What is Group Discussion?
The name ‘Group Discussion’ or GD itself describes that it is a discussion between candidates. In this activity, each candidate participates in a systematic fashion to share his views, facts, and opinions on a particular topic. This allows the selectors to judge the thought and thinking process and inner possession of the candidates.’
Over the years, group discussion has evolved as a new form of an interview for the interviewers. Here, every candidate gets an equal opportunity to put forward his/her thought in an open manner. Also, candidates must maintain the decorum of the discussion and stick to the topic. It provides an opportunity for the selectors to choose a suitable candidate from all those present and participating.
Must Read: Group Cohesiveness
Group Discussion is a method that organizations use to check whether the candidate has got the desired personality traits which it looks for in its members. In this, the candidates are given a topic or a situation and a time limit to think and prepare their points for speaking. After that, they need to discuss the same with their fellow participants for about 15-20 minutes.
The traits which are gauged in GD include:
- Ability to work in a team.
- Communication skills
- Self Confidence
- Reasoning Ability
Table of Contents
- Candidates and Sitting Arrangement
- Addressing the Candidates
- Topic Selection
- Opening of Group Discussion
- Do’s and Dont’s
- Wrap Up
Definition of Group Discussion
GD is an exchange of information, facts, ideas, and opinions among group members, which facilitates:
- Judging the overall personality.
- Candidate’s control over communication
- Team behaviour
- Leadership qualities
It is known for helping the recruiters in shortlisting the candidates for the final round, i.e. interview.
Aspects of GD
- Verbal Communication
- Non-verbal behaviour
- Decision-making ability
- Confirmation to norms
Must Read: Written Communication
Candidates and Sitting Arrangement
On asking to participate in the group discussion, the candidate must know that he/she is going to face several people i.e. the participants can be 4 to 12. The candidate may or may not be familiar with them. But every candidate participates with the same intent.
The candidate must be a friendly attitude towards all the participants. It will help in boosting confidence.
Based on the infrastructure of the hall, the group is asked to sit in a circular fashion or make a U-shaped arrangement.
Addressing the Candidates
Generally, all the candidates have a nameplate or placard right in front of their seat. Companies also use number tags. Therefore, at the time of addressing their fellow participants, candidates must use the nameplate or the number tag. This is used by the recruiting body to note their observations concerning the performance as well as the behaviour during GD.
The panel of the Group Discussion composes of:
- Technical Executives
- Human Resource Executives
- Subject Executives
They tend to analyze and assess each candidate’s performance during the GD and also check how fit they are for the position. They also explain the rules, time limit, expectations, etc. in a brief manner to all the candidates. After that, they state the topic for discussion. The panel may observe the candidates either directly or indirectly, i.e. from behind the screen. They can also extend or cut short the time limit.
There is no problem when the panel gives only one topic for discussion. In this case, the candidate must participate in a meaningful manner. In the present scenario, the panel gives two-three topics for discussion to candidates. Of these topics, the candidates are asked to pick one of them for discussion and then start the discussion.
Opening of Group Discussion
There is a misconception among many that the candidates who succeed in opening the discussion get shortlisted or obtain better marks. One must prepare the points first and then open the discussion when you are ready and have enough points to speak on. Any participant can start the discussion.
Types of GD
There are three types of Group Discussion
Topic Based GD
In this, the panel throws topics for the candidates to discuss. The topics can be:
- Factual Topics: It will include topics on practical things which a common man has the knowledge of in his day-to-day life. These cover burning issues have become a sensation lately. These topics show how aware and sensitive the candidate is to the environment.
- Controversial Topics: These are argumentative topics and may call for heated conversation among participants, i.e. they generate controversy. In these topics, the noise level is always high. It is of great help in checking the maturity level of the candidate and also determining how calm and composed the candidate is during the discussion.
- Abstract Topics: These topics are on intangible things. Such topics are commonly avoided, but they cannot be ruled out. These test the creativity of the candidates.
Sometimes, instead of a topic, the panel gives a case for discussion to the candidates. They are a simulation of real-life scenarios. The panel will provide you with all the information on the situation, and all the participants will be asked to resolve the situation. There won’t be any incorrect answers. This activity aims at making the candidate look into the situation from various angles.
In this, the panel assigns a problem for solving or a task for completing or an issue for facing the candidates. These can be of two types directive or non-directive discussion.
Reasons for Preference to GD
Nowadays, many companies and government examinations prefer GD as one of the criteria for screening candidates. There are a number of reasons for that, which include:
- It allows mass elimination.
- To check the candidate’s interactive skills.
- To know the candidate and assess how well he fits in the organization.
- It determines how the candidate works when he is in a team – as a member or as a leader.
- Selection criteria rely upon the actual requirements of the company.
In short, we could say that the way a candidate interacts in a team is an important selection criterion.
Purpose of GD
It is carried out in a competitive mode, but it does not aim to pick one candidate as the winner. Instead, it tends to help the candidates to come out as an individual with sound and rational thinking, logical reasoning, and the ability to respect others’ perspectives.
Skills judged during GD
- How good is a candidate at communicating with others?
- Does the candidate possess leadership and decision-making skills?
- How does a candidate behaves and interact in the group?
- How well do you listen to the viewpoints of fellow participants?
- Does the candidate have a positive attitude?
- How sound is the analytical skills and subject knowledge?
- How good is the candidate in problem-solving and critical thinking?
- Does the candidate possess confidence, drive, and initiative?
- How open-minded is the candidate to accept views contrary to his own?
Do’s in Group Discussion
- One must dress according to the organization and institution
- Say statements that are appropriate to the issue.
- Speak original points and give reasons in support of those points.
- Carefully and attentively listen to the points of other participants.
- Be rational and logical. Also, validate your views with examples if required.
- Say only fact-based and accurate statements.
- Complete your statement in one shot.
- Reenter the discussion if you have got some important points to say.
- Maintain composure
- Maintain the right pace while speaking, which should not be very fast or slow.
- Modulate the volume, pitch, and tone.
Don’ts in Group Discussion
- One must not feel shy or nervous during the discussion. Also, the candidate should not isolate himself from the discussion.
- The candidate should not interrupt another participant when he/she is speaking.
- Don’t switch positions. If you have taken a side – favour or against, stick to it stubbornly.
- Also, do not change opinions.
- Do not make fun of any participant, even when you feel that the argument is funny.
- Sub-group conversations are a big no.
- Do not repeat the same sentences again and again.
- Do not make faces or point fingers at any participant.
- Candidates need not address themselves in front of the examiner.
- Do not look at the evaluator.
- Don’t be aggressive or rigid.
Above all, group discussion helps in filtering the candidates on a mass level. Further, these are carried out under the supervision of a testing officer or a panel of officers. It is a modern selection tool, and it has become an indispensable part of the recruitment process.