Does the thought of a panel interview leave you cold? Many people don’t like any type of interview, but a panel interview can really be overwhelming for some people.
Here are some tips for not just getting through the panel interview, but coming through with flying colors:
1) Make eye contact with everyone. You need to connect with everyone on the panel. Making eye contact is one way to do that. Even though you may be responding to one panel member’s question, you need to pan the group and make an effort to look every panel member in the eye.
2) Try to win over everyone. Generally speaking, everyone on the panel has some input as to who the chosen candidate will be that the company makes an offer to. Given that reality, you can’t afford to simply play to the person who seems the friendliest. The person who seems the least friendly could well be the person who wields the most power. That’s why you need to try to win over all the panel members to the extent that you are able.
3) Pay attention to everyone’s body language. Since every panel member is important, it is critical to pay close attention to everyone’s body language. You may notice that all (or most) of the panel members seem to be deferential to one particular person. If that is the case, it is highly likely that that one person has the most power in the group, even if the person’s job title doesn’t indicate that.
4) Develop a list of questions based on the roles of the different panel members. Very often companies will include on the panel your future boss, a co-worker or two, and at least one other person from another department that you will have regular interaction with if you are hired. Therefore, it is to your benefit to think about questions ahead of time that will be appropriate for the different panel members. You would ask your potential boss different questions than you would ask potential co-workers, for example.
5) Send a thank you note to everyone. So that you don’t forget the names of the panel members and so that you will be able to send thank you notes to each one, at the end of the interview you should ask for everyone’s business cards. Again, because each person is important, each person should receive a thank you letter from you. You don’t want a situation where you send a thank you letter to one person, and that person has a conversation with other panel members, and the others learn that they didn’t receive a thank you letter.
*Need an edge for an upcoming panel interview? Call 877-743-9521 to help you ace the interview!