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Panel Interview - Tips for A Successful Panel Interview

Updated on Mar 13, 2020 4933 views
Panel Interview - Tips for A Successful Panel Interview

A panel interview is different from the conventional job interview we are used to. Basically, it’s a kind of job interview where an applicant answers questions from a group of people who make the hiring decision.

 

Recently, some recruiters have made it a norm to use a panel interview in at least one of the stages of the interviewing processes to gain insights from other people in the organization and occasionally those outside the organization.

 

 

 

Panel Interview Advantages and Disadvantages

 

 

Just like the normal job interview where you have just one or two interviewers facing you, a panel interview also comes with better chances and of course great threats. These are thus, the advantages and disadvantages of a panel interview;

 

Few Advantages of A Panel Interview:

 

 

  1. Relatively Faster: Unlike the normal interview process, you may have to come back for a second stage and a next stage and on and on. However, in a panel interview, it’s assumed that all the decision makers to the hiring process are seated there together. So it reduces the chance of even coming back for another stage, as decisions are taking in one sitting.

 

  1. Objective Decision and Fairness: A panel interview affords the job-seeker the privilege to be judged fairly and objectively as there are various people involved in the decision making process. One person cannot just veto it subjectively.

 

  1. Opportunity to Impress: In a panel interview, if you are able to impress the main decision maker, maybe a member of the top management, tendencies are that you would have influenced the whole decision to your favour.

 

  1. Opportunity to get different Feedback and Perspective about the Firm: In a panel interview, you get to know the firm better from various perspectives as you interact with the board members. You also get various feedback form questions you ask or answers given.

 

Major Disadvantages of Panel Interview

 

  1. Nervousness and Fear: The degree of nervousness and fear that comes along with meeting a bunch of strange faces for the first time is quite higher relatively to an ordinary one-person interview. If this nervousness is not handled well by the job-seeker, it might ultimately affect the whole process in terms of his or her delivery.

 

  1. Slow Decision: Since the panel is often a combination various people from different areas of the organisation, arriving at a decision is always difficult for them, thus taking lot of time to get back to the interviewee.

 

  1. Bad Impression on one may affect all: Just like the opportunity to impress one person may affect all, so also is the case if it’s the other way round. Other members of the panel may conclude based on a particular response, impression or comment to or from a particular member of the panel.

 

  1. It’s Haphazard or scattered in the Mind of the candidate: This type of interview is always scattered in the mind of the job-seeker. He or she doesn’t know whom or where the next question is coming from. Thus, all of these may take him or her unaware in some questions which may distort the responses that he or she finally gives.

 

 

 

How Are Panel Interview Conducted?

 

The way a panel interview is conducted is different from a normal one-person interview. Here, you simply sit alone, facing a couple of strange faces of the firm. It can comprise of about four to eight people depending on the situation, with individuals from the HR department, some members of the top management board and one or two other persons from the department in which the role you are applying for is in. Of course, you are going to be fired with questions at different time from different angles unexpectedly. However, it’s important you know also that most panel interviews are often characterized by a standard set of questions for all applicants. It is thus formal and organised with a set of structured questions. Some members of the panel sometimes do go out of course though by asking follow-up questions.

 

Truth is, it can be scaring at first meeting a number of strange faces all-in-one place for the first time. There will still be that usual tension and anxiety, but you just still have to embrace it. Occasionally, you may have to encounter a panel interview for some specific positions in some firms. So the earlier you know about it and you are ready for it, the better. Typically however, a panel interview is often used in the academic and government terrain or for high-level executives in private other private organisations. Some organisations do take exemption to this though.

 

 

 

Top 9 Tips for a Passing A Panel Interview

 

  • Analyse the environment
  • Engage the board members by introducing yourself
  • Take a deep breath intermittently
  • Make regular eye contact with everyone
  • Body posture is important
  • Be calm and composed
  • Modify communication
  • Modify how you ask your questions
  • Follow up

There are various tips that would help you comfortably and successfully scale through a panel interview. Some of the major ones are as follows;

  1. Analyse the Environment

First thing first, when you get to a panel interview, take a quick analysis of the terrain so that you will emotionally prepared better. You could quickly, take note of the number of members in the panel, thus you can have an idea of how much questions to expect. And even how much questions to ask.

 

  1. Engage the Board Members by Introducing yourself

When you enter the board room, quickly engage the board members to create a comfortable environment for you. If you speak first, and quickly create a good impression, tendencies are that you will quickly catch your confidence to run the race. The best way to engage them is by greeting them all at once like “Good morning everyone” not necessarily greeting individually. Then introduce yourself to them. Just your name will do at this stage.

 

  1. Take a Deep Breath Intermittently

The essence of a cool, long and deep breath when in a tensed situation cannot be over emphasized. A panel interview does not take exemption to this. When you have been asked to sit, simply take a very long deep breath for like three seconds, then breathe out. You will feel more comfortable to talk as you would have become less tensed.

 

  1. Make Regular Eye Contacts

This is a major strength in an interview. It helps you communicate your passion which cannot just be communicated with mere words. It also shows sincerity and help the interviewer know that you are listening keenly to what they are saying. So whichever member of the panel is speaking, you should focus on him or her keenly with appropriate eye contact to establish that connection.

 

  1. Body Posture and Gesticulations Matters

These are also as important as eye contact. They are basically called non-verbal cues and some people even believe that your posture or gesture even tells more about what you are saying than “what you are actually saying” with words.

 

  1. Be Calm and Composed when talking

Calmness in a panel interview matters, otherwise some of the members may use this against you. Even though it is quite difficult for you to be calm in such situation due to anxiety and all, it’s important you also know that this is where your listening ability will be tested the more. Calm down, listen properly to their question before you answer and try to compose your words together before and while talking.

 

  1. Modify your Communication Style

The manner at which you will communicate in a one-on-one interview is quite different form a panel interview. Words that are singular focusing on just one person may have to be changed to address them all. So even if one person asked you the question, you can focus on him or her while answering, but you shouldn’t ignore the other members. Carry them all along and use words that best explains that you mean “all of them” and not one person in question.

 

  1. Modify How you ask your Questions too

So also you should do when asking a question when it’s your turn. While it is important to always direct your question to a member at a time, do it in a way not to make some of them excluded from that interview. Otherwise, they may end up not having that connection with you. Ask each person at a time, and make sure you go round to satisfy all parties with your questions. If obviously, you have too many people, ask the few questions in a kind of general note that anybody can be opened to answer or more than one person can give an answer to.

 

  1. Follow Up on some or all of the Members afterwards

In the course of your interview, take note of all or some of the names of your interviewers. You may even need to address them by that name to show that you have created that connection. After the interview, send each of them or the ones you have their names a “Thank You Mail”. To get the mail of the members, just use the firstname and last name of the individual and the company website domain name. For example, if the company is Unilever, the company website is www.companyname.com, the firstname of the individual is Evans and the last name David, getting the email becomes easier. It will simply be evans.david@companyname.com. Do this for all the panel members and send them all a “Thank You” Mail.

 

 

It’s also important to note that some other normal interview tips for one-on-one interview also applies here. The difference is here, there are more than the usual one or two interviewers. So, tips such as coming early, wearing the appropriate dress/outfit and all also hold true in this case.

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