Guide to Facing a Panel Interview

January 3, 2018

Your palms start sweating at the thought of that upcoming one-on-one interview. So what happens when you have to meet 4 or 5 interviewers at the same time?


If you are an anxious job candidate, a panel interview can be one of the most intimidating things that can happen to you.You might feel like you’re being interrogated (for a crime you didn’t commit) by a group of complete strangers. However, remember that if you are selected for a panel interview, it means that you are one of the top candidates! You cannot let go of the opportunity only because of your apprehensions and fear.


Follow the below pointers in order to face a panel interview successfully:


1. Ensure to do your research well


Imagine walking into a room where 4-5 people are seated. You don’t know their names, or what they do, but you know that you have to answer a bunch of questions asked by them. Makes you feel nervous, right?


Well, it won’t if you do your background research well.


Before facing the panel interview, ask your recruiter about the interviewers who will be taking your interview. Once you know the names, you can visit the company website or their social media profiles to get an idea of what they look like. That way, you won’t be confused when you go in for the interview and you will know exactly who is who, and that can boost your confidence.


Also,when you know the positions of each of the panelists, you will also have an idea about the questions that you can expect from each of them. For example, if one of them is a group manager, one a HR representative and one a senior co-worker, each of them will have a different set of questions for you.  And when you know the designations of the panelists, you will be better prepared with your answers.


2. Don’t be afraid


If you observe closely, there is not much difference between a personal interview and a panel interview.You are asked questions and you have to answer them. Yet most candidates are more nervous when it comes to a panel interview.


The only reason being - panel interview involves more number of people, and just like in public speaking,you would not want to be embarrassed or judged in front of people. Therefore the first thing that you need to do is overcome your fears.


Do not let fearful emotions control your mind when you are preparing yourself for a panel interview. Tell yourself that the worst thing that can happen is you being unable to answer questions properly and failing the interview.In such a case, you can always take it as a learning experience and prepare better for your next interview. This pragmatic approach to the whole situation will always help you remain more calm, composed and focused.


3. Know your answers well


If you do your research well, you’ll have a fair idea about the questions that you could be asked in a panel interview, so accordingly make your preparations. Another important point to remember in this regard is to ensurethat you are familiar with everything that you have mentioned in your resume.


For example, if you have mentioned about a campaign you were  a part of 2 years back in an organization, and you’re asked about it in your panel interview, it would be extremely embarrassing if you can’t recall anything about it or answer anything related to it! You will be asked questions based on your resume/cover letter, so be very familiar with the details of your past jobs, posts, projects and achievements.


4. Presentation is important


Only knowing the answers to the question is not enough, how you present them in front of the panel is equally important. You can nail it in the first step itself by recording your audio profile on Talk about your experience and strengths in the 2 minute recording, and create a great first impression even before you face the panel!


Be enthusiastic (but not over-excited) when answering the panel. Show your excitement subtly about a new job. If you have an energetic and positive attitude, it can suppress your fear and instill confidence.


Keeping yourself updated with industry jargons will also help prevent an embarrassing situation in a panel interview. You can visit the company’s website to have a knowledge about the terminologies used by the organization. Look up the meanings if you are not familiar with any word/term. This will ensure that you do not fumble or get confused during the interview, instead be confident in your answers.


You can also take your own notes to a panel interview.


5. Pay attention to your body language


Your body language speaks a lot about you and it is a very important deciding factor in whether score a hit or a miss.


When it comes to panel interviews, paying equal attention to all the panelists can be a difficult job. However, you have to make sure that you maintain eye contact with all the interviewers. That not only marks respect, but will also portray you as a confident person.


Focus on the person who is asking you the question and while answering, make brief eye contact with everyone. Acknowledge the questions with a slight nod before you get on with the answers.


6. End it successfully


Remember that all’s well that ends well - so end your panel interview well so that you can seal a good impression in the mind of the interviewers.


Shake hands and thank each person by taking their name, once the interview comes to an end. You can also ask for their business cards so that you can send a ‘thank you’ email later.


If you are sending a thank - you email, do it within a day after the interview. You can also customise every mail based on the interest and designation of the person you’re sending it to.


Don’t be afraid of panel interviews. Take it as an positive opportunity, be calm, honest and confident and you’ll surely get through it successfully. Download the interviewfox mobile app and stand a chance to get noticed by reputed employers.