Four Tips for Acing the Panel Interview

Stacie Garlieb
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways
  • The best way to be calm and prepared for a panel interview is to know how many people will be interviewing you and what their roles are.

  • The less shy or stressed out you seem to be, the more you will be perceived as confident and competent.

  • Ultimately, the candidates who show confidence and professionalism toward the interviewers will move on to the next stage in the hiring process—and closer to a job offer.

Stepping into a panel interview—in which more than two people are interviewing a job candidate at the same time—can be a little more challenging than a one-on-one meeting. While the basic principles are still the same whether you’re speaking to one person, or to a group of managers who are evaluating your skills and background, there are some specific ways to prepare for a panel interview so that you aren’t caught off guard. Here’s how:

1. Know your audience. The best way to be calm and prepared for a panel interview is to know how many people will be interviewing you and what their roles are. Contact the person coordinating the interview to ask who is involved in the interview a couple of days in advance. Bring résumé copies for everyone.  

2. Introduce yourself and establish familiarity. Some candidates just walk into the room and sit right down in the chair. This is only going to show the interviewers that you are nervous and are just following every other candidate’s pattern. By introducing yourself when you first walk in and shaking each interviewer’s hand, you present a calm and professional presence to the employer. Also, this is a good time for you to give each person a copy of your résumé.

3. Balance your eye contact. As you answer questions and explain the skills that you have, look around at each of the interviewers. At the end of your answer, look back at the person who originally asked the question. Be careful not to look like a bird and “peek” at the interviewers. The less shy or stressed out you seem to be, the more you will be perceived as confident and competent.

4. Focus on the value that you can provide to the employer. Don’t let the number of people in the room distract you from including details and results in the examples that you share about past experiences. Ultimately, the candidates who show confidence and professionalism toward the interviewers will move on to the next stage in the hiring process—and closer to a job offer.


This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of Marketing News.​​​

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Author Bio:

 
Stacie Garlieb
Stacie Garlieb is president of career consultancy Successful Impressions and the creator of a career workshop series in partnership with the University of Phoenix.
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