The concept of group interviews -- or "cattle calls" as I like to call them -- is not new and seems to be used frequently by airlines, chiropractic practices, and of course, reality TV show casting.
In thse interviews, more than one job seeker is typically being interviewed by several of the employer's staff members.
How you interact with other job candidates as well as with the employer's staff are closely observed.
In this case, the interview is referred to as an audition, which seems common enough, but employers like Cold Stone Creamery and Southwest Airlines have elevated it to an art by evaluating issues that most job seekers would otherwise ignore.
Quite simply, in the audition, everything a candidate does and says from the minute they call for an application to the end of the group interview is being scrutinized.
Paying attention, operating with courtesy and professionalism at all communication points, and recognizing that everything you do or say will make an impression about you, are the critical elements of success in this type of interview.
Clients applying for jobs in transportation should be most aware of these types of activities. The following come from an article that may be a few years old but still has sage advice. According to secret number 8 in the Best Kept Secrets of the World's Best Companies article in Business 2.0’s April, 2006, issue - smart companies (like Southwest Airlines) turn the interview process into an all-encompassing tryout:
Of course, knowing that you should always be courteous and professional should go without saying, but you never know who is reporting on your behavior, from the receptionist to the parking attendant to VP of recruiting.
So, how common are group interviews, cattle calls, and auditions when interviewing for a job? In a recent poll conducted by Career Directors International as a part of their annual Career Industry Expert Trends, a whopping 34% of surveyed human resource professionals worldwide stated that they had used or planned to use this type of interview.
It’s important to realize that the companies in the Career Directors International survey who had used or were planning to use audition/group interviews were not limited to transportation industries. The industries using this method can be as broad as sales, medicine, and counseling, so everyone should be prepared to compete in live groups for their next job.
Laura DeCarlo is recognized as the career industry’s ‘career hero’ making a difference to both job seekers and career professionals as the founder of Career Directors International. She possesses 11 top-level certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and career management; 7 first place resume and job placement awards; and has written three books on interviewing and job search including Interview Pocket RX, Interviewing: The Gold Standard, Resumes for Dummies,and Job Search Bloopers. Follow Laura on Twitter at @careerhero.