How To Prepare For A Panel Interview

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Panel interviews are held by a group of interviewers, in which the candidate has to answer various questions from the different panel members.

Because of this, it can bring new pressure to an interview. The candidate has to impress not one but potentially 5 interviewers! A difficult task… but with a little preparation, there is no reason for failure.

Here are our top panel interview tips:

A panel interview is used to gain fresh perspective and secondary opinions. It typically occurs following a one-to-one interview in order to assess the candidate responses in more depth. Multiple interviewers can spot something the original interviewer might have missed… the good and the bad!

Some argue a panel interview is fairer. Based on a consensus that multiple opinions will offer a range of different thoughts and which will hopefully minimise bias.

The best way to approach a panel interview

What to expect in the interview

You will be asked one question at one time. So no need to worry that you will be bombarded with 5 different questions all at once. Each panel member will ask you a question (although this is not mandatory), so take your time to answer. If an interviewer does not ask you a question, do not panic! Often they are there just to observe and collate their own thoughts for the end of the interview.

Remember a panel interview is not the same as a group interview. A group interview involves several candidates and not always multiple interviewers.

To help come to a final hiring decision, each interviewer will assess your answers individually then collaboratively join together in a discussion to share their end thoughts.

How to prepare

Do your research! Have a good understanding of every person that will be attending the interview. It will most likely be noted in the interview invitation email the names of the people on the panel. Take this opportunity to research them. Understand their roles, profession, specialities and in turn the type of questions they might ask.

For example, the head of marketing will be more interested in hearing about your interest in the company compared to the marketing manager who will want to understand your specific skills and capabilities.

Top TIPS: Not got time to read the whole article? Read these:

  • Research each panel member on LinkedIn before the interview
  • Acknowledge the person asking you a question and keep eye contact
  • Then engage with all interviewers when answering the question
  • Divide your attention equally between interviewers regardless of the person asking the most questions

Potential interview questions

As traditionally the panel interview comes after a one to one interview, the employer will be keen to keep informal questions to a minimum.

Instead, they want to know everything you can bring to the role, test your skills, abilities and knowledge whilst also determining whether you will make a key member within the potential team.

“Can you tell us about yourself and why you’re here today?”

“Why have you chosen to work here amongst other companies?”

“You mention in your CV you are skilled in customer management, can you provide us with an example of your work?”

The interviewer is looking for more detail in your answer. So be specific, describe a previous scenario and success of the mentioned area.

“What work did your last role involve and how do you plan on transferring those skills into this position?”

Answer: A tricky 2in1 question. Take a moment to gather your thoughts and answer in two parts. First, think of your main past responsibilities that run parallel with the new role. Secondly, use these to answer the second part of the question. There’s not much use mentioning anything that isn’t’ relevant to the job you are interviewing for.

What to do after the interview

Once the interview draws to a close, shake the hand of each panel member and thank them for their time. Simple gestures such as this prove professionalism and kindness that employers are always searching for.

An additional thank you email is also a nice ‘to do’. It can also be an opportunity to send over copies of the presentation, extra information or evidence of previous work that you may have been physically unable to provide during the interview.