person for a position but when I showed up, I saw two other people.

I thought well, this is normal as they were moving fast and didn't want to invite each candidate separately.

Well to my surprise, they called all three of us into a meeting room where we saw four interviewers. We all sat and interviewed together (not individually). We were all asked the same questions and it was just very bizarre. Usually each candidate is called and interviewed separately It almost felt like we were trying to out due each other.

Does this occur frequently with some companies where the interview all at once?

  • It is not a custom. Which country is it? I would suggest, get them only if you don't have a better option. – Gray Sheep Sep 25 '17 at 5:11
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This is known as a group interview. According to at least one study they are increasing in popularity, but based on my experience I would say they are far from the norm, so it's understandable that you were surprised by this experience.

Although there are clear disadvantages to this format, such as some people having more time to think about the same question, or when more outspoken/aggressive candidates dominate the time, those can be mitigated somewhat (e.g., asking each person a different question first).

One benefit of the group interview is to demonstrate how people might interact in a collaborative setting, which is an important part of most positions in a company. This also adds some stress to the interview setting, which again can be part of any job.

I have never been in a group interview, and not known anyone who has -- that's of course not the last word as to the popularity of group interviews, or the likelihood of being called to one, but my guess is this type of interview is still an outlier in the context of job searches.

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    The "collaborative" setting is rather a "competitive" setting. For some positions this might be the right kind of interview to identify the candidate with the highest self-assertion. – NoBackingDown Sep 24 '17 at 19:52
  • @Dominik depends on how the interview is conducted, but yes, this would be a great selection process when confidence/competition is a highly valued skill. – mcknz Sep 24 '17 at 19:56
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    And while group interviews do happen, I find it somewhat unprofessional that they would not tell you ahead of time that it was going to be a group interview! – David K Sep 25 '17 at 12:33

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