You’ve been asked in for a panel interview. Maybe you’re intimidated. Maybe terrified. Maybe you’re not even sure you know what that actually entails. Whatever your level of trepidation, here are three easy steps to getting through your panel interview calmly and in one piece.
Step 1: BEFORE
You have the right to ask who will be on your panel. Do this. Then research each panel member to the best of your ability. You’ll be able to figure out quite a bit and prepare better for what each might be most keen to ask you. What does this particular group of people tell you about what the company is trying to assess?
You can also ask how long (roughly) the interview should last. This will give you a good feeling for how much back-and-forth discussion will be possible, how much space you’ll be given to ask questions, how long your answers can be, etc.
Step 2: DURING
Treat each person on the panel like a person—not just another nameless face. This is not an impersonal wall asking you questions. Each interviewer on your panel is another opportunity to make a human connection and convince that many more people in the company what a great fit you would be.
Be sure to take note of everybody’s name as they are introduced. Write each one down if that helps you remember. When answering questions, speak directly to the individual who asked, but then try and broaden your answer out to make the rest of the panel feel included in the discussion.
Step 3: AFTER
You’ve learned their names and made an effort to connect with each panel member—now thank each one of them sincerely with solid eye contact and a quality handshake. After that, it’s the usual post-interview follow-up procedure. But remember that you need to write one thank you note for each panel member. It seems like a pain, but it’s these little touches that will help set you apart.
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