Group Interviews vs 1-on-1 Interviews

Cattle Lined Up” by David Stanley – used under CC BY 2.0 / re-sized from original

Hiring candidates almost always requires a face-to-face conversation. It makes sense to be able to see the person who may one day work for your company. With phone interviews and dedicated online based screening products, the candidates can be narrowed down, but at the end, you’ll have to meet them to decide who may be the best fit for the position. This brings up the question: How should you meet with them?

Aside from online video-chat interviews (which are mostly done out of necessity and rarely by choice), the most common interviewing methods are group interviews and 1-to-1 interviews. Which is the ideal choice?

Group Interview

Group interviews, nicknamed “Cattle Calling”, consists of bringing all or a few of the applicants into a meeting at one time. Typically, candidates will be introduced to the interviewers and given a brief introduction of the company and the roles. After the introductions, they may be asked scenario based questions in which they often are placed into separate groups to discuss. This allows the interviewers to observe interactions within the groups. When groups are called back together, they are asked to present the results of their discussions. This form of interview takes less time and is likely cheaper than the traditional method. One added benefit for the applicants is that through this experience, they are able to meet others who are interested in the field and to better understand the job market.

1-on-1 Interview

1-on-1 interviews are the traditional one candidate at a time approach to hiring, where questions can be more direct and more information about the candidate can be shared. In this format, it is much easier for the interviewer to ask additional questions to better understand responses and to gauge the accuracy of the answer. Another added benefit is that the results are not dependent on other candidates. Given that each of the candidates are interviewed separately, a response by one candidate will not affect another candidate’s response. Since these interviews are more catered to the individual, there is more flexibility in the direction that the interviewer may choose to guide the conversation. Sometimes the most outspoken or well-spoken candidate does not always mean the best fitting candidate. In a 1-to-1 setting, more introverted candidates may feel more comfortable sharing with fewer people listening to their response, and also be given the time to present their own case, without the added difficulty of other applicants looking to actively participate.

Here is a summary of the two most common interview methods:

Group Interview Benefits 1-on-1 Interview Benefits
Less likely for first impression biases Less outspoken candidates are given the opportunity to present themselves
Everyone is 100% getting the same information in the same tone and method of delivery More information is shared
Takes less time and potentially cheaper Easier to ask follow-up questions for more detail and accuracy
View interactions of candidates with other people Responses aren’t affected by other candidates
Meet other candidates to better understand job market Flexibility in direction of conversation


Post By Acwin Wong