How to Succeed in a Group Discussion
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 21 June 2022 | Published 29 June 2020
Updated 21 June 2022
Published 29 June 2020
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
What Is A Group Discussion?
Group discussion or GD is one of many hiring techniques that organisations use. These are not conducted in all companies or for all positions but they do help identify particular personality traits in potential employees. GDs are more common when organisations plan to hire several people, most of whom have similar academic backgrounds and are applying for similar positions.
Therefore, if you have applied to an IT company looking to hire 30 software engineers, you might expect group discussion to be one of the rounds you will be attending during the process.
Who Conducts A Group Discussion?
You might have one or a panel of moderators present during a group discussion. Usually, they provide the group with a topic of discussion and have set parameters based on which they rate each participant. A candidate is more likely to get hired if they exhibit more of the traits that the moderator is looking for.
Some of the traits that a moderator is likely looking for in participants of a group discussion are: confidence, knowledge of subject, communication, active listening, language, leadership potential, persuasion, conflict resolution and creativity.
Things To Do In A Group Discussion
Group discussions are on-the-spot and participants usually get topics only once they enter the discussion room. While preparing for the exact topic may not be an option, applicants can do a few things to ensure that they nail the group discussion.
1. Take initiative
If you are familiar with the topic of discussion, do not wait for someone else to begin. Start the discussion with a few points and observations that you think are most relevant. If you do not get the opportunity to begin the discussion, you can still contribute by giving your opinions or countering another person’s points. Most importantly, ensure that you do not remain silent. While listening is an appreciated skill, the moderator will not be able to evaluate you on any parameter unless you contribute to the discussion.
2. Stay on topic
Often, discussions tend to become heated when there are opposing ideas. Small cliques might also form within the group. Candidates in the centre of such heated discussions tend to get carried away while talking. Soon enough, everyone is way off topic discussing personal opinions and preferences. Moderators are likely to notice this much before anyone in the group but it must be remembered that group discussions are leaderless gatherings. Moderators might notice that the whole group or a certain person has taken off on a tangent but they will likely say nothing. Each candidate must pay attention to what is being said and contribute relevantly to the topic.
3. Do not shout
Some people may find it very difficult to speak politely especially if someone else holds an opposing view. It is okay to disagree with everyone but make sure you do not raise your voice or start a conflict. These are very messy situations to put yourself in because some of these people might work with you in future or influence your career in some way later on. Also, shouting louder than others does not gain you any points with the moderator. At such times, the moderator is probably looking for someone to exhibit conflict resolution skills, diplomacy and leadership.
4. Show agreement
Many believe that group discussions are opportunities to take an opposing stand from the rest of the group or support extreme opinions. If you truly believe in the stand you have taken, you must stand firm on that. However, during the course of the discussion, you might be convinced otherwise or you may feel someone else’s point is valid. Do not be afraid to agree with others and change your views if you really think they are right. Agreement shows that you are willing to accommodate new ideas and go with the best decision.
5. Be a team player
One of the primary personality traits that moderators hope to see during group discussions is whether a person is a team player or not. Being able to show agreement is part of that trait. A team player also allows others to express their opinions and remains fair to everyone. When people shout on top of others, make personal attacks and belittle people for their views, there is a good chance that they will not make it past the group discussion round.
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