10 Panel Interview Tips to Set You Up For Success.
Panel interviews are becoming increasingly common as organizations look for even more rigorous ways to screen job seekers and spot the best talent. Though they may be uncomfortable for candidates, panel interviews save time for organizations and enable a teamwork approach to hiring.
As the name suggests, a panel interview is where a candidate is interviewed by a senior management group, where each person will ask the candidate a question in turn. At some point in your career, you’ll most likely go through a panel interview.
To the uninitiated, these can feel like a cross-examination panel! The key is to remain calm and focused, develop an element of rapport with each interviewer and be well prepared for the questions you are likely to be asked. And so, here are some simple panel interview tips to make the process work to your advantage
1. Make an excellent first impression.
The way you meet and greet your panel will impact the rest of the interview. When you enter the panel interview make swift eye contact, shake hands firmly and engage with each interviewer. It may be difficult later to build rapport with each panel member during the interview, so your introductions are key to creating the right first impression.
2. Be prepared for the panel’s questions.
When answering the questions, highlight your full range of abilities, skills and knowledge. Behavioural interview questions are commonly used in panel interviews. Develop relevant behavioural examples that demonstrate what you are able to bring to the position.
3. Do a background check on the panelists.
It’s a good idea to be aware of who will be on the panel and what their function is in the organization. Look up LinkedIn or the company’s website to help you in your quest. Each panel member will approach the interview from his or her own viewpoint and you need to be aware of their perspectives, to respond to their questions better.
4. Be aware of verbal and non-verbal communication.
Purposeful use of relaxed and pleasant body language helps convey your professionalism. Make initial eye contact with the person who asked the question and then include the other panel members in your answer. Focus on speaking to each individual and then, as you finish your answer, return your focus to the person who asked the interview question.
5. Address each member’s concerns effectively.
A good strategy when answering panel interview questions is to cross reference a question with one that has already been asked by a different member. For example: “To elaborate on my answer to Elliott, my project management experience also includes …..” This way you are reinforcing the positives you have already discussed and are addressing the concerns of two panel members at once.
6. Impress with personal success stories.
The panel may ask you for examples of demonstration of certain skills or experience. It’s a good idea to have three to four success stories up your sleeve to share on the day. Think about how your individual actions and approach led to positive results each time.
7. Close the panel interview successfully.
Once the interview concludes, ask if there is any other information they would like to have. On your part, have at least one question ready for each member if they give you that opportunity. As you close, shake hands and thank each person individually, again using each person’s name.
8. Send a thank you letter.
Make sure you take each person’s business card. Follow up on your interview with a personalized thank you to each panel member within 24 hours. Refer to each person’s area of interest and customize your comments to make them relevant to that person’s particular role.
As you can see, panel interviews are nothing to fret about. If you come armed with a positive attitude and plenty of success stories then you have nothing to dread. With a decent amount of preparation, you can rise and shine in every panel interview.