Interviews are never easy at the best of times but when they take the form of a panel interview, they can appear even worse. The thought of entering a room and facing a whole group of people can be pretty daunting for anyone – even the most confident amongst us. However, it needn’t be like that at all. Here are some basic tips on how to handle panel interviews that we hope will help.
Prepare and Research
If you are informed in advance by the organisation or recruiter that you will be facing a panel interview, then you should do all that you can to prepare. Ask if you can be advised who the panel will consist of – that way you can do a little digging around as it were. You can check social media and sites such as LinkedIn and find out what you can about the people who will be interviewing you. Having a little background knowledge of your interviewing panel in advance will go a long way towards helping you prepare and get ready for the interview. That in turn will have a big impact on your confidence.
First Impressions Matter
When you enter the interview room, it is important to make a positive first impression – panel interview or not. The difference however with a panel interview though is the fact that although one interviewer will generally take the lead and stand up to greet you, the others will more than likely sitting observing. Make sure that you enter the room exuding confidence – greet the entire panel and shake hands with each of them. Smile and be polite at all times. Your aim after all is to ensure that you convey a positive impression to each of your interviewers – not just one or two of them!
Body language counts
In every interview body language is a really important factor and panel interviews are no different. In most cases, one of the panel will ask you a question whilst the others observe and take note of your answers. They will be mindful of everything from how you maintain eye contact through to how you are actually facing the panel in your chair. Always ensure that when answering you address the entire panel – not just the person asking the question. Never turn your body away from some of the panel and only in the direction of one or other of the interviewers. They all matter as does the impression that your body language conveys.
Don’t get Distracted
In panel interviews you may find that one of the interviewers never ever asks you a question – they simply take notes and observe. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by their constant scribbling or note taking. Also, don’t be put off if they hardly make eye contact with you due to the fact that they are busy writing. The key in a panel interview is to remain steadfast and focused on your performance regardless of what distractions may be taking place in the room.
Leave on a positive
When the interview is over, don’t be so keen to get out of the room that you forget your manners. Be polite and thank and shake hands with each member of the interviewing panel. It is important that you continue to convey a professional and positive impression at every stage of the interview, so don’t let yourself down by rushing things at the end and thereby leaving them with a poor or negative impression of you as a potential employee.
We hope that by highlighting how to handle panel interviews, we have helped those of you who may be getting ready to face just such a thing. Best of luck!