Do you feel intimidated by the news of Panel Interviews to an extent where it terrifies and scares you? Well, the idea of sitting across strangers grilling you with questions in an interview round does sound stressful making you panic but with proper practice and the tips listed here, you can certainly nail it for yourself! Interview calls are rarest these days and most organizations are switching to panel interviews!! So, gear up for some serious action making the most of the panel
What is a Panel Interview?
Panel Interviews are when there is more than one interviewer conducting your interview. A formal and systematic arrangement where the candidate is bombarded with questions from all the interviewers on board. These interviewers are looking for their ideal candidate and one mistake will ruin your dreams of getting hired.
When are Panel Interviews Conducted?
Panel Interviews are conducted when:
- The Role you have applied for operates around multiple functions or works with different teams
- When there is a matrix reporting structure with several direct or dotted hierarchy in the reporting
- There are time constraints and a deadline to fill the position at the earliest
- The position applied for is related to academics/government/senior management roles
Benefits of Panel Interviews
Panel Interviews do have an upside because
- They are 5 to 6 interview rounds clubbed into one which means you don’t have to jump interviews and be worried about your next rounds
- You get to meet so many people and know about them giving you an idea of your future employers and the way they work in teams
- If all goes fine, you can get the job right after the interview
How to Get You Started?
Handling one interviewer is a tough ask! How do you handle so many interviewers at the same time then on a panel? Well, it isn’t as tough as it seems. To be victorious follow these simple tips and prepare well.
1. Who is on the Interview Panel?
You definitely need to know this, to understand the direction where the interview can be headed towards? Ask your Hiring Manager or recruiter for the panelist’s names and job titles. Google about them and try to read their profiles on LinkedIn and have a look at their responsibilities. Facing known strangers is always better than absolutely unknown ones. Being informed in advance about their responsibilities will give you an insight into what will be important to each panelist. Do ask for a business card on the interview day from each panelist and place them in front of you as per your panelists are seated. In case they do not have business cards, remember yourself to carry a pen and paper and write down their names and roles.
The panelists will be eagerly wanting to know more about you. Greet and then Introduce yourself to all the panelists and shake hands firmly with each one of them making eye contact. Be brief and personalize to gain your panels confidence. Take pride in your professionalism and cool-headedly show them that you are eager to face the interview. Your enthusiasm and assertiveness will definitely impress your interviewers.
3. What’s your Body Language Saying?
Your Body Language will be gauged by your panelists. Not one but many eyes will be on you. Keep your cool and do not show any signs of panic. Mind your posture, your body and hand movements. Keep a tab on your facial expressions and keep looking at every panelist while speaking. Lean forward to show your interest in the position applied. Your personality should go out as confident and determined to the panelists. Though it’s natural to be tensed remember that keeping your cool will not only keep you poised but also let you concentrate on the interview adding some plus points in your favor.
4. What to Expect from the Interview?
Now that the introductions just got over and a little bit of research on the panelists was already done, brainstorm to think of the questions each member of the panel might have for you. Your panel has a common goal of making a hire while having varied perspectives with respect to their department’s interest! You can be their best fit if you can think from their point of views. For example, An HR person from the panel might want to check if you are a good hire from the company’s cultural perspective, while an operations person would want to check your technical/business skills, the finance personnel might want to see if you can operate optimally with minimum funds and budget to your credit. Practicing the answers to such questions can definitely make you a winner.
5. How to answer?
A volley of questions let off your way from the panel, the multitasker in you is probably struggling by now to even remember a few. Phew! One mistake and there goes your job!! First and foremost, utilize the pen and paper you were carrying to the fullest. When an array of questions come your way, please take them one at a time remembering to jot it down on the piece of paper. Answer one by one, not ignoring any question in the process. Incomplete answers aren’t acceptable, so give complete answers. In case a question is not clear, don’t feel ashamed to ask for clarity!! Look at everyone while answering back to one panelist’s question. Practice engaging and involving answers joining the dots around all the questions, making it relevant for all the interviewers in the process. Avoid arguments of any sort and accept a feedback with a smile while stating your point too. Actively listening to the questions can really work wonders for you while answering!
6. You Cannot Please Everyone and That’s Ok!
Well, even if you prepare well and give your best answers out, there will always be someone on the panel who would always look displeased and counter question you. Remember that Interviewers act grumpy during an interview to just build up the stress on you. They might have already decided in your favor but still misleading to see how you react to stress. If you feel you are not able to break through to a certain interviewer, let it be and don’t try hard. Even if the interviewer is genuinely not convinced, your hiring will be done per the group’s decision, rather concentrate on the ones who look already satisfied.
7. What’s Your Beautiful Question?
Finally, you know the interview has reached its last leg when the interviewers sweetly ask you to ask them questions. Some people simply don’t ask or ask really silly questions. But remember this is your chance to know more about the organization and also impress the panel with your intelligence. Hence come prepared with brilliant questions which will show your interest and also let you gather required information about the interview or company. It would be great If a single question can be put forward to all the panelists at the same time. Choose wisely in case of an individual question to one of the panelists. A good question can be something like, “I am wondering who is a major threat to the growth of your company during current times?”
8. Thank You Notes
Most candidates don’t realize how important it is to thank the panel/interviewers at the end of an interview. Do thank them in person as well as via Individual thank-you e-mails. The Interviewer’s contact information should be gathered during the time of the interview itself by obtaining their business cards. Sending out Thank You Notes not only proves that you are courteous and thankful enough for the panel’s time given to you but also helps you in establishing contacts with the panel.
Practice what you would like to present beforehand itself and your confidence will be at its peak during the panel interview! Better preparation can definitely make you emerge as a winner! All the Best!!