A panel job interview can certainly be intimidating. But with a little preparation you CAN blow away the competition and get the job offer.
There are various types of job interviews, from the traditional one on one meeting with a human resource professional or supervisor to telephone interviews, etc. But by far, one of the most off-putting types of job interviews is the panel job interview.
The panel interview consists of several interviewers in one room with you posing questions one after the other, rather than having you meet one on one sequentially with each one.
The interviewers often include the following personnel:
The interviewers could just all be management level, too.
Panel job interviews are known for rapid questions... with an eye to see how well an applicant handles such stressful situations.
Though this type of interview is definitely an advantage for the interviewers, it can also make you look good enough to eliminate the competition... provided you handle it right.
Preparing for the interview is critical to your success.
Preparation starts as soon as you submit your resume and application for the position. It's important to recognize that preparation is done no matter what type the interview you ultimately have.
Once you find out that you will have a panel job interview, begin preparing by writing down the time and place and repeating it back to the person you are speaking with to be certain you have it correctly. This is also a good time to try to find out the names of the interviewers, if you can.
Next, you'll start the more in-depth preparations. The ten tips below will help you excel in your future panel job interviews...
Learn everything you can about the company, the department you would be working in and the specific position you are applying for. This research will help you think of questions to ask and answers to give, as well as helping you feel a little more at ease with the interviewers. And employers are always impressed when job candidates appear to know what a company is about.
Rehearse your answers (and questions), visualizing each step of the interview. Practice every part of the interview you can, from the introductions to the close of the interview. Friends and family can help you with role playing to get you accustomed to rapid questions. This is a good time to formulate the questions you would like to ask, such as those regarding the specific duties you would be expected to carry out and what procedures there might be that relate to certain aspects of the job.
Dress for success. Use care in selecting your clothing for the interview. You can't go wrong by going with business dressy. This means coat and tie for men. For women, a modest dress, or a business type suit of slacks or skirt with a jacket are great choices. The first impression needs to be one of a person who is serious about doing his or her best for the company, so jeans and t-shirt or anything too revealing won't do... even if such casual attire will be acceptable once you get the job. Get more dressing for an interview tips
Arrive promptly for the interview. Even better, arrive a few minutes early. Not too early though, or the wait could be long enough for you to begin fidgeting. About ten minutes is a good rule of thumb. Just long enough for you to relax and not feel rushed. Present yourself to the receptionist as soon as you arrive. Be polite and amiable when giving your name and the purpose of you visit. This is where you begin showing one of your best assets – your smile.
Bring the tools you'll need for a productive interview. It's a good idea to have extra copies of your resume for each interviewer in case they don't bring one with them. Don't assume that each person will already have a copy. Even if this is the case, it will show preparedness to have them with you. (I remember one interview I went to, the interviewer was asking me all kinds of off-the-wall questions that weren't related at all to my job history. When she finally called me Judith, I realized she wasn't even looking at MY resume!)
You'll also want to take a note pad for writing notes during the interview. Taking notes during the panel job interview will demonstrate a serious attitude about the position.
Make a good impression during introductions. Greet each interviewer with a firm handshake and a smile. Call the person by name, not only as a courtesy to the person, but also as a way of connecting the name to the person so you can call each interviewer by name during the course of the interview.
Answer questions fully but be careful not to ramble. Giving good detail in answers is good but don't add irrelevant information. This is where your research on the company will help tremendously. Your answer can be relevant to that specific company. You can also make relevant reference to answers given to other questions.
Be sure to make eye contact throughout the interview. This is very important, as eye contact conveys confidence and leadership qualities, not to mention honesty and integrity. When answering each question, start and end by making eye contact with the questioner, then also make eye contact with the other interviewers. It should appear natural, so don't just frantically keep looking from one person to another randomly.
Ask relevant questions regarding the company, the department and the specific duties your job will entail. That's right, ask what your job will entail. You should ask questions as though you already have been hired for the position. One very good question to ask is to be given a tour so you can see your work environment. You have the right AND responsibility to ask questions. The interview is as much for your benefit as for that of the employer.
Close the interview on a note of strength. This can be just as important as how you start a panel job interview. Again, firmly shake each interviewer's hand and thank each one by name for the pleasure of the opportunity to learn more about the company and the job. Maintain your poise until you are completely out of the building.
After the interview, be sure to follow up with a thank you letter to each interviewer.
Following these tips can help you make the most of a panel job interview, turning it to work in your favor.