Life Success Habits


Success In Panel Job Interviews


Panel interviews, are a popular second interview step, allowing several of the company’s representatives to meet a job applicant at the same time. Panel interviews are time efficient for both interviewers and the job applicant.

Successful Panel interviews are a sequential interviewing process, where each interviewer is allocated a scheduled time for his or her part of the process.

Panel interviews can be an intimidating experience for many interviewees - but it need not be. Instead, take advantage of an excellent opportunity to present your best attributes to the organization’s decision makers.

The key to a successful panel interview is:

  1. Your ability to remain composed and confident.
  2. Preparing yourself mentally and
  3. Knowing how to communicate your major strengths as a potential employee


Mental Preparation

Being mentally prepared is key for this type of interview. Visualization is a powerful technique that has been used successfully by many people. Effective mental rehearsal helps you feel and appear cool and confident.

Before any interview - visualize a positive outcome, and the entire process from when you walk in the door, right to when you leave the building.

Close your eyes and picture yourself in a conference room with several people sitting around a large table asking their questions.

See yourself relaxed and open, answering each question easily, relating to each interviewer, ending with smiles all around—knowing it was a success.


Knowledge Preparation

As with any interview, learn as much as you can about:

  1. The organization
  2. Each member of the panel, and
  3. The job you are applying for.

Start with the organization’s Web site.

Check for an annual report - it will tell you more about future plans and current key intiatives. Prepare answers to questions that directly relate to these activities.

Search online for any recent articles about the organization

Talk with people who are familiar with the organization and its business.

Prepare notes on :

  1. size of the organization
  2. structure
  3. main business intiatives
  4. major competitors
  5. work culture


During The Interview

Panel interviews can seem a bit frenetic, with questions coming from all directions in fast succession. This may be intentional, to see how you perform under pressure.

Either way, answer each question in turn, using brevity, but completeness. If they want more information, they will ask for it.

Try to answer each question in turn, taking the first and building on it to incorporate the second.

Be sure to answer all the interviewers’ questions, so that none leave the room thinking you have ignored either them or their questions.

Ask for clarification if appropriate - sometimes this also gives you time to consider your answer, and can provide more information to guide the type of answer you will give. Simply ask “Do I understand you correctly? You want to know…”

It is better to ensure you fully understand a question, than launch off on what could be completely the wrong tack.

If you are unsure about your response, ask “Does that answer your question?”

Resist the temptation to let the panel members do all the talking and thereby take the pressure off you to perform. You cannot persuade them to hire you if they do not let you display your competence. In addition, this interview is also an opportunity for you to ascertain whether you really want the job.

Be careful not to direct the answers to questions only at the person who asked it. Make meaningful eye contact with each member of the panel, hold it for about three seconds, then move to the next panel member. This takes a bit of practice beforehand, but it is a useful skill, transferable to other situations such as meetings and public speaking, and will eventually become second nature.


After A Panel Interview

Following a panel interview, send a thank-you note to each member of the panel. Be sure to get the names and titles of everyone on the panel. It is not necessary to compose a completely unique note for each interviewer - a similar note is perfectly acceptable.

NEXT: Negotiating A Great Package


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