How to get prepared for a panel interview
Panel interviews can be daunting when you are faced with questions from a number of interviewers all with their own agenda. Employers often use this interview style as it increases the accuracy of finding the most suitable candidate for the job.
The panellist are looking at how well you deal with stress, how you interact and communicate with the panel members. Ultimately they want to know if you can do the job, do you fit the company culture and if there a risk factor involved in employing you. Here are some useful tips on how to deal with panel interviews.
Find out about the Interviewers
- Find out about the people on the panel.
- Do internet research, use LinkedIn, company website etc.
- Try to find a common interest.
- Tailor you answers and questions around these.
Prepare and Practise
- Prepare and practise out loud your responses to the most common interview questions.
- Create a mock panel interview session with friends and family.
- Watch your body language. Practice maintaining eye contact, good posture and leaning in.
- Talk in a natural, confident manner. Think positively and take your time when responding.
- Manage your nerves. Use simple calming techniques like breathing slowly and deeply. Drop your shoulders and smile.
Engage the Whole Panel
- Aim to engage the whole panel.
- Divide your eye contact across the panel, regardless of whether they ask you a question or are purely taking notes.
- Watch out for the quiet note taker, often this person with have the most influence.
- Try to use the interviewer’s names where appropriate.
- Remember the panellists want you to do well.
- Don’t forget to prepare questions, they can help to show your level of interest in the job.
- Based on your research, you can tailor your questions to specific panel members and their roles within the company.
- A good strategy is to cross reference a question with one that has already been asked by a different member.
At the end of the interview, shake hands and thank each panellists personally, again using each person's name and consider a follow up thank you email.
For more helpful information to support your job search, see our Job Seeking Tips.