A job interview is intimidating as is, but when you’re put in a situation where you’re doing a panel interview, it’s only normal to feel a slight wave of panic wash over you. Instead of just facing the hiring manager, you’ve got four or five sets of eyes staring back at you, listening intently as you answer their questions. Though the panel interview can be intimidating, with proper preparation, you’ll be able to ace it. Here are some tips for nailing this unique interview situation:
Know the role that each person plays
Before you head into a panel interview, try to figure out who will be sitting on the panel, and how each person is involved with the company. This helps you to direct your attention more effectively as you give your responses. For example, when you know that Susie handles the marketing, when you’re responding to a question about social media, you can direct your attention more heavily to her.
Give each individual equal attention
Make sure that each person feels as if they’re getting some attention when you’re delivering your responses during the interview. Move your eye contact enough so that you’re locking eyes with each member of the panel regularly. It may be tempting to focus only on one person, or to simply look straight ahead or at the ground, but eye contact is just as important during a panel interview as it is in a one-on-one interview.
Expect to repeat yourself
When you’ve got a handful of different people asking you questions, you may end up having to repeat yourself more than you would if you were just fielding questions from one person. Be prepared for this, and don’t show frustration or confusion about it, even if you feel this way.
Try to get a sense of how the panel members feel
If you can read the room quickly, it allows you to direct your energy more effectively. For instance, if you suspect that one person is indifferent about bringing you on board, you can give them more attention in order to get them to understand why you’d be a great fit for the open position.
Have you been in a panel interview before? How did you handle the situation? Share with us in the comments!