Cracking a group discussion

Cracking a group discussionMany organizations are using group discussion (GD) as the first criteria for screening the candidates. Actually, when a large number of candidates turn up, for example, in a walk-in interview, GD then becomes an effective tool for mass elimination. In this type of exercise around 10 candidates are taken as a group and are assigned a topic or situation to discuss for about 20 minutes. In the beginning they are usually given some time to assimilate their ideas.

The art of group discussion cannot be learnt from books. It can only be mastered through mock sessions. A B-School student advises, “Keep yourself updated on current affairs and general business trends. Write down the points you can think of before you actually start speaking. You can always ask for clarifications if you have not understood the subject clearly. It may so happen that you have absolutely no idea about the topic that you are asked to speak on. A good way of dealing with such a situation is not to initiate the discussion. Once 2 or 3 candidates in your group start speaking, you will come to know what it is all about and then frame your thoughts accordingly. Do not take anything personally and react adversely.”

Most organizations today emphasize on group work. Hence, group discussion is an effective way to assess a candidate’s attitude when placed in a group. A faculty member of a management institute explains, “Group discussion helps to judge many qualities at one shot. Communication skills, analytical skills, alertness, presence of mind, subject knowledge, confidence, problem solving and decision making abilities can be assessed all at once. Moreover, participants need to maintain eye contact with the evaluators as well as the team members. Listen carefully and do not interrupt when others are speaking. If you disagree with others’ point of view just convey it politely. Do not display any sort of annoying behavior during the session. Use simple language and try to summarize what the group has discussed in the end. Speak in relevant terms and do not move away from the topic. Maintain proper body language to impress the evaluators. After all non - verbal gestures will convey a lot about you.”

Group discussions are becoming increasingly popular as a selection procedure. It is nothing but a test of your personality. Speak logically, behave naturally and maintain some basic etiquette. You are sure to sail through it.


- Ranjita Chattopadhyay (views expressed in the article are that of the author)


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