The number of participants in a Group Discussion will usually be 8 to 10; but this is not a thumb-rule. Sometimes, if the number of candidates to be screened is very huge, then the HR person of the company might have groups of more than 10 also, even 15 to 20, at times.
The participants will usually be seated in a circular arrangement or a U-shape to facilitate interaction with all the group members. But, very rarely, due to space constraints or other factors, the participants will be seated along the length of a rectangular table.
You are expected to attend the GD in formal dress, just as you would in the case of a Personal Interview. Most often GD and interview are conducted consecutively, and hence, you would anyway be in formals, but if they are scheduled for different days, bear in mind that for a GD also, formal dress is must.
If your group is required to seat along the sides of a rectangular table, make sure that you choose a proper seat, from where you can maintain eye-contact with all members of your team, and they can also see you. This is essential because, in a GD, you are expected to interact with all the members of your group. If the seating is predetermined, then you don’t have a say, so don’t worry.
Normally, about 15 to 20 minutes time is given for each group to discuss the topic that is given. Some Recruiters give only 10 minutes per group, whereas some might allow more than 20 minutes also. In any case, the group is expected to complete the discussion within the time that is allotted. The recruiter may not specify how much time each of the members in the group should utilise, but usually leaves it to the participants to grab the opportunity. Sometimes, the recruiter might ask the members to spend two minutes thinking about the topic and jotting down any points that might strike them, to use later in the discussion. After the two minutes time, the recruiter might ask the members to start the discussion, and then allot the remaining time. Most recruiters don’t do this, and hence the group should be able to properly organize the time that’s allotted.
For a Group Discussion, either a Case Study can be given or a Topic can be given. Usually topic based Group Discussions are conducted for Selection purpose. A Case Study is a description of a real-life situation / incident, and the group is expected to:
- Identify the problem in the situation
- Identify the factors that led to the occurrence of the situation
- Identify all possible solutions
- Evaluate all the alternatives
- Choose the best alternative / solution
- Suggest methods to implement the solution
- Suggest methods for feedback and corrective steps
If it is a Topic-based GD, then the topic can be anything related to Social, Political, Economical, Geographical, Technical or current aspects. So, you will have to update yourself with the latest happenings around you and in the world. Any topic under the sun can be given. Sometimes, recruiters give very generic topics, which are quite ambiguous.