Ace panel interviews by…

Now as you may, or may not know, I have been to many interviews since graduating since university. Up until now (EXCITING), the situation was that there was either someone better suited for the job in question, or I wasn’t 100% into the job role.

With this interview experience behind me, and now looking back at the interviews I’ve had, panel interviews are becoming increasingly common as the job market gets a lot more competitive and companies look for rigorous ways to screen job seekers and discover the best talent.

Panel interviews may make more sense for the companies, but as an interviewee, it is so daunting, having to try to impress more than one person based on first impressions, and you certainly feel outnumbered if nothing else.

The whole idea behind a panel interview is to put an interviewee under more pressure in comparison to a one to one interview. Sound daunting to you? Well relax! I am here to save the day with some tips on ways for candidates to shine in this situation.

Before the interview – Make sure you study the job specifications and your CV and prepare as far as possible for likely questions.

It goes without saying that interviewers will expect you to have knowledge of the job role, the company, services and competitors and everything else inbetween. All of this information can be found online, on the company website, social media accounts and in the media.

You are also more than likely to be asked for examples of when you demonstrated certain skills or experience. Have three to five success stories up your sleeve to bring out on the day and make them results focused. Think about your individual contribution and approach led to a positive result.

Think about your appearance, particularly as you will be judged side by side against other candidates. If in doubt, smart clothing is usually the best way to go. Pay attention to details such as tidy hair, polished shoes and subtle make up.

Finally, check the finer details like the journey – always plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early; being late for any interview is inexcusable.

The day of the interview – rule number one is to engage with the whole panel. When you first get into the room, look at all the interviewers, try and remember the names of each and address them accordingly.

When sitting down, maintain an open, positive and engaged body position. Don’t fidget, sit up straight and lean slightly forward in your chair!

When asked a question, maintain eye contact with the person asking it, but when you answer, address the whole panel. This will indicate that you’re confident and will help to build a rapport with everybody in the room.

Be optimistic but careful to not come across too confident. There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence so wear a smile, relax and consider the tone and style in which you engage with the panel.

Once the interview comes to a close, thank all participants promptly and gather business cards if this is an option. It is also a good idea to send a thank you email later that day.

So, there you have it. Now it is in front of you, read, read and read again. Remember, panel interviews are nothing to dread as long as you prepare, go armed with a positive attitude and plenty of success stories then you should have nothing to worry about!


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