Interviews are stressful – you are sitting across from someone who is judging your suitability for a role and asking you questions that you have to answer on the spot. Multiply that anxiety by a factor of four or five, and you have an idea what a panel interview is like.
As anxiety-inducing as they are, panel interviews are becoming more common. According to a survey of executives by The Creative Group, panel interviews were ranked as the second most effective type of interview, after one-on-ones. Panel interviews are gaining in popularity because they're time efficient, and they allow employers to see how candidates behave in a group setting and under pressure.
If you’re faced with the prospect of a panel interview, don’t let nerves get the best of you. Instead. Follow these tips to face the panel with confidence.
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Preparing for a Panel Interview
Before going to the interview, do your research. Find out as much as you can about the company or organization and their way of doing business. Carefully review the job description so that you know what will be expected of you. If possible, find out the names of the people who will be interviewing you, and look them up. Learn about their positions and educational and work backgrounds.
“This can give you information about what you may have in common with the interviewers as well as an idea what they bring to the table,” says Cheryl Palmer, owner of Call to Career.
Spend some time researching the types of questions you may be asked in the interview, and prepare responses based on your employment history. Know that with multiple interviewers, follow-up questions are likely. So, try and think what kinds of questions you might be asked and have in-depth responses prepared.
James Rice, head of Digital Marketing at WikiJob, adds, “If you know your employment history inside and out, no matter what question the interview panel may throw at you, you should be able to address it effectively.”