What is a Panel interview?
A panel interview involves one candidate being interviewed by a committee of people. Those people perform a range of functions during the interview setting, whilst the interview itself is often formal in nature and characterized by a standard set of questions for every applicant.
Panel interviews are becoming an increasingly common part of the interview setting and there are a number of reasons why this is the case.
Why do Panel Interviews take place?
Panel interviews are conducted because they enable a company to bring a number of staff members together in one setting to interview a single candidate. This eliminates the necessity to conduct numerous interviews with the same candidate and a different interviewer.
They also enable executives to assign each panel member with a specific role (e.g. one person to take notes; one person to observe body language; one person to ask the majority of the questions).
Having a number of panel members present is advantageous as it provides a more holistic overview of who you are and what you can bring to the vacancy. Being interviewed by a panel means that you are more likely to be asked a much wider scope of questions, thus being fully prepared is absolutely vital prior to entering the interview.
How to prepare for a panel interview
Once you have established that you will be holding a panel interview you will need to fully prepare for the entire process.
Do your research on the company in advance, researching every single aspect including the company, its philosophy, the clientele, the range of services on offer, and the culture. Learn about some unique dates or key members of the company and ensure that you are able to cite examples of the company during the interview.
Also, be sure to prepare a comprehensive list of answers to some of the typically trickier questions. Remember that you are being interviewed by a panel, thus the likelihood of one of them picking up on your responses and asking you to elaborate is far higher. It is also common to be asked to reiterate a response at a later stage during the interview.
Prepare enough copies of your CV, ensuring that you have enough copies for each panel member present, as well as any spares that may be required. In addition if you are interviewing for marketing or media related jobs, ensure that your portfolio is completely ready for review and that all information is easy to access.
- Dress professionally
- Try to maintain eye contact with each of the panel members present
- Remain confident – don’t be phased by the panel members
- Be aware of your body language
- Have four key questions ready to ask
- End on a positive note