You finally landed that coveted interview at the company that has your dream job! You are a mixture of excited and nervous, especially once you find out it is a panel interview!
Don’t worry. With the right approach and preparation, this can be a rewarding opportunity to showcase your skills and suitability for the job.
Panel interviews, involving multiple interviewers, are common in many job selection processes, and understanding how to handle them effectively can significantly improve your chances of success. I often tell clients to prepare for a panel interview even if you are told it will be 1-1. Situations change and you may or may not be notified. Always be ready!
Here are some tips to help you excel at your next panel interview.
- Research the Panel: Ask who in the company you will be interviewing with. Then take that information to do a little research. Look at their bios and search them on LinkedIn. Understanding their roles and backgrounds can provide valuable insights into their perspectives and what they might be looking for in a candidate. This will also give you an idea of their professional backgrounds and interests so you can carry on the conversation and be more authentic.
- Practice: Panel interviews often involve a diverse set of interviewers, each with unique priorities. Practice your answers to encompass a wide range of perspectives. Tailor your responses to address various concerns that different panel members might have. This adaptability demonstrates your ability to engage with diverse stakeholders.
- Master Communication: Your body language speaks volumes. Maintain eye contact with the person who asked the question initially, but also include other panel members by occasionally shifting your gaze or directing your answer to them as well. Be mindful of your posture, gestures, and facial expressions, ensuring they convey confidence and professionalism. This inclusive approach demonstrates your ability to engage with a team.
- Manage Stress and Control Nerves: Panel interviews can be overwhelming, so managing stress is crucial. Take deep breaths, maintain a composed demeanor, and remind yourself that the panel wants to learn more about you. Practice mindfulness or relaxation techniques to stay calm and focused.
- Prepare Comprehensive Answers: Be ready to answer a wide array of questions, from technical to behavioral. Anticipate questions related to your experience, problem-solving abilities, teamwork skills, and how you handle challenges. Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to structure your responses effectively.
- Ask Questions: Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the panel. Engaging them in a conversation showcases your interest in the role and the company. Ask about the company culture, team dynamics, or the challenges the team might be facing. It demonstrates your proactive approach and genuine interest.
- Follow Up After the Interview: Send a thank-you email to each panel member individually. Personalize your message, referencing specific points or discussions from the interview. This not only shows gratitude but also reinforces your interest in the role.
This is an opportunity not only for the panel to assess you but also for you to evaluate if the company is the right fit for you. Approach it with confidence, showcase your skills, and let your personality shine. With these tips, you’re well-equipped to excel in your next panel interview.
If you would like to practice with someone, please reach out! We can make sure you are feeling confident before your big day!