Friday, April 24, 2009

How to handle a panel interview.

Panel interviews have always been used to select or eliminate candidates. Sometimes candidates know beforehand but sometimes they learn of it when they arrive for an interview.

It’s always important that you, as the candidate ask beforehand, who will be at the meeting and their titles. This will help get you in the “zone”. It would be helpful to ask what kind of interview you will have. Is it a behavioural interview or are they looking for your technical expertise? Interviewing is nerve-racking enough without having a panel interview sprung upon you.

Make real eye-contact with everyone. No one is to be neglected. I had a client contact me to tell me that the candidate addressed and looked at the male in the group, who was not the highest ranking member of the team present at the interview.

As in any type of interview, it would be a good idea to ask good questions. If the interviewers are from different functional areas, try to address your questions to the different areas.

Reread the job description and try to anticipate what each person on the panel might seek from this interview.

Don’t forget the following:
 Get a business card from each person-preferably before. This will help you remember names and functions
 Shake each person’s hand and give them your full attention for the length of time that you address them. The tendency might be to move along a line without focusing on each person. Make an individual connection.
 Practice, practice, practice. It would help you to write out a list of anticipated questions and their responses.
 Don’t sweat; generally the interviewers are not there to make you look bad. They are actually looking for the right person. They want it to go well.
 Don’t forget to smile.

Look at a panel interview as an opportunity to shorten the interview process. Instead of coming back for 3 or 4 interviews, you have the 1 and perhaps 1 more and a decision is made.

Happy Selling

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