Here are eight helpful panel interview tips to assist you in preparing for the increasingly popular panel type interview. Panel interviews, also known as a group interview, is performed by two or more people. Many times each person on the panel will take turns asking a question.
This interview format is becoming more common due to an emphasis on teamwork and to reduce bad hiring decisions – or at least spread the blame around! If you’ve been through a panel interview before, you may have felt it has a sort of interrogation feel to it. But knowing what to expect and being prepared will make you stand out from the other candidates.
1. Get A Strong Start
Typical panel interviews will begin with a general open ended question like “Tell us a little about yourself”. Good panel interview tips in answering these type of opening questions is to review the job description and responsibilities and give an explanation of how you meet that requirement. Talk about your experience, skills, strengths, education and training, etc. that make you a great candidate.
This offers an excellent opportunity to sell yourself and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. Take full advantage and practice your opening statement – first impressions are very important and it set the tone for the rest of the interview. If you appear confident and professional, it makes a great first impression.
2. Be Confident But Not Cocky
Panel interviews can make you feel intimidated or outnumbered. Being prepared is the best defense. Dress appropriately in such a way that you feel confident for the interview. If you dress nice you will feel and act more confident. If you go into an interview feeling under dressed, it effects your confidence and can put you on your heels the whole interview.
Make eye contact with everybody – not just one interviewer. It conveys confidence and interest. Use good posture. Shake hands with the interviewers. Don’t appear bored or pre-occupied. That’s a real turn off to an employer.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
Probably the most effective of panel interview tips. There’s no substitute for preparation. Make a list of questions you feel likely to be asked. Prepare good answers and rehearse answering. Remember to practice good posture and making eye contact with all the participants. Your practice and preparation go a long way to increasing your comfort level and allow you to think clearly and communicate effectively. This will go a long way to impressing your interviewers and you will feel a lot less stressed through the interview. See below for panel interview tips on common behavioral questions you may be asked.
4. Have Examples Ready
One of the most effective panel interview tips – as part of your preparation, have success stories ready to give examples of your ability to solve problems, overcome difficult or challenging situations, etc. It’s a good idea to have a two – better three – examples of situations you encountered, what you did to resolve it, and the results. This is a good time to discuss situations where something went wrong and what you did to fix it. A simple way to remember it is to remember the acronym SOAR:
S – Situation
O – Opportunity or problem
A – Action taken by you to solve the problem
R – Results (successful) you obtained
5. Ask Questions
At the end of the interview, you are usually asked if you have any questions. Always have a few questions ready – this demonstrates your interest. Try to ask questions that show your knowledge of the company or position. You may also want to ask follow-up questions in response to interview questions – it also shows your interest and offers another opportunity to show your knowledge and experience. A good question on your part shows you put a lot of thought and preparation into the interview.
6. Expect Behavioral Questions
Most panel interviews include some type of behavioral question. This is intended to see how you would handle certain situations and how you work with others. These may be questions about teamwork, how you handle difficult co-workers or clients, stressful situations, prioritize work, etc. These can be questions like:
Adaptability – Ability to perform under shifting priorities.
Give an example when you had to stop what you were doing, shift your priorities, and work on another project or task. What did you do and what were the results?
Communication – Ability to create professional and effective written or oral communications, speak clearly and communicate ideas and concepts.
Tell us about any reports, letters, notes, etc. that you created.
Tell us about a time when you had a difficult time communicating with someone else. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?
Conflict Resolution – Ability to reach compromise when a conflict exists with another person. Ability to resolve a conflict to attack the problem and not the people.
Describe a situation where you had to resolve a conflict with a co-worker or client. How did you handle it? How was it resolved?
How would you handle a situation working with a co-worker or client who was difficult?
Cooperation – Ability to be diplomatic and helpful, meet commitments, assist and support others.
Give an example where you worked as part of a team or closely with someone else to get the job done or complete an assignment.
Ethics – Honesty, trust, high personal and business standards. Will “Do the right thing.”
If you found out a co-worker was doing something dishonest or behaving unethically, what would you do?
Initiative – Proactively takes on responsibilities. Takes action to solve problems that no one else will.
Tell us about a situation where you took action to get something done without being told to by your supervisor.
Organizational Abilities – Able to schedule resources and keep projects or tasks moving toward completion. Able to multitask and prioritize work.
Tell us how you would handle having several projects to work on simultaneously with overlapping and sometimes conflicting priorities or schedules. How would you make sure everything gets done?
Tell me about a time where you had to coordinate the work of several people to get something accomplished.
7. Say You Want the Job
One of the most important panel interview tips is to tell the panel you want the job. Don’t assume the interviewers know you want the job. If you really do tell them that. “ I’m real impressed with your organization and would love to be a part of it. I think I would be a great fit because….” Summarize with a short statement why you are the best candidate. – “I can hit the ground running and can perform on day one.” Or “ Due to my knowledge and experience in the field, I can walk in the door ready to work and not be a burden to your existing staff to train and bring up to speed.”
Panel interviews emphasize the concept of teamwork. Be sure to incorporate team concepts in your responses to questions. Emphasize how you work with others and your team skills to get the job done.
8. Thank You
One of the easiest overlooked panel interview tips. Be sure to thank the interview panel for their time and consideration at the end of the interview. Even though the interview can be overwhelming, try to remember the panel members names, shake their hand, and thank each by name when you leave. Some recommend sending a simple thank you note – either an email or written note as a professional courtesy. Its effectiveness in helping you get hired may be limited as many panel interviews make their hiring decision at the conclusion of the interviews – which are usually held at the same time.
Panel Interview Tips