Having to impress one person might not be as daunting as when you enter the room for an interview and you quickly see there is more than one set of critical eyes (maybe warmer and inviting if you’re lucky) all zoomed in on you. For most, an overwhelming feeling of panic sets in, did the whole company have to be included?? Welcome to the Panel Interview.
Some companies unfortunately don’t inform you beforehand that you will face a panel. If this is the case, like with any interview, strong preparation is crucial to beating the nerves and ultimately acing your interview. You should view it much the same as a one-on-one interview – an opportunity to prove your worth as to why you are the right person for the job.
But if you have been informed that you are scheduled for a panel interview, here are a few tricks to ease the process –
You’re just inches away from the finishing line – Keep this front of mind when you hear panel interview because it most probably means you are one of the top candidates on the shortlist as many companies will not waste time arranging to have more than one person available to participate in a panel interview.
If possible, find out who will be on the panel – Visit the company’s website and see if any of them are listed on a “Meet the Team” type page or check their LinkedIn profile. Familiarise yourself with their names and titles and read up their bios. You may share some commonality like a field of study or work experience, even a hobby.
Project Confidence – Or as the saying goes – “Fake it till you make it”. Be conscious of how you sit and your posture, try to avoid any slouching. When a specific panel member asks you a question, answer by looking at both them and the rest of the panel. This shows you are acknowledging the entire group as essentially; they each form an integral piece of the company you are trying to get into and will give their input to the final decision.
Scrutinise the job requirements & duties – Ensure you fully understand the technical knowledge required for the job. In all probability, they will ask you a technical question in order to assess your suitability for the role. “If you do not understand the question, or what they are trying to ask you, speak out. Rather double-check so that you understand what they are asking of you than to give them the wrong answer because you did not understand what was being asked of you,” advises infomine.com
Conclude by addressing each panel member individually – If you can, at the end of the interview, shake hands and thank each interviewee personally for their time. This sneaks in a final and often memorable impression and may even seal the deal and see you landing the job.