Group discussion plays an important role in the selection of candidates
Preparing for group discussion
Group discussion plays an important role in the selection of candidates, especially at the managerial level. A topic is given for discussion. The candidates may be divided in two groups, or the candidates may be given freedom to choose the group. The candidates may talk for or against the topic. For example the topic may be “Leaders are born and not made.” One group may talk in favour of topic, and the other group may talk against the topic. At times, the candidates may not be divided into two groups, i.e., there will only one groups. The participants present their viewpoints on the topic, and accordingly, the selectors judge the candidates.
The selectors would look for various traits of the candidates during the group discussion. In particular, the selectors may judge the candidates for leadership skill, inter-personal skills, communication skills, creativity, art of persuasion, conflict handling ability, knowledge of the candidates of the subject and so on.
Guidelines for Group Disscusion:
Wear appropriate and comfortable dress (as in case of interview). Formal dress is advisable. Dress enhances the personality of candidate. It enables to make the first impression.
Body language :-
Sit straight and be comfortable. During the discussion, your gesture and facial expressions should be appropriate. Give a genuine smile, when required. Maintain eye contact with other participants.
Take the group discussion seriously. Avoid cheap comments or humour. There is not enough time to crack jocks.
Show Leadership Skills :-
Quite often, the judge looks for the leadership qualities of the participants. The leadership skill can be displayed through the following instance :
When the topic of discussion is very vague or out of the world (at times deliberately vague topic are given), you may take the initiative to ask for change in topic, especially, when no one is willing to talk on the topic. For instance, the topic may be.
- Taking the lead to speak first.
- Coordinating the disscusion of the participants.
- Resolving the dispute over an argument between two participants.
- Allowing others to speak, and listening to their viewpoints because good leader are effective listeners.
- Appreciating the view points of the participants.
Show courtesy towards other participants. Use polite words – ‘thank you,’ sorry for interruption excuse me and so on.
Communication Skills :-
Speak at a moderate rate, neither too fast nor too slow. Speak in a simple and clear language. Be rational. Make your arguments logically. Do not be emotional about your viewpoints. Don’t remain silent for a long time to speak towards the end. You need to be active participant of the group.
Listen to other participants patiently. However, if one of the participants takes more time, you may take the initiative to intervene but do so with courtesy.
Convincing Skills :-
The examiner/judge may look for convincing or persuasive skills of the participants. The participants need to influence others by sound reasoning, i.e. to sell ones viewpoints to others. You need to convince as many participants to your point of view.
Avoid controversial Statements :-
You need to avoid controversial statements, which are politically coloured, or which are derogatory to certain section of the participants or to certain section of the society.
Take down the Points :-
Note down the points of argument which you have made, and also the arguments that others have raised. This may enable you to counter argue, or to summarise th discussion at the end.
Time Management :-
Every groups discussion is alloted certain time may be 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Do not overshoot the time alloted. You may take the initiative in getting the group discussion completed on time. You may request the participants who are monopoliing the time, and give chance to others to speak within the alloted time. You may also take initiative to summaries the group disscusion just before the completion of the alloted time.