Top 10 Tips to Excel at a Panel Interview

You made it through the resume screen, phone interview and have been called back for the next round of interviews.  Congratulations!  Then you’re told it’s going to be a panel interview.  What now?

This type of interview is becoming more popular. Instead of spending most of a day with separate 30-60 minute interviews with key people, you meet with 2-6 people at the same time.  Companies do this for a number of reasons—it is more time efficient to get everyone in the same room and have a 1 hour interview than having to host a candidate and move them through all individual interviews for the better part of a day.  Also, it avoids the redundancy of multiple people asking the same question (and you having to answer multiple times), the interviewers are all basing their evaluation on the same performance—body language, energy, answers, the questions you ask and finally, it gives them a little view on how you’ll fit into the team. Panel interviews are usually rather formal and organized, using a standard set of questions for
all applicants.

Here are 10 tips to excel at a panel interview:

1.  Find out who will be on the panel beforehand-be sure to get their name, title and any other information you can regarding their functional area if they’re role isn’t obvious.

2.  Create one or two questions for each person specific to their role along with your set of general questions to ask the group

3.  Identify decision maker/hiring manager if not already known and be sure to give him/her the most attention/eye
contact/questions.

4.  Make eye contact- Address each of your responses primarily to the person asking, while also making eye contact with
the rest of the panel.

5.  Try to get cards from each person up front and line them up in front of you in the order they are sitting to help remember who each person is.  If not, jot down on your notepads in a way they can’t see who each person is by where they’re sitting. This way, you can easily include their name in your answers for a very polished, personalized, yet professional approach.

6.  Make a note of a specific comment, question or answer each person gave so you can include a customized comment to each person in their thank you notes

7.  Send each panel member a Thank You Note email or card. Vary the wording and include the specific note you made about each person.

8. Be succinct-cite specific examples

9.  Be yourself- show your personality and ability to fit into a group

10. Close strong—use your value proposition to highlight your strengths/fit to the job and what you can do for them.

Following these tips will put you in a great position to get the offer!  Good Luck!

Want to learn more?  Contact me at 904-683-4859 or julie@empoweredtoachieve.com for personalized job search coaching!

Aug 5th, 2012

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