Interview, Group Discussion

12/03/2020 1 By indiafreenotes


Preparing for the Interview

  • Set aside enough time. Dedicate specific time, conducting the interview in an appropriate location, uninterrupted by email, telephones or other employees. This will allow you to concentrate, while also giving a good first impression of your company to the applicant.
  • Read the resume first. Make sure you have carefully studied each resume ahead of time. Of course, when meeting with a candidate, you should have a copy of the resume on hand for reference, but this is not the time to ask, “What have you done?” Know the resume so you can use the time to dig deeper.
  • Write a good job description. Having a specific and thorough outline of what a candidate would do on the job makes it easier to assess applicants, says Derek Gagné, CEO of HR consulting firm Talent Edge Solutions. “Know what it is you’re looking for: the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. Some things you can handle later with training.”
  • Know the intangibles. A resume can’t indicate some of the intangibles that an employee can bring to the job. Says Gagné, “Ask yourself, what are the behaviours you want? You could have someone who’s a point-of-sale wizard but may be a bad team player.” Identifying these intangibles ahead of time will help you probe for them.
  • Write some specific questions. Don’t just take the candidate’s resume and wing it, says Gagné. “Have 10 or 12 questions that you will consistently ask each candidate. This is particularly important if you will be interviewing multiple applicants and want to compare answers later. It doesn’t mean there won’t be one-off questions. A skilled interviewer knows when to move off the script.”


Now that you are well prepared, you are in a position to conduct a productive interview. If you are uncertain of your interviewing skills, you can always learn more by contacting your local chamber of commerce, taking courses at the community college level, or seeking the assistance of companies like Talent Edge Solutions

  • Introduce yourself. Greeting candidates courteously shows respect for them and will help put them at ease. Tell them something about yourself and the company. This is the first impression the candidate will make of you, so present a tidy office and turn off your cell phone.
  • Set the stage. Set the tone by telling the applicant what to expect for the next half hour or so. Remember, you too are being observed. Your behaviour will set the tone for the interview. If you come across as being too casual, an applicant may take the interview less seriously. But being too serious will likely make the candidate more nervous. In either case, you’re unlikely to bring out the best in the individual. How you conduct yourself during the interview must also reflect the image and values of your business.
  • Review the job. Spell out what the position involves in more detail than was outlined in the job posting, so candidates can make sure the job is right for them. Let them know what the core duties and responsibilities will be, and any working conditions that may affect them. Say whether the position is permanent or temporary, or on contract.
  • Start with generalized questions. Begin by asking a few questions about a candidate’s background and interest in the position. Get candidates to tell you about how they see themselves in relation to the job and what they can contribute.
  • Review the applicant’s resume. Ask candidates about specific positions on their resume that relate to the position you are hiring for. Ask them about job details, responsibilities, what they accomplished, pressures they encountered. Ask about any inconsistencies or gaps in employment or education, as there may be a simple explanation. Ask about the candidate’s reasons for leaving a past or current job.
  • Ask some consistent questions. Use a specific set of questions for all applicants. This will help you to compare candidates and find the one whose skills and abilities most closely match what you’re looking for.
  • Vary your questions. It’s important that you ask questions on skills specifically related to the duties and responsibilities of the position. This will help you uncover candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. Don’t forget that open-ended questions are best during interviews, such as “What was the most difficult challenge of your last job?”
  • Give candidates a chance to ask questions. Confidently answering any question thrown at you means knowing all aspects of the position and being able to clarify your expectations, in addition to listing the benefits of working for your business. Applicants should be given the chance both to answer your questions and to ask questions of their own to determine if the job and the company are right for them. Their questions can help you assess whether candidates have adequately prepared for the interview and are genuinely interested in the job. An effective strategy is the 80/20 rule: You do 80 per cent of the listening and 20 per cent of the talking.
  • Provide a timeline. Always provide an estimate of the length of time until final selection will be made. Provide an indication as to when candidates might expect to hear back from you regarding the final outcome or the next step in the recruitment process.

Group Discussion


  1. Rich Content with good subject knowledge 
    Having good subject knowledge and rich content is the first and foremost GD tip to enter the Group Discussion Round. Following are the key steps to improve your Group discussion skills in regard to GD content preparation:
  • You should prepare on variety of topics as rich and right subject knowledge will be required during GD round.
  • You should have subject knowledge and be well aware of the latest happenings around you, not just in India but around the world as well.
  • Subject knowledge is a pre-requisite while you are preparing for a group discussion because you will then have the power to steer the conversation to whichever direction you want to. If you can memorize some relevant data, it will be an added advantage. 
  • If you are a good reader and read on variety of topics, it will help you in group discussion round.  There is no need for last minute preparation. You should read over a period of time. Reading not only adds to your knowledge database, but enhances your vocabulary skills as well.
  • Always choose the magazines that are content rich and not just full of advertisements. Often magazines have columns which are promoting a particular institute etc. Avoid such magazines, do some research and buy the best that will be beneficial for you.
  1. Be a Leader

There is no doubt that to emerge a winner in GD round you should speak after getting a grasp on the given topic. But it also gives you opportunity to take lead. So be a leader to begin the Group Discussion. Key tips are:

  • Usually when the moderator announces the GD topic, for a minute there is silence all round.
  • If possible, gather your thoughts in a few seconds and start the Group discussion with positive impact and be a leader.
  • If you find that it is taking time to gather ideas, let others begin, and then enter the GD round by agreeing/disagreeing with previous speakers
  • Beginning the Group Discussion gives the opportunity to make an impact but if you are not able to make your point well, it will create negative effect
  • Therefore, it is not necessary to speak first but it is necessary that when you speak you are heard and are able to make your point well
  • If you are able to speak out the name of your previous speaker and then present your views, it will mark a good impact.
  1. Be relevant
  • When you speak you should speak to the point without any ambiguity of thought
  • Express your ideas at length. If you simply follow the other speaker or his ideas, remember your elimination is imminent
  • Wherever possible, emphasize your point with facts and figures
  1. Be a good Listener
  • Learn to be a good listener. Listening Skills are Essential for GD round, socarefully listen to what others have to say.
  • Just speaking throughout the discussion doesn’t make you better. You should learn to give others a chance to speak. Try and listen to others.
  • If the speaker is making an eye-contact with you remember to acknowledge him by nodding your head, so that the speaker is aware that his listeners are listening to him and paying full attention. This will also show that you are vigilant and are an active participant in the discussion. 
  • Unless you listen well, it will not be possible for you to add value to your content and communication
  • Listening offers you the opportunity to summarise the Group Discussion on each and every aspect.
  1. Improve your Communication Skills

You may have good and rich content with lot of ideas but if you are not able to communicate well your thoughts and opinions, all is useless. The need is now to improve your communication skills with following GD tips:

  • Be well versed in your communication skills.
  • You should have a good vocabulary and a decent command over English.
  • Much before your actual group discussion, rehearse well.
  • You can sit with a group of friends and choose a topic and indulge in a friendly GD.
  • Not only will this increase your knowledge, you will be a better speaker by the time it is time for your GD.
  • In case you are not sure about something, you can use phrases such as: “I think” or “Probably/Approximately” or “If I remember correctly”
  1. Body gestures: Very important tool for Group Discussion
    The panelists observe the way you sit and react in the course of the discussion. Body gestures are very important, because your body language says a lot about you. In a GD, sit straight, avoid leaning back on to the chair or knocking the table with pen or your fingers. Also, do not get distracted easily. Nervous body movements, folding your hands across your chest, having skeptical expression, constantly moving, evading eye movements are the indicators of a negative personality and should be avoided at all costs.


  1. No Aggressive Move
    It is expected during the Group Discussion that you are firm on your ideas and are audible enough to make an impact on the group. But being aggressive, shouting and not allowing others in the group to speak, is not appreciated. So be careful  and don’t be a bully.
  2. Don’t Crisscross on your Ideas
    Don’t crisscross your ideas. The topics given in Group Discussion are debatable, you might like to speak for or against the topic and while speaking don’t forget that you may be crossing your own lines. It gives a bad impact and you are judged a person who has no stand for his own thought.
  3. Don’t be a part of fish market
    As a team player, your ability to lead and play in team is measured in the GD. During the Group Discussion there are many instances where you will find every one is saying something and no one is heard. It is better to be quiet for a while and then after gathering your thoughts, raise your voice initially and make your point.
  • Don’t give up: Make multiple entries
    Don’t be content with one round of one minute or half a minute speaking in the group.  Focus on key points, form the ideas and opinions to enter again based on the views presented by others to further strengthen your view point.

The Group Discussion round passes through highs and lows. So it is a good opportunity to re-enter the Group Discussion after gathering more ideas coming out of others’ view and make an entry when the noise level is low in Group Discussion.

Purpose of Group Discussion

The very purpose of conducting Group Discussion (GD) round for MBA admission by top MBA colleges is to test the applicants’ communication skills, topic knowledge, thought process and their leadership impact on the audience before finalizing their merit lists and offering admission.

Composition & expectation from the Group in GD round

Before learning the Group discussion tips and tricks to crack the GD round, one must be aware what in fact is Group Discussion, how many candidates are there in a group, what skills are expected by the MBA College from you in the Group Discussion round before offering you admission.

  • Healthy debate leading to selection of one or more candidates from the group on a given topic is conducted in GD round.
  • Around 8 to12 candidates are included in a group
  • Group Discussion time duration is about 12-15 minutes
  • During the Group Discussion (GD) round strong exchange of opinions with logical and thoughtful arguments is anticipated.
  • Group Discussion is supposed to be an indicator of your leadership qualities, judgement of knowledge domain and communication skill.
  • Out of these 8-12 candidates, selection goes in favour of the one or two while others get eliminated either due to their inadvertent mistakes or because they do not follow the Group Discussion rules.

4 Group Discussion Tricks to be a winner

To emerge a winner in GD round a candidate should speak after getting a grasp on the given topic. Irrelevant speaking is not good.  The 4 Group Discussion tricks to crack the GD round are:

  • Follow the Group Discussion Rules
  • Key Group Discussion skills are – speak logically, be audible, present your idea firmly and be a leader
  • Use every opportunity to enter discussion to strengthen your point further 
  • Read a few model and actual Group Discussion rounds

Tips To Prepare For Group Discussions
GD Preparation should begin along with your written exam preparation like CAT/XAT/SNAP/NMAT/CMAT. Immediately after the written exam is over, you should focus on preparing for Group Discussion round which commands 10 to 15 percent weightage in final selection round.

Following are the key expert tips to prepare for Group Discussion:

  1. To prepare for a group discussion, keep track of happenings around the world.
  2. Being aware of current affairs and issues and happenings, which affect our lives, however remotely, shows a well-rounded personality.
  3. Make a habit of reading English newspapers and magazines, watch interesting documentaries and profiles on television to get a wider perspective on issues.
  4. Group Discussion topics can be from a wide range of issues. It could be a topic on current events, business news, sports or anything very general. The wider your reading interests, the better prepared you will be to face the group discussion.
  5. Prepare the topics that are Repeated. There are topics which re-appear with minute changes and minor variations. Be aware of such topics well in advance so that you have ample time to prepare for the same. For example the issues of terrorism, gender inequality, poverty, liberalization and privatization, reservations in educational institutions etc often appear as GD topics. Make sure you know these topics well and can come up with some unique, insightful points along with some data.
  6. Controversial and political topics do not figure in Group Discussions. So there is no need to waste your time on them.

Types of Group Discussion
Group Discussions is the test of knowledge and communication skills with coherent flow of thought necessary for a leadership role of a candidate on a topical issue. There are other Group Discussions which are designed to test the ‘lateral thinking’ of candidate. Another type of Group Discussion comes in form of a short ‘case-study’ where applicants are asked to analyze a situation and frame responses. Yet another type of a Group Discussion is a ‘group exercise’.

Group Discussion (GD) is an important testing tool of participants’ skills in final admission round for MBA/PGDM after getting shortlisted by the B school. Most of the top MBA colleges including a few IIMs conduct GD along with Personal Interview in the final admission round.

10 roles participants play during Group Discussion
Following are the roles that participants in GD round play. While some of the roles lead to selection, others invite elimination. Carefully choose the right role in your Group Discussion round:

Beginner: The candidate who starts Group Discussion. He may suggest new ideas, define the GD topic but may not necessarily have sufficient subject knowledge to present effectively his view point.

  • Facilitator:He is leading GD while keeping track of Group Discussion
  • Seeker of Information: He tries togather and solicit information from others.
  • Disseminator of Information: He prefers to share information and facts.  
  • Seeker of Opinion: He tries to gather some opinion from others and ask the fellow  participants for their opinion.
  • Giver of Opinion: Promptly jumps to give his opinion on the views shared by the other participant.
  • Analyst: He analyses and clarifies the ideas and opinions discussed during the group discussion
  • Community Supporter: He supports the ideas of all participants but has none of his own
  • Reliever: He presents and discusses the problem with a broader perspective and makes mountain out of a mole hill and relieves all of any tension.      
  • Energy spreader: This participant can be seen encouraging other participants to explore some new ideas during a GD.
  • Bridge creator: He creates harmony between different opinions by giving a solution with different ways of compromise.     
  • Summary maker: He summarizes and concludes a GD by including all important points discussed during a GD.