What Is A Panel Interview?
As the name suggests, a panel interview is where a candidate is interviewed by a group of 2 or more interviewers. The candidate is required to answer questions posed from every member of the panel.
The prospect of facing multiple interviewers at the same time might seem daunting to some. However, the key to setting the tone and impressing your panel is to stay composed and focused.
Here are a few tips to help you succeed in your next panel interview:
Detailed Research On The Panel
Before your interview, do a detailed research on the role, the required skills in the job description, the organizational structure and culture. Be sure to find out the names of the panelists you will be interviewing with. It is essential that you read up on each panelist’s career / Linkedin profile, recent work achievements and prepare yourself to address each one individually. That way you can ask questions that are relevant to them as well as to the role.
Prepare For Questions That Might Be Asked
Depending on the role you are prepping for, think of the questions that you might have to answer and prepare answers for each of them. Think from the perspective of each panelist who would be interviewing you and how your role might impact each of their business requirements and objectives.
Rehearsing by asking friends or family to fire questions at you is a great way to help you get used to the environment. Look through your CV for any obvious curveballs – is there a gap in your employment that needs explaining? And, rehearse the answers to any difficult questions like this
Your Appearance Matters
Be sure to dress well and have a strong command over your language. Your verbal and non-verbal signs make a huge difference in helping you make the cut. Greet each panelist in a formal manner and give a firm handshake while introducing yourself.
Ask for a business card from everyone, so you can place these in front of you in the order in which they’re sitting. If they don’t have business cards with them, write down their names on a piece of paper (in the order in which they’re sitting) and have this in front of you during the interview. That way, you’ll know whom you’re addressing as you answer questions. – Lisa Quast, Executive Coach
Engage With Each Panelist
Pay attention to each member of the panel and maintain constant eye contact with all of them. Address each of them individually while answering their questions. Remember, each member has their own agenda and you want to be able to fulfill all their requirements. Have a few stories ready to provide a case in point for any situational or behavioural questions that might be asked.
Don’t play to any one person on the panel. It’s sometimes the quiet note-takers that have high influence. Use silence. Sometimes looking down and taking a moment to answer the question is the best strategy. Sometimes smiling, nodding and laughing with the panel or a panel member at an awkward moment makes you more ‘human’.
Prepare Your List Of Questions For Each Panelist
Similar to the way you would prepare for an individual interview, prepare questions that you would direct to each member of the panel. Make sure your questions are relevant to each panelist’s profile and knowledge. You can modify your questions to reference points made by them in the interview to showcase interest and that you have been paying attention.
Thank You & Follow-up
Once the interview concludes be sure to thank each panelist individually for the opportunity given to you. Do not forget to follow-up via email to each panelist and thank them again. You can refer to a comment they made or share an article or insight as a follow-up thought. For detailed tips on how to follow-up after a job interview, view our previous article here.
Finally, stay calm and wait to hear from the organization. Excelling in interviews requires practice, preparation and perseverance. Once you follow these tips, you are sure to ace your next panel interview.