Group discussion is a selection method that is used to screen the best candidates for a particular job. It is a form of comparative assessment where the applicants skills can be evaluated. Usually the candidates are called for the group discussion stage once their resume and cover letter have been selected by the officer. A personal interview will be conducted after this stage where only the selected candidates from the group discussion can participate. In a group discussion, communication skills, critical thinking, leadership qualities, general knowledge and personality of the candidates, etc can be identified. Since the candidates are asked to perform in a group, the observer can identify whether you are competitive, whether you possess any leadership qualities or if you are taking initiative and so on. A group discussion is perfect to know one’s social behavior.
There is not a single leader in group discussion. It is usually observed by a panel that consists of two or more people. There are mainly three types of group discussion.
1.Case study- In this type the candidates will be given a particular case and will be asked to solve them. The cases are more likely to be the popular or recent ones.
2.Topic based- Here the candidates will be asked to discuss about a random topic and also will be expected to give their opinions.
3.Group tasks- In this type, several tasks will be also given along with the case. The candidates are expected to set some objectives in addition to the case.
The topic based group discussions are further divided into factual, controversial and abstract.
- Factual. The topic which are factual based come under this section. Role of trade union, educational policies in India, etc. are some of the examples that can be considered as factual based topics.
- Controversial. This type can expect argumentative and opposing view points from the candidates. Controversial topics are very subjective and candidates may have extreme opinions on this. Women empowerment, development of the nation etc. can be examples.
- Abstract. The topics that are intangible come under abstract. Topics such as aliens, gravity and space etc. are examples.
A group discussion normally doesn’t take longer than fifteen minutes. It mainly consists of three steps. The very first step is group formation. A group can consist of eight to twelve members. After the group is formed, the topic will be provided and the candidates will also get some time to prepare. Based on the topic, the time provided can vary. As a next step, the actual discussion starts. Here the panel can do an ongoing evaluation. Each candidate will have to speak about the given topic. In this step, the panel can assess the candidate’s communication skills and his attitude. The candidate should not use terms or phrases that can hurt other participants and he should make sure that he doesn’t interrupt others. The candidate can take the initiative but he should not try to dominate others. Your Patience to listen, understand others’ opinions,way of expressing your points politely etc. will be analysed during the discussion.The GD can end early but it is not supposed to exceed the time limit.