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Are Group Interviews the New Fad in Dental Offices?

Posted October 30, 2013

Tonya Lanthier, RDH

Many dental offices are now straying away from the customary approach of conducting one-on-one interviews and shifting to group interviews to get a sense of how employees will work in a team setting. These types of interview settings often have the candidates work together to solve problems, simulate a challenging work situation, involve the discussion of ideas or opinions, or test leadership skills.

During the observation process employers are looking to see which employees display iStock_000007407617XSmallcharacteristics that best match the practices interpersonal, problem solving, teamwork, and communication standards. After the group interview is over, the idea is to evaluate the qualities of each employee and how they will fit into the practice.

Effective group interviews can be very rewarding given they simulate how an employee will be in a real working environment. However, if the employer doesn’t conduct the group interview effectively, they will not be in a favorable position to determine who the best candidate is for their practice.

That said, let’s take a look at the pros and cons involved with group interviews so that your practice can get an idea if they are right for you.

Benefits of Group Interviews 

Time Savings

According to an article featured in CNN Money, hiring managers are much more willing to conduct one hour group interviews with a group of eight rather than spend an entire day setting aside one-on-one meetings. This allotted time period also avoids the possibility that the manager will forget what a previous interview was like hours or days before.

Cultural Fit

Every dental office has a culture whether they are aware of it or not. In a group interview setting hiring managers are able to see the entire crop of potential hires at one time and determine if they fit into their office’s shared assumptions about norms, styles, and personality traits (i.e. office culture). You can try to define your office culture in your job ad but the real advantage of group interviews is that you get to see if your candidates fit in well with the culture at your office.

Test Performance under Pressure

As relaxed as many dental offices may be, the group interviewing process may be daunting to potential employees. For starters, these group participants know they are being evaluated amongst a room of their peers, all of which whom they are forced to interact with in a loose interpretation of a popularity, personality and skills contest. However uncomfortable this may be for candidates, it is good to see them out of their comfort zone. Working at a faced paced dental practice is not always easy so watching how people react to foreign situations will tell you a lot about how they react under pressure.

Cons of Group Interviews 

Brings Out Egos

Often times a group interview seeking to bring out the best in candidates can bring out the worst. In situations where candidates understand they are being evaluated they will make attempts to outdo each other to present what they think is the best reflection of what the hiring managers may want. This type of desperation can bring out egos, often making the more qualified candidates less likely to speak.

Can be Counterproductive

Some employers choose to stray away from group interviews because they feel as though the best way to determine if an employee is a good fit is with a one-on-one conversation between them and the candidate. Instead of manufacturing an environment that tries to create teamwork, these employers feel that teamwork is something that has to be established, not contrived.

Conducting Your Group Interview

Given the challenging nature of hiring and the time it takes to sit down with multiple candidates in a one-on-one setting, it may make sense for dental practices to design a group interview format that clearly assists them in selecting the best candidates. The ability to observe personalities, behaviors, body language and relationships is unmatched by one-on-one interviews where a potential hire will merely discuss how they will react under a team setting. Regardless of the way each candidate acts or reacts to your group interview session, you will have behavioral cues about how they are going to perform if hired and if those cues fit well into your office culture.

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