Many companies are changing their hiring practices to bring others into the process. Because of time constraints, this often means holding group interviews instead of individual job interviews. To be successful in panel interviews, follow these six tips.
A young woman I was mentoring called me with panic in her voice. The HR recruiter had just informed her that her job interview had been changed from individual interviews to a panel interview.
Many companies are changing their hiring practices to bring others into the process. Because of time constraints, this often means holding group interviews instead of individual job interviews. At some point in your career, just like my mentee, you’ll most likely have to go through a panel interview.
At first, this might sound intimidating. But with the right prep work, and by modifying your communication during the interview, you’ll be able to increase your chances of a successful interview. Here’s how:
Find out who will be on the panel. Ask the recruiter (or hiring manager) for the names and titles of everyone who will be on the interview panel. Knowing whether they are in sales, service, marketing, etc. will help you gain a better understanding of what will be important to each person.
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Brainstorm potential questions. Based on their roles in the company, think through the types of questions each person might ask during your interview, and then practice your answers.
Introduce yourself to each person. Ask for a business card and place them all in front of you, or write down everyone’s names in the order in which they’re sitting. That way, you’ll know whom you’re addressing when you answer questions.
Modify your communication style. In an individual interview, you would respond to questions by directly answering the person. But in a panel interview, don’t exclude the others. Look at the person asking the question and begin by answering to them, and then look at the other panel members as you finish your response so that each person feels included in the conversation.
Modify your end-of-interview questions. Just like you would for an individual interview, come prepared with your list of questions, and then see if you can relate any of your questions back to what was discussed during the panel interview.
Follow up with each person. As I mentioned in a previous post, if you want the job, then send a thank-you note after your interview. In this case, you should send a personalized note to each member of the interview panel.