Panel Interview

Preparing for a panel interview is very difficult from the usual preparation for a one to one interview. Therefore if there is a chance that you will be required to attend a group interview then please prepare well for it so that you do not flounder at the sight of two or more interviewers waiting to fire a barrage of questions at you.

By the way if that scared you, please don't be scared!

It's a little different but not something you cannot ace with good preparation and the right mindset. Here you will learn the finer nuances of group interviews and some simple actions that will help you come off with flying colors in group interviews.

What are Group Interviews or Panel Interviews?

Group interviews otherwise known as panel interviews are the ones where there are more than one interviewers or interviewees. Typically group interviews are divided into following two categories

  • One Interviewer - More than One Interviewee
  • Multiple Interviewers - One Interviewee

One Interviewer - More than One Interviewee

This is where there is one interviewer interviewing a multiple number of interviewees. In the industry however, these types of group interviews are not very common. These are used by companies to introduce themselves to job aspirants or applicants and field any questions regarding the company or job profile that might be generic in nature and is of common interest to the group.

Multiple Interviewers - One Interviewee

These interviews are widely accepted in the industry. Here a single job applicant is interviewed by a panel or group of experts. The advantage interviewers have in this type of an interview is that the mistake of hiring an incompetent candidate is significantly reduced as there are more than one people gauging the response of the interviewee.

Moreover this type of group interview provides them the flexibility to brainstorm and decide the candidature of an individual among themselves. Sometimes a panel is formed out of people from various backgrounds and expertise. For example if you are interviewed by a panel of three members, chances are one of them will be a technology genius looking to assess your technical prowess while another may be a people manager looking forward to your ability to work with a diverse group of people in a team. This gives the interviewing panel the opportunity to assess various facets of your personality and then allocate the job if deemed suitable.

What do Interviewers Look for in a Panel Interview?

In a panel interview, the interviewers look for more or less the same parameters that they would look for in a face to face interview. The only difference being that the efficiency of selecting a good candidate is significantly improved. Here is a list of traits interviewers look for

  • Your appearance and the way you carry yourself
  • Your communication skills and that include your ability to listen and process information.
  • Your technical capabilities if the job you are applying for demands any of that
  • Your presentation skills
  • Your ability to gel into a team and work alongside other people
  • Your adaptability and learning ability
  • Your interest level or passion. This can be easily gauged in the way you get involved in the interview by the trained and seasoned eyes of the interviewer.

Tips to Ace a Panel Interview

Here are a few tips that will help you ace the next panel interview lined up

  • When you enter the interview room greet each of the individual panel members by saying "Hello", "Good Morning" or "Good Afternoon" as appropriate. Look in their eyes while greeting and if possible shake hands with each of them.
  • Don't wear your worry or horror of facing an interview panel on your face. Have a pleasant smile on the face and be calm all through.
  • While asking questions or answering them make sure you do not focus on one individual. Make eye contact with all the members and give each of them their due share of attention.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and make sure your confidence is reflected in your body language.
  • Once the interview is over thank each of the panel members individually and tell them how much you appreciate them taking time off of their schedule for interviewing you.