How to Be Confident at a Panel Interview
Posted on Friday, July 23, 2021 by The Interviewer — No comments
Panel interviews were a trend already underway before the pandemic, but they are now ballooning thanks to the ease of video interviews, which make it easier for various people to get in on the meetings. So now, you may find yourself facing down a panel of three, four, or even five interviewers! And it looks like panel interviews are here to stay, to a large degree, once we’re back in the office too.
Unfortunately, you need nerves of steel not to find them at least a little bit intimidating. So, whilst it’s great that you’ve nabbed the interview, how can you use it to show your value and not simply feel like you’re submitting to an interrogation?
- Make it personal and address each person
Right at the start of the interview, ask for each person’s name and position. Briefly introduce yourself to everyone in turn. This way you establish a quick connection.
When it comes to the questions, try to avoid only answering the individual who asked. Instead, address your answer to everyone. Extra points if you can refer back to something another interviewer said or asked!
- Expect some level of repetition
It’s normal for there to be some degree of repetition needed in a panel interview. There are various reasons for this, ranging from lack of cohesion amongst the panel, to intentionally trying to ascertain a complete picture. Different panel members will also pick up different things from what you say.
It’s essential to remain calm, collected, and focused as you repeat yourself. However, always try to reframe what you said and explain it using different words. This in itself is a good skill to demonstrate.
- Identify the characters
During panel interviews, you’ll quickly be able to establish who is open to you and who you still have to work on to convince. Your temptation may be to direct your answers towards the warmer character. However, you should do the opposite and, without excluding your support squad, ensure that the more reluctant panellist gets your attention.
This ability to read the audience may just be the key to your success. They will, of course, be discussing you afterwards.
- Be prepared for a challenge
Interviewers are human, and bolstered by the support of the other panellists, they may be very willing to ask a tricky question and leave it hanging there whilst the candidate squirms. Don’t panic!
Make sure you prepared beforehand and have plenty of evidence you can use to back up your answer. Then, think about what they are actually trying to determine, and demonstrate that you can handle a curveball.
- Make your own notes—afterwards
With a panel interview it can be a lot harder for you to remember what happened and who said what. If you think you’ll need it for a second interview or for the future, make a few notes afterwards about your impressions and what was discussed.
Don’t be daunted by panel interviews. Remember, these are just people! Indeed, they can give you a much better insight into what working for the company will be like, as you get to witness some of the dynamics between co-workers.
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