What do they test for in a Group Discussion (GD)?
Group Discussions, popularly called GDs are commonly becoming part of the interview process. Many interviewers are commonly using these as a way to screen people for face-to-face interviews. Companies tend to get dozens if not hundreds of applicants for a job opening, and they cannot interview all of them. Hence, they use GD as mass elimination. GDs allow them to see which candidate are worthy of being interviewed and who they want to take the time to interview. There are of course times where some people even though they are worthy might get cut as they just didn’t perform well in the GD.
You might have a better chance, if you know exactly what the interviewers are looking for. They are primarily looking for confidence. They want to see how you handle yourself in front of a crowd of strangers. Can you hold your own? Are you confident enough to face them?
This is basically a sample meeting. The interviewers look at your performance here and try to gauge how you will act in a company meeting, whether that is with a client, with the board of directors, the CEO, the department managers, your colleagues, or even with team member under you.
Hence, you should know what you are talking about. You cannot just say anything, just like you wouldn’t say anything in a meeting in front of your bosses. Support the points and arguments that you are making. Don’t get into an argument or raise your voice. They will be looking at your communication skills and your interpersonal skills, basically how you interact with others.
They will also be looking at your general knowledge, i.e. do you know about current topics, do you have any opinions about them. They want to see how well versed you are about what is going on around you.
In addition to this, they will also be looking at your analytical and logical skills, as well as your reasoning ability. They want to see that you can make good points, that you can lead from one point to another, and most importantly that you can counter your opponent’s topics. This also shows your ability to think on your feet. All of these qualities are important in an employee. A good employee needs to be able to make quick and logical decisions, sometimes in an instant. They need to be able to see patterns, have prior knowledge, and be able to take charge either in a discussion or of a team. This also shows your leadership skills, and whether or not you can take charge of a situation or are you willing to skid by behind someone else.
So, in short, they are looking at your communication skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, analytical skills, your general knowledge, and your ability to think on your feet. While this may seem overwhelming, just keep in mind that these are just a few of the things they are looking at. They are primarily looking at you and your personality. The only thing you need to worry about is standing out, but in a good way. If you can catch their attention and stand out from the crowd then you are clear to make it through to the next round.