Today’s job market is harsh, with hundreds of applicants applying for the same job. The heavy competition also gives recruiters a hard time choosing the right candidate. In times like these, a traditional interview simply won’t cut it; recruiters need something more to choose the best talent amongst the crowd. This is where a panel interview comes to play- it is where you are interviewed not by one but by multiple interviewers.
Panel interviews might sound intimidating, but they don’t have to be. Continue reading to know the ins and outs of panel interviews and how to prepare for one.
What Are Panel Interviews?
A panel interview is a popular type of interview in the corporate world. Under it, a candidate is assessed by two or more interviewers who make up the panel. The panel usually consists of HR representatives, managers, team heads, and other important people in the organisation.
Every interviewer on the panel will likely ask you at least one question each. In case there are many potential candidates for a single role, you might be interviewed along with a group of other candidates.
Common Panel Interview Questions
In a panel interview, the interviewer might ask you a mix of traditional and behavioural questions. The goal of the recruiter here is to understand the candidate’s personality, goals, career background, and experience.
Here are some common panel interview questions to prepare for:
- Why are you interested in working for our company?
- Tell me about yourself.
- Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Why did you choose this career field?
- Speaking of workplace obstacles, how did you deal with toxic colleagues/work culture in your previous job(s)?
- How have you handled a difficult situation with a coworker?
- Have you ever felt dissatisfied with your work? If yes, how did you deal with it?
These above-mentioned examples are some common panel interview questions. The interviewers could ask you any type of question to assess your worthiness.
Here are a few topics based on which the interviewers could frame their questions:
Tip: Make a note of all your accomplishments from past experience where you displayed your strengths and leadership skills and overcame challenges. Use these to frame your answers.
(Continue reading below)
Behavioural Interview: What It Is & How You Can Ace It
The Five Most Commonly Asked Interview Questions And How To Answer Them
How Much Honesty Is ‘Too Much’ Honesty In The Workplace?
How To Prepare For A Panel Interview
The initial preparation for a panel interview is usually the same as any interview. You update your resume, read the job description carefully, do a background check on the company, structure your answers for common interview questions, and make a list of possible questions to ask your interviewers in the end.
But there are few other things you need to keep in mind to be fully prepared for a panel interview.
5 Panel Interview Tips
- Know your interviewers
- Engage with the panel
- Be more conversational
- Be ready for follow-up questions
- Ask questions
Know Your Interviewers
Since panel interviews are conducted by more than two interviewers, it is always good to know who the panellists are going to be in advance. Try to find out their names, designations, career backgrounds, professional accomplishments, etc. LinkedIn is a great source for such information.
This does not only create a good first impression but also helps in building a good rapport with the panellists.
Engage With The Panel
Instead of just answering questions, focus on being engaging. Make conversations and ask questions whenever something pops up in your mind. Keep eye contact when you speak, and distribute your attention equally to the interviewers while answering questions.
Note: Always be mindful of your body language and how you’re communicating with it. Eye contact, nodding, and smiling is the way to go!
Be More Conversational
Gone are the days when standard question-answer sessions would do the trick. Recruiters want to know you beyond your professional background.
By taking a conversational approach while answering panel interview questions, you are providing your interviewers with something to marinate on.
Try using examples for your past experiences, and keep referring to the points discussed earlier in the interview. This will show them that you’ve been keeping up.
Be Ready For Follow-Up Questions
Follow-up questions are not uncommon in panel interviews. With multiple decision-makers come multiple perspectives. Hence, what satisfies one interviewer might not satisfy another. So, you can expect an interviewer to ask you follow-up questions based on an answer you’ve previously given.
Ask Questions Of Your Own
An interview is not a one-way street. As a deserving candidate, you are entitled to freely put forward any questions that you may have. People usually think asking questions to an interviewer might come across as rude, but it’s quite the opposite. Asking questions during an interview demonstrates your interest in the job which, from a recruiters perspective, is an impressive trait.
Try to come up with a few job/company-related questions in advance during your research process.
Here are a few examples of questions you should be asking.
- What does a typical day look like for someone in the position I am applying for?
- What are the opportunities for growth that would benefit both me as well as your organisation?
Like everything, panel interviews also have their pros and cons. Here are few to name:
It is always a good sign if you’re being invited to a panel interview. It means your resume or a previous phone interview with the hiring manager was impressive enough for the company to invest their time and more staff members in the process.
As mentioned earlier, panel interviews are very popular among top corporate companies.
With several candidates applying to one position, making a good decision can get difficult. This type of interview helps the decision-makers assess the candidates together, which reduces the risk of a bad hire.
That’s it – with all this information, you’re all set to ace your panel interview.
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