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Panel Interview Tips: Prepare and Master It Like a Pro!

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panel interview

What is a panel interview? Nothing but a regular job interview where you are supposed to answer the questions asked by a group of interviewers. This panel of interviewers eventually make the final hiring decision. Through a panel interview, your hiring manager(s) obtain a tangible perspective about your readiness for the job role. Your interview panelists can be employees of the prospective employer or they could be visiting interviewers from an external agency or body.

Definition of a panel interview

Panel interviews are like individual or face-to-face interviews. As mentioned already, two or more interviewers are present in the room during a panel interview. Members of the interview panel are employee of your prospective employer or routinely interact with the HR person who needs to fill the job vacancy and who know the organization and its culture well.

Advantages of a panel interview

Panel interviews have their own set of advantages for you as an interviewee to bank on.

  1. It precludes personal biases
  2. It is free of first impression
  3. It keeps the assessment process fair
  4. It follows consistency in regard to the questions asked
  5. It saves time for you as there is no need to conduct second or third interviews
  6. The interviewers are allowed to ask only a limited number of questions
  7. Each interviewer picks different characteristics, strengths and weaknesses and together (hopefully) make a much fairer judgement.

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Disadvantages of a panel interview

  1. All answers you deliver should follow a time constraint
  2. Job candidates sometimes become more nervous during a panel interview
  3. Greater the number of interviewers, more complex would the selection process be

Types of panel interview

Panel interviews are to judge or assess key factors in you like the ability to do the job. By structuring the interview as a panel, parameters such as the ones mentioned below will be judged in a candidate like you.

  • How well you understand the role and requirements
  • Whether you have any experience in the form of an internship
  • Your personality and how it fits into the company culture
  • Whether you’re able to communicate effectively with everyone & address concerns each person may have

People on the panel

Following is a list of people who would be on the panel that interviews you.

  • Your future manager
  • Your future co-worker
  • A manager or team member from another parallel team
  • An HR professional from the company

💡Quick Tip: Try to memorize the names and titles of people on your panel so that you can navigate the interview more effectively. Try and connect with all the members of the panel and make eye contact while speaking.  

Organizations that conduct panel interviews

Following are some industries where there is the maximum probability of facing a panel interview:

  • Academic institutions like schools and universities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Financial services and consulting companies
  • Government bodies
  • Agencies and NGOs

Check out our ready to use teacher resume samples.

A panel interview can be intimidating at the start but eventually it turns out to be a great tool to comprehend  the culture and dynamics of a prospective employer. Hence, like any regular face-to-face interview, research ahead of time about the company and also practice your answers aloud. Answer every panelist confidently and make eye contact with everyone while speaking.

7 tips to ace your first panel interview

  1. Try to figure out who would be in your panel interview in advance
  2. Carry enough resume copies for all your interview panelists
  3. Have an immaculate body language and make eye contact with the interview panelists
  4. Remember the names of all the interview panelists and address them with their first names
  5. Ask questions whenever you get a chance to make the most of this interaction
  6. Take notes when they answer your questions to make them feel important

Thank each panel member and shake hands formally with them before leaving the interview room This is your chance to build a rapport with a few of them so that they select you at the end.

Now that your panel interview jitters have been taken care of, prepare well for interview questions asked in panel interviews like ‘Describe yourself’, ‘What are your hobbies?‘, ‘What makes you angry?‘, ‘What is corporate social responsibility?‘ , ‘What is teamwork?‘ or ‘Why do you want this job?‘ or if its a KPO/BPO interview, prepare for their questions accordingly as well. Also, know what to ask your panel interviewer. Prepare some questions to ask them as well.

All the best!

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