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How to Prepare for a Panel Interview

June 27, 2019

When it comes to interviewing, having to meet with more than one person, can be extremely nerve-wracking. 

So many questions - Who do you look at?  What happens if they start firing multiple questions at you?  What if you forget their names?

Today, we will dive in and discuss some of the best ways to handle a panel interview. 

Before we begin, let’s look at why we are meeting with multiple people at one time?  There are a few reasons for this.  First, each person’s opinion of who you will be meeting with will be important in the decision to hire you or not.  Therefore, the impression you make to each person matters.  Second, if you get the job, you may be working with some, if not all of these people and it will be good to see how your personalities match up. Third, the firm may want to see how you handle stressful situations.   

The tips!

When it comes to panel interviews, preparation is key. First, you need to find out who will be present in the interview. You will need to do your best to find out what you can on each person and their professional background.  See if you can review their profile on the firm’s website or, take a look at their profiles on LinkedIn.  You want to become familiar with their role, responsibilities and type of work at the firm. 

Try to remember each of their names so that you can address them by name in the interview.  If they give you their business card, you should keep it on the table in front of you so that you can refer to it from time to time, should you forget their name.  You can place their card at the edge of your resume or folder. 

Regarding resumes, be sure to bring enough resumes for each of the interviewers as well as one for yourself.

When it comes to answering questions, you want to direct your answer initially to the person who asked the question. If your reply is longer than 20 seconds, you’ll need to engage the other interviewers as well. In a controlled, calm manner, you will want to shift your gaze and scan the other members.  When you do this, try not to jerk your eyes, face or body, as this will be distracting.

Another tip that will help you succeed during a panel interview is to control the pace of the conversation. It is important not to rush your answers. When asked a question, pause for a second to really consider what you want to say before responding. But make sure you answer briefly and concisely.  Don’t ramble. 

Also, prepare for follow up questions. It is best to prepare several examples to explain your background and experience, just in case you are asked a follow up question by one of the other interviewers. The more examples, the better, to help strengthen the claims you make about yourself. 

Hope this helped!  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions around this or have an interview coming up and would like to discuss further, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck.

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