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How to Do a Group Interview

We recently ran a “Help-wanted” ad, looking for retail workers as well as full-service workers who were looking to make a change.

Over the last week and a half, we received over 60 applications.

I am Ron Ramsden, a DYB coach, and also a painting contractor here in Massachusetts.

“How do we sift through these 60 something applicants?”

Some more come this morning, so it is probably up by a couple more.

And we have a sweet spot with people looking to make a change.

So, what we did is do GROUP INTERVIEWS.

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If we were hiring a specific… maybe a crew leader, we would want a one-on-one interview because these are what we are going to call newbie workers who are moving into a new position –a new field being painting, we’re going to do group interviews.


It has worked great for me and I just want to share a little insight on how I host the group interview and what we will be doing.

I put a couple of bullet points here that are not actually in order after I looked at them, but I wanted to get that out to you.

What we did is, take the 60 or so applicants and sift through them –we were specifically looking for full-service workers as well as retail.

So, if they were into some other kind of field, we really didn’t want to talk to them.

Essentially, we want to talk to them because;

  • They are used to dealing with customers
  • They are working in a kind of different hours and we can change that.
  • We like their customer skills and service skill

But we also kind of give them more normalized hours and tend to pay a lot more per hour than they are currently making, so it can be a win-win for everybody.

But that’s for the group interviews.

After sifting through the applicants, about 60 of them, I found about 20 of them that were good and I wanted to explore more.

So, after having a few questions we had on the online application I reached out to them and set up an interview.

We gave them two times that they could actually come for an interview, but I did not tell them that this was going to be a group interview.

I know it is a little bit uncomfortable, but I also wanted to see how they carry themselves.

I picked a local coffee shop, a very large Dunkin’ donuts, which I can grab a table on the back, and I invited, like I said, five people.

Two usually don’t show up –I have been doing this for quite a while now and for some reasons, I have never had all 5 show up, so we can cross them off the list.

I held two interviews last week, during the first interview, 3 participants showed up to be interviewed and one was late.

I told the late participant that it was okay and that we were going to pass this time, they just kind of turned around with an attitude and left.

And that was great because if they are late for the interview, they are going to be late for work. So, let’s nip that out of the bud right now…

The interview process was, we had 3 on one of the group interviews and 2 on the other. “So, what do I look for?” I just want to look at how they carry themselves.

I know it is an interview at Dunkin’ Donuts, but some kind of respectful dress is required, shorts are fine, beards are neat and actually shaved –neaten up a little bit.

First impression plus being there on time are top on the list.

I asked them a little bit about themselves, but prior to this, I also ask is if I can record the conversation because there is a lot to take in.

I can’t take notes that fast, and no one has ever said no, because they want a job, and this is for myself so I can go back and remember what they said later on.

I don’t videotape, I just record it on my phone.

Next, we go to the 11 questions we use in the DYB hiring process.

This is a quick conversation, it’s no longer than a half hour, depending on how many people are there.

At that point, I can bring them back for an additional interview or ask them additional questions, and then finally ask about their start dates.

I don’t talk about money during the interview.

In the 11 questions that I actually ask, I don’t go, applicant 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… I don’t ask them all the same questions.

We kind of rotate it up a bit, because what I have found is, if you are interviewing 3 people, and asking the same question, by the time you get to the third person, you’ve gotten the same answer a couple of times.

The reason why I do these group interviews is, my time is worth something and I don’t want to waste my time.

A couple of times in the group interviews, I have had nobody show up, at which point I simply took my coffee.

I also ask the participants if they would like a coffee or tea, an iced coffee or something like that.

I once had a participant who asked for a large coolatta, but I stroke that person off my list because I am not buying them a $7 Coolatta, which I don’t even drink myself.

So, some of the things I look for, in summary, include

  • Being on time
  • Neatness in dressing –they do not need to look fancy.
  • How they carry themselves
  • If they can interact with you,
  • If they are nervous or confident – Most of them are usually nervous

I then ask the 11 questions and pull a little more out of this.

This gives you a good feeling about the person, see how they answer the questions if they think about their questions and if they are not just copying the person next to them –that’s why we jump around during those 11 questions.

Also, ask about vehicles and things like that. Make sure they have a vehicle and a license.

That’s why we do the group interviews, and this is something to think about when you are getting multiple applicants.

The most important thing is that you are not spending days and days interviewing each person.

Anyways, I hope that helps you if you get a lot of applicants.

If you would like to see the ad we’re putting out there for retail and full-service workers, please reach out to me, I can send you a copy.

I am, you can also find out more about DYB at

I would love to chat with you, reach out to me on Facebook, send me a message, it’s all good. Have a great day!

About the Author

Ron Ramsden is the owner of the successful Ramsden 1-800-PAINTING, who implemented the DYB SYSTEM, and crushed it in 2015, and now coaches other painting contractors around the nation to do the same.