Group Discussion is a process in which all the successful candidates of the written test, whose number is about eight times the number of vacancies, are dived into groups of 6-10 candidates each. Every group is assigned a specific topic or a case study to deliberate upon. The group of 6-10 candidates then carries the entire discussion forward and the supervising panel neither intervenes nor participates in it. The group is left to evolve itself while the panel observes ans assesses the performance and attributes of all the candidates from a distance. The candidates display their knowledge and view points and exchange ideas on the subject-matter given to the group. It is a dynamic situation wherein every candidate wants to grab the opportunity to speak and express himself so as to influence the panel. The time for a group discussion is about 25 minutes or so. The medium of the GD almost in English, through sometimes a choice is given to the group to speak in Hindi or English. For the sake of convenience the candidates are seated in a circular or elliptical formation. They are given chest number or have their name plates displayed in front of them for identification.
Generally, the panel recommends only two candidates from a particular group for onward process of selection. Occasionally, one or three aspirants may be successful depending upon exceptionally bad or good individual performances and the level of GD.
Objectives of group discussion :
The candidates called for GD and personal interview have proven written test results. A GD is conducted to test the candidates if they exhibit potential to face and thrive in decision- making challenges in terms of real life management process. The qualities a panel looks for in prospective candidate are mainly :
i) knowledge of the topic :
It is tested whether a candidate has enough intellectual level compared to his IQ level peers. Since most of the current affairs topics in GD are from social, political, economic, international or environment issues, the candidate's reaction and knowledge is evaluated. In case studies, the stress in on quick grasp of the situation, decision-making and problem solving ability of the candidates. The originality of the candidates comes out into the open.
ii) Development of the theme :
This is about the ability of a candidate to substantiate and elaborate his point if view. His instant ideas and effective solutions comes under scrutiny. The panel evaluates how a person builds up his case, speaks extempore and comes to a logical conclusion.
iii) Leadership Quality :
Even among intellectually qualified persons there ahas to be leader. Leadership means to be able to influence the group and carry the group along. Qualities like drive, initiative, coordination and conviction are tested. It is seen if the candidate can be a part of the team and later subtly but steadily assume leadership. It is not to be confused with sheer domination in the group by rendering others unable to speak. It is quite possible that the leader will certainly be opposed by a few, but he should be accepted by the majority.
iv) Communication Ability :
It means effective expression of ideas and how a candidate can converse in a group. A candidate should exhibit quality of narration, address, voice, and description so as to make people listen to him. Don't forget that communication also includes ability to listen to others. To be an effective manager, you can not really totally on yourself but have to convince others and be inclusive.
v) Logical and Analytical Approach :
This attributes relates to the objectivity in your approach and thinking process. You should have logical ideas based upon prevailing socio-economic and legally accepted reasoning. The overall approach should be for the good and benefit of the society and the nation.
Attributes which the GD Panel Observe :
i) Leadership Ability :
- Initiative and Enterprise.
- Shouldering Responsibility.
- Positive Intervention and Coordination.
- Objectivity and Logical Ability.
ii) Communication Skills :
- Cogency and Convincing Power.
- Impact of Address.
- Presentation of Ideas.
- Listening to Others.
- Concise and clear-cut view point.
iii) Knowledge and Information :
- Grasp of the Subject Matter.
- Range of Ideas.
- Development of the Theme.
- Value Addition.
iv) Group Behavior :
- Persuasive Ability.
- To be able to carry the group along.
- To be able to get along with the group.
v) Negative Attributes :
- Extremism in Views.
- Use of foul Language.
- Not following the Instructions.
- Aggressive Body Language.
- Worthless Shouting.