Group Discussion

Group interview have been popular trend in the job market scenario undertaken by the organization.  Group interviews are just the part of the selection process and not an end in itself.

It is used as a selection panels when there are too many applicants to be interviewed in a given stated day, which at the same instance will save time.  It is conducted as a preliminary stage in the process of selection. The group interviews are carried out to observe the behaviour of an applicant in the group. We all are aware that the organization is a group of people performing work together towards common objectives. These work bodies are further broken down into sub groups who in turn distribute job activities into teams. The organization further distributes its workforce into several functional areas each having its own distinctive specialisation like departments – marketing; finance; operation; human resources etc. These in turn are supplemented with sub sections depending upon their role responsibilities to be performed. Recruitment, staffing, safety, employee relations, compensation are roles of HR departments. Each section has its own team to fulfil their goal and targets. The organization here has an intense interest to watch whether the applicants are capable to adapt themselves to work in a team. The group interviews are conducted basically in three techniques-:

  • Group Discussion (GD)
  • Dialogue Squad
  • Group Assignment

 Group Discussion (GD)

Group of applicant will be given a theme for discussion sitting in a circle mode either with a time limit to prepare or to converse spontaneously. In order to assess the proceeding of the group conversation about choosing a particular theme, the interviewer may even provide the group applicants with two or three themes. Once the theme is selected the group is given with 15 to 30 minutes of time to discuss the theme. The interviewer will observe you under the following matter in the group discussion-

  • Task Behaviour
  • Communication skill
  • Content
  • Emotional stability

 Task Behaviour

Your group behaviour in the group interview plays a vital role as it present your personality. It is assumed that if an individual is placed in indeterminate situation; they implement roles that they are most comfortable with. Some of the role which appears out during the group interview-

  • Leader
  • Contestant
  • Active debater
  • Maintainers
  • Isolationist

Properties to be a good leader

  • Leader is one who commences the discussion if the group gets stationary.
  • He is one who contributes to the discussion with quality and content and also finds solutions and substitute to deadlocks.
  • The major role of the leader is to see that everyone gets a chance to speak keeping an effective account of the time.
  • A good leader will make sure about psychological and emotional strength of the group and disperse unhealthy divergence.
  • The leader allocates roles to everyone for an effective team work.
  • A perfect leader will push the group forward and keep the discussion flowing

The contestant

  • The contestant is the challenger in the active group interview.
  • The contestant has power to create pressure in the group along with enthusiasm and energy in the group.
  • They are capable to offer reasonable arguments against the movement but be inclining to be firm in their deportment.
  • There is nothing wrong in challenging the trend of the debate and get your viewpoints across in a very social manner but provided the other person is willing to listen.
  • The challengers must put up their beliefs in an affirmative mode; avoid being belligerency which presents your aggressive personality.
  • Remember here, the interviewer prefers assertion rather than aggression and they are competent enough to distinguish between the two.

 Active Debater

  • An active debater gets into discussion almost immediately.
  • They illustrate their strength of their confidence and communication skills.
  • Such members are valued as they add content and quality to the discussion.
  • They put up the substance to the conversation and the other debaters take stances for or against them. Thus keeping the ball rolling.


  • Maintainers are the members of the group who prefer to take care of the health of the group.
  • They are referred as health monitor of the group.
  • They strive to disperse heating up arguments with their wit and humour.
  • Such members aim to mollify the other members who are hurt with comments and there by stopping those who try to be aggressive.
  • In absences of maintainers the leader takes the role.


  • Isolationist is one who would stay quiet during most of the discussion.
  • Thought they might have brilliant ideas but did not have the chance to enter into the discussion.
  • The leader here is quick enough to notice the isolationist and may draw them into the mainstream.
  • Sometimes it is also seen that the isolationist may start parallel discussion out of the mainstream because the isolationist may find difficult to get into the mainstream.

Here I would like to mention, one cannot judge it to be important / unimportant role; it really depends on the position/s for which selections are being held. Although management obviously value the leaders; while the debaters are preferred for jobs that involve public interface like customer service, public relations, sales and marketing, purchasing, etc; the health monitors are considered suitable for human resource jobs; and the isolationists are said to be suitable for lonely jobs like research, accounting, IT, etc.

Communication skills

Communication skill is another important outcome of a group discussion. GD highlights the proficiency of an individual’s communication.

  • The group discussion binds up an individual‘s talent to put forward ideas forcefully, articulately, and logically.
  • Commands over the language are very essential for victorious communication.
  • Communication skill includes the ability to listen and integrate others’ opinion with one’s own is also assessed.
  • Customer contact jobs usually require a strong communication skills than back office ones.
  • Leadership roles will need better communication skills than those who follow the leader, who in turn needs to be a good listener.


The group members very often feel that it is the quantity of speaking which matters and not its quality. This is indeed a misguided opinion. In fact it is not how much the member say but what the member say that is more significant.

  • The content is measured by the depth of the knowledge of a member and all the more how logically, sensibly and clearly the subject is put forward.
  • Alternative and substitute viewpoints are always welcome to make the discussion more affluent.
  • The interviewer must be enthused and stirred by the content presented by the group members at the time of discussion.

Emotional Stability

Members in a group are under pressure, as since all are aspiring to be selected. Most often it is seen that an immature or not fully well developed group would build up pressure by being inconsiderate and insensitive to others.

  • Some of the Members of the group are found out of emotional control thus becoming argumentative, aggressive, overbearing, biased, and dogmatic while some members seem to be insecure, quiet, nervous and solitary.
  • Member of the GD must not drop their emotional stability under stressful condition.
  • Interviewers are basically in search for a balanced individual who is cool, composed and self-possessed yet assertive enough to hold their emotional ground.
Dialogue Squad

It is the panel of discussion held between the candidates and the interviewer who skilfully brings out personal qualities, attitudes and motivations of candidates by putting up clever question. The interviewer in this makes sure that everyone gets the chance to speak. Some of the golden rules in this method are –

  • Be involved and participative in the discussion.
  • Give qualitative inputs.
  • Listen carefully to what others are saying because you may be asked by the interviewer to respond to it.
  • Be cool and composed.
  • Do not lose your calmness and avoid arguments.
  • Always assertive not aggressive.
  • Be natural and don’t act to be someone else.
  • Sit in an upright posture.
  • Don’t be excitable but remain composed in your deliberation.

Group Assignment

Group assignment is a selection process where a group of 5-15 participants are given a physical task to accomplish. The assignment has several hurdles that require leaping, twisting, swinging, etc to test physical powers. There are group assignments which are performed both indoors as well as out doors.

Outdoor group assignments

Such are mainly used by military section boards but at present scenario it is increasingly used by other commercial ventures which require outdoor physical powers such as in oil rigs, adventure, sports organisation etc.

  • The human skills are being monitored which involve working as a team as well as leadership qualities.
  • Encouragement during failure, recognition in success ,assisting members who are falling short of expectations allotting responsibilities and setting personal examples are some of the qualities taken into consideration.
  • Physical abilities include endurance, stamina, coordination of the body etc.

Indoor group assignments

Such assignments are performed with in. groups are pitched against each other to complete a task that require teamwork and inter-group coordination.

  • Interviewers evaluate the behaviour in a team as well as interaction with other groups.
  • Within the group, members adopt natural roles. some the emerging typical roles within the groups while accomplishing the assignment are:
  • Leader who provides the plan, strategy and direction;
  • Negotiator who is comfortable to interact with other groups and negotiate for resources;
  • Maintainer who looks after the psychological and emotional health of the group by managing differences within the group, especially when they are under pressure or crisis;
  • Worker who is comfortable with industry and manual effort to complete the task;
  • Loner who waits to be invited to take part in the discussion or is totally disinterested in the group’s effort;
  • Philosopher who gives idea and creative ways of looking at the task.
  • The interviewer also has a close look over-

The interaction with other groups as:  whether the members are cooperative or selfish, trusting or suspicious, fighting or sabotaging.

     The pride for the group as: whether the members support the group or bring it down.


Copyright © 2017 Surexjobs