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Panel Interview Tips

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Going into group interviews can be a little overwhelming. You have to sit in front of a panel of judges and try to impress them.

However, there are a few tricks you can try out to make the process better. So, if you’re interested in learning panel interview tips, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about the process. We’ll also cover how to prepare for a successful panel interview.

Why Do Employers Opt for Panel Interviews?

Even though there are a few types of interviews, some employers prefer to use the panel variety. There are quite a few reasons behind this.

For starters, the process tests a candidate’s ability to perform under pressure. It does that by mimicking the work requirements in a stressful environment.

This will give a job candidate a better understanding of what skills they’ll need for the position.

Other than that, panel interviews examine your teamwork traits. The process shows how you respond in group situations.

In addition, it’ll highlight any natural-born leaders.

Lastly, panels increase the efficiency of the big interview process. That’s because there’s more than one hiring manager passing judgment.

For that reason, they can come to a decision pretty rapidly.

Are Panel Interviews Difficult?

In a way, a panel can be more difficult than a traditional interview. That’s because there’s the added pressure of performing in front of potential employers.

This is incredibly similar to a group interview.

Not only that, but you also have to impress the majority of the panel to pass.

This can be tricky, especially when you’re worrying about putting your best foot forward.

Although, there are some people that prefer panel interviews to normal ones. Since there’s usually a group of candidates waiting for their turn, you can share experiences.  

That will reduce anxiety and may give you a leg up over the competition.

Panel Interview Advantages and Disadvantages

With the basics of panel interviews out of the way, let’s jump into some of the advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Panel Interviews

There are many advantages to attending a panel job interview. First off, you get to interact with multiple people from the company.

Everyone on the panel is a potential employer or senior staff member. Each one can offer you a fresh and interesting perspective on the position you’re applying to.

That means you have more chances to learn from the people around you. This will also give you a slight glimpse into the company culture and you may even get career advice.

Other than that, you may get a pointed interview question or two. These are straightforward and, most of the time, simple to answer.

In addition, in a panel job interview, there’s much less bias. Since the panel has to agree on a hiring decision, it’s most likely that the verdict is fair.

Disadvantages of Panel Interviews

Sadly, there are quite a few disadvantages to attending a panel interview.

First, and foremost, they can be incredibly intimidating. If you’re not used to public speaking, the job interview process can be quite daunting.

This makes it especially challenging for introverted candidates who have trouble socializing.

Besides that, having that many people around you can be a bit distracting. That’s because panel meetings lack structure in comparison to normal interviews.

Moving on, sometimes it’s more difficult to connect to candidates and penetrate the group. On top of that, panel interviews are more difficult to organize.

What to Expect From a Panel Interview

To make the panel interview experience a little less intimidating, we can break it down. Let’s take a look at the different aspects of the process.

What Are Employers Looking For in Panel Interviews?

The main trait the panel is judging is your ability to handle stress. That comes in the form of the pressure of public speaking and the tension of answering questions.

Aside from that, they’re also testing your behavior. They keep an eye out for body language, and how you work with others.

What Questions Are Asked in Panel Interviews?

There’s a wide variety of common panel interview questions the judges may ask. They design these to test the full scope of your skills.

For that reason, the cross-examination will depend on the type of position you’re applying for.

Although, there are a few standard behavioral interview questions that you may get. These include:

  • How would you describe yourself in five words or less?
  • What drew you to apply for this position?
  • What type of work environment are you used to dealing with?
  • What can you bring to the table that other workers can’t?

The questions tend to have a more conversational tone, with a formal twist.

What Should You Wear to a Panel Interview?

You should treat a panel interview just like you would a traditional one. This applies to how you answer questions and your clothes.

Therefore, the ideal outfit for the occasion is proper interview attire. That’s why a male job seeker will come in wearing a suit and tie.

As for female candidates, a blouse and dress pants should do the trick.

Try to avoid wearing any excessively flashy or bright-colored clothing. These can be a bit distracting and may hurt your chances of landing the job.

How Long Does a Panel Interview Take?

Panel interviews typically have a longer format. The judges can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half to make up their minds.

This will depend on the number of candidates and your overall charm and charisma.

More often than not, a longer interview is a sign that the panel is fond of you. That means you have a higher chance of getting the job.

Panel Interview Tips

Before you head out to a panel meeting, there’s a bit of interview preparation work you should do. Let’s take a look at what that entails.

1. How to Prepare for a Panel Interview

There are many tips you can use to prepare for a panel job interview. Here are some of the most effective ones.

For starters, you can begin by researching the company. Spend a little time scouring the web for any information you can find on the business.

Moving on, it’s also a good idea to learn as much as possible about the interviewers. This will make it easier to communicate with them in a stressful environment.

While you’re doing that, write down a few questions for each panelist. That way, you’ll look knowledgeable and prepared.

Another useful tip is that you have to practice. Try answering test questions you find online and experiment with what you’d like to say.

In addition, you’ll want to spend some time practicing your body language. Aspects like hand gestures and eye contact make a huge difference.

Finally, print a few copies of your resume. You may not need them, but it’s better to have them on hand just in case.

2. What to Bring to a Panel Interview

In a panel interview, you’ll only get a limited amount of time to display your skills. So, you have to ensure that there aren’t any sources of distraction.

To do that, you should pack light. Ideally, all you’ll need for the interview is a copy of your resume and a small notebook.

3. How to Succeed at a Panel Interview

One of the simplest ways to improve your chances of a successful panel interview is by using eye contact. Looking someone directly in the eyes will show that you’re confident.

In addition, it’s a sign of respect and displays your ability to focus on the task at hand.

Other than that, you’ll want to build connections with multiple interviewers. That way, you boost your chances of getting accepted.

To do that, make sure to use the interviewers’ names as often as possible. This can help disarm them and make the situation slightly less nerve-racking.

Besides that, it’s always a great idea to be patient. Listen to what the panel members are saying and think carefully before you reply.

It’s also best to read the room and try to match the energy each panel member is giving off.

Finally, before you leave, it’s crucial that you thank each interviewer with a handshake.

Online Panel Interview Tips

If your panel interview is online, there are a couple of things you can do to prepare.

The first step is finding out which calling program they’ll use. Then, install the app ahead of time and spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with it.

This will reduce the chances of technical difficulties during the meeting.

Once that’s done, turn your attention to your surroundings. You’ll need to make sure you’re attending the interview from a quiet place to avoid distractions.

Other than that, choose a plain backdrop to highlight your face during the interview.

Finally, check your internet connection and sound system.

How to Follow Up After a Panel Interview

Figuring out how to follow up after a panel interview can be a little challenging. For starters, timing is the most important aspect.

As a general rule, you should always send a thank you email after a long meeting. Typically, you should email the letter within the first 24 hours after the interview.

This will show that you appreciate the time the panel spent with you.

After that, it’s best to wait around a week before you reach out again.

At that point, you can call the interviewers, or send them a follow-up email.

A phone interview is less formal, so only do that if you have a good rapport with the panelists. As for the email, start by thanking them again, then ask about how your interview went.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a Panel Interview Mean You Got the Job?

Panel interviews are usually a good sign, but they don’t necessarily mean you got the job. They signal that the employers are showing interest in you personally.

However, the panelists will also want to see other candidates and examine them.

How Can I Calm Myself in a Panel Interview?

There are a couple of tricks to help yourself calm down in a panel interview. The simplest one is to try to control your breathing.

To do that, follow the four-four-four rule. Start by inhaling for about four seconds. Then, hold your breath for an extra four seconds.

Finally, slowly push out all the air from your lungs for four seconds. This will slow down your heart rate and, hopefully, calm you down.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to panel interview tips, there are a few factors to consider. For starters, it’s a good idea to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the hiring process.

Then, you can move on to what the panelists will expect from you during the meeting.  To help you prepare, you should dress to impress and fully research the company.

Finally, be sure to make plenty of eye contact and greet everyone with a firm handshake.

If you have any further questions, feel free to leave us a comment.

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