Only 3% of the applicants reach the Interview round on an average. It’s worse in the campus hiring drives in India.
Out of the remaining 97%, about 50% is eliminated in the Group Discussion Round. Group Discussion round helps the recruiter eliminate candidates in bulk. It’s easy to handpick the few who do well in GDs and save a lot of the recruiter’s time by not interviewing the rest. The CONVERSION RATE in Group Discussions is LOWER!
The average size of the group in GDs is 15 members. Yes, you need to speak in front of 15 people in a GD as compared to speaking only with the interviewer in the PI. Most people get NERVOUS about speaking in front of so many people.
You have no time to prepare for what you are going to be speaking on. There are hardly a couple of minutes between the time the topic is given to you and the time you have to speak on it. You need to think of points SPONTANEOUSLY!
What is being judged in a Group Discussion?
The interviewer is judging you by a few metrics in GD:
- Confidence: Your ability to speak in front of a group of people is being judged. Do you get nervous, do you speak at all or Can you put forward your points comfortably?
- Communication Skills: How well can you communicate your points to the rest of the group? Are you able to convey your thoughts well enough?
- Listening Skills: Are you basing your response after listening to others or are you just speaking your own points irrespective of what discussion is going on.
- Knowledgeable: The quality of your points also matter. It shows how aware you are and how much knowledge you possess. It can always happen that the particular topic given is something you don’t know much about, that’s bad luck. But, in most GD’s the topic given is fairly generic so that everyone is able to think of points.
- Body Posture: The way you speak gives away a lot about you. Your eye contact, hand movements, body position tell the interviewer how involved and confident you are.
What’s Group Discussion?In this section, you will also understand group discussion rules.
A GD has a group of candidates seated together to discuss on a topic given by the recruiter. Once the topic is given, a couple of minutes are given to brainstorm pointers on the topic. During this time, you should try and think of everything you know related to that topic first.
Let’s take up a commonly given GD topic: Love Marriage vs Arranged Marriage. You should start by thinking all you can about these. Example: In love marriages, the couple already knows each other and is confident about their feelings towards each other. The decision-maker is usually the couple itself. They are aware of each other’s personalities, choices, likes and dislikes beforehand. In arranged marriages, the families interact as a whole to choose the right spouse and also the right family. The families take into account the cultures and the environment their child will have post-marriage and usually care about the choice of their child too. Marriage is a social institution and it involves both families in it too.
Post this, you should try and rephrase your thoughts in context with the topic given. In our example, we need to pit love marriage against arranged marriage. So, we can think of pros and cons for both sides of the arguments. As listed, there are aspects to both arguments and it can be tough to choose which will be better always. It depends on the person, their families and how they wish to live the rest of their lives ahead. So, we can construct our argument in a diplomatic way, giving away points on both sides of it.
Speaking first in a GD fetches you some brownie points. It shows the interviewer your confidence and initiative-taking ability. But, if you don’t completely understand the topic or aren’t sure what to speak on it, it’s better to wait for a couple of people to speak and then take your chance.
During the course of the GD, try and listen to the points others are making, take notes on a piece of paper with their names and try to address their points with your thoughts on them.
Try to speak at least 3-4 times during the course of the GD.
A GD expects you to come to a consensus as a group, so try and end the argument somewhere and summarize what you all have discussed towards the end of the GD.
I hope you have understood what group discussion is and how group discussion proceeds. This also covers the typical rules for group discussion.
Group Discussion Tips
Attitude: Make sure you are polite and courteous to others. A lot of people become aggressive and dominating in a GD. Whenever they have a counterpoint to what someone else has said, they vehemently put the other person down with phrases like ‘I completely disagree with you’, ‘I think what you said is completely wrong’. Such an attitude is taken negatively by the recruiter. Always communicate respectfully with others. Use phrases like ‘That could be one way of thinking, but I think..’, ‘Good point <--Name-->, but don’t you think …’. This is how you people are expected to interact with their peers in the corporate domain too.
Boldness: This is the time when you need to let go of your shyness. If you don’t get over your nervousness and speak up, you could be losing out on a great career opportunity. It will be demanded of you to come out of your comfort zone, shed the fear of being judged by others here. No one cares about judging you anyway, people are too busy obsessing over themselves. So, get over your fears and give it all you’ve got!
Speech: Remember that how you speak is equally important to what you speak, in fact even more! So make sure you speak with an energetic and expressive voice tone. Your enthusiasm and confidence should be evident in your voice tone. Also, try and intonate your voice according to what you are speaking. Intonation refers to the rise and fall in your voice while speaking. Indians have a tendency to speak fast. It gets difficult to comprehend what others are speaking at times. So, make sure you speak slowly and loudly every time.
Balanced: Be a balanced speaker. Some people try and speak on every possible argument. They cut across others when they are speaking. Some people don’t say anything at all. They need to be asked if they would like to speak, and a few still refuse. Balanced is speaking when you have a good point to put forward and you have the right chance to do so. Ask courteously for your chance. This is the right way to speak and discuss in groups!
Folks, the most important part of the preparation you can do for GD is to gain knowledge on as many topics as possible. This is not something you can do a night before your campus drive, it is something which comes when you inculcate a reading habit in yourself. Try and learn from all possible sources, read books, articles, blogs, twitter, quora, watch informatory content on Youtube, television and other platforms. Gaining knowledge will help you be better prepared to speak on any topic and also, help you gain the confidence to have any such conversations, anywhere!