What is an interview panel?
Just like your traditional one-on-one, a panel interview is when an interview candidate answers questions from a group of people before a decision is made on whether or not to hire them. The panel aims to make the best hiring choice possible, so you need to bring your A-game on point when attending a panel interview. Your future supervisor, a human resources representative, or other decision-makers may be on the panel. Each panel member gets the chance to ask you questions about your experience, credentials, and objectives during a panel interview.
Yes, it is pretty nerve-wracking, but if you use the below ways of winning an interview panel, you will get a better chance of standing out from the other interviewees and creating an impression that will get you hired. Here is a guide on how to prepare for a job interview.
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10 Ways of Winning an Interview Panel
1. Dress to impress the interview panel
In a job interview, your skills, qualifications, and personality are most important, but your body language and what you're wearing will be examined first. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make the first one count. Selecting the appropriate attire is equally as crucial as interview preparation. However, it's critical not to overdo it and instead blend in with the company's standard dress code. Also, when you dress appropriately for a job interview, you gain confidence, which is an attractive trait that most recruiters look for.
2. Mind your body language
Interviews are nerve-wracking, and those nerves tend to manifest themselves in our bodies, causing us to hunch, tremble, and blush. The secret to success is having good body language to ensure you seem as confident as ever. While it's challenging enough to keep your cool in front of one interviewer, it's even more important in a group situation with more eyes on you. As a result, in addition to maintaining good posture and using open gestures, you must make eye contact with everyone when responding to their questions. To avoid looking impolite, make greater eye contact with the person who is asking the question. Practice with a few family members while you're eating supper to assist you in learning this technique.
3. Speak up
Let's speak about loudness while we're on the subject of body language. There is typically no reason for you to speak up if it's just you and one other person, especially if that is not your normal speaking voice. However, you may discover that you need to talk louder than usual in a panel interview. It may seem awkward at first, but it's preferable to have to repeat your responses if you're loud and heard. Or, even worse, interviewers who can't hear you will tune you out, thus, it is important to make sure that the interview panel hears you well when you are speaking.
4. Control the pace of the interview
You could feel a little scared as you sit on the opposite side of the panel, with so many people asking you questions. You could even be halfway through a response when another question is thrown at you. This may be a stressful situation. You must regulate the speed of the conversation without looking impolite to succeed in this sort of interview. Thus, if you're in the middle of a sentence and you think your response is essential, say something like, "Before we go on to something else, I would like to end with..." to the person who's asking the new question.
5. Prepare for follow up questions
Panel interviews generally result in a higher number of follow-up questions than usual. Several panellists mean multiple viewpoints, and answers to one interviewer's question may spark the interest of others. Ensure you have enough examples and stories to illustrate your history and expertise to prevent running out of things to say. New people will occasionally join your interview in the middle, and they will, understandably, ask questions that you have already answered. While this may be irritating, you must mentally prepare yourself for a great deal of repetition. Avoid seeming impatient by considering a few other ways to respond to the same topic while maintaining the same basic point. If you are asked where you see yourself in five years, for example, avoid opening your response with "as I previously stated..." and instead offer a clear answer by keeping to the same end objective you indicated earlier.
6. Find out the names of the people that will be interviewing you
When you initially sit down in the panel interview, make a mental note of each person's name. Although it may be challenging, the easiest method to remember someone's name is to repeat it back to them after hearing it. Then attempt to utilize their name within the first couple minutes of answering their interview questions. You will be far more likely to remember it in the long run if you do this.
7. Direct attention to each person on the panel
When you first start the interview, acquire each person's name and then introduce yourself to them. Avoid staring at a single individual when fielding questions, nothing makes you appear more "frozen" than doing so!. Make it a point to relax, smile, and look at the other people in the room. Even if only one person in the group asks you a question, glance around at the others as you respond. This will assist you in projecting a confident image and establishing a connection with the audience.
8. Prepare to answer common questions
Preparation is crucial in any interview, but it's more critical when you're facing a firing squad of questions thrown at you left, right, and centre. As a result, practising responses to typical interview questions and tough ones is critical to ensuring that you bring your A-game. Keep in mind that the panel will most likely be made up of individuals from various departments, each concentrating on a specific topic. An HR manager, for example, will be more concerned with your collaborative skills, whereas your immediate supervisor will be more concerned with the specific technical talents you bring to the table.
9. Research the panellist
Whether it is a phone interview or a screening interview, conducting competitor and business research is a must!. When you know you will be meeting several team members, it is essential to dig into their work history and learn more about their job and responsibilities. If you have already been given some names, that is fantastic!. To better grasp their position, all you need to do is conduct internet research (beginning with the company's website or LinkedIn profile).
10. Engage and ask questions
It is crucial to ask your questions during the interview, not just to learn more about your interviewers but also to determine whether the position is what you expected and whether you'd be a good fit for the company. Remember that an interview is a two-way street, and if you're serious about the position, you will want to know as much as possible.
Questions to ask the interview panel
If you don't prepare good interview questions, the hiring manager may assume you are not interested or haven't prepared. The time to ask questions is generally near the end of the interview. You must have at least two questions prepared.
Here are some questions that you can use to ask the interview panel.
- How will I be trained?
- How long does it take for a team member to feel trained entirely and up to speed?
- What are your suggestions for continuing your professional growth and progress at this company?
- What criteria will be used to assess my performance? Is there a formal and informal feedback system in place?
- Are there any plans for the company's expansion or innovations in the next years?
Even if the bullets are simply the interview questions, it is never pleasant to think of oneself as the focus of a firing squad. However, by establishing a relationship with your interview panel, keeping your composure, dressing properly, you will demonstrate that you are capable of handling any circumstance and that you are confident in yourself.
Kelin Zvomuya is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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