The panel interview is similar to a typical one-on-one interview but there are two or more interviewers in the room.
They can feel very intimidating as it can be more difficult to build up a rapport with a group of people and they can be more formal in style. However, it's important that you relax and don't stress out at the situation. We show you how...
Preparation is key
Job interview preparation is always incredibly important... but for a panel interview it is absolutely essential. Take some time to find about the background of the people interviewing you - many companies will tell you the names of the interviewers beforehand. This will help you to think of them as just people like you.
Whether you can do background research or not, when the interviewers introduce themselves try to remember their individual names and respond to some of the questions by saying their name - this will help to create a bond. It's best to focus on the person actually making the decision (usually the boss), but make sure you communicate with everyone, making eye contact with each person during your answers.
The group is likely to be limited to a fixed set of questions in a panel interview with fewer informal questions so it's important that you give detailed, well-structured answers. Make sure that you have brushed up on the following:
Common interview questions
Difficult interview questions
Competency interview questions
It's likely that you will have been asked to give a presentation during a panel interview. This may sound intimidating, but as long as you prepare carefully and don't go over your time limit, you will be fine!
Our guide to job interview presentations
People often feel really stressed out when faced with an assessment centre, which often has a panel interview as a part of the process. These are selection events where candidates are brought together to do different job-related activities. They may include:
- Intelligence, personality and other tests.
- Group exercises including discussions and team activities.
- In-tray exercises where you read, interpret and act on documents.
- Skills tests like using word processing software.
- A presentation (see above).
- A detailed interview, possibly looking at your competencies.
If you are facing an assessment centre as part of your interview then check out our guide to assesment centres
Finally, beware of informal interviews. It is always an interview, whether it’s in the board room, Starbucks or on the golf course. Even if you’re assured that it is ‘just a conversation’, prepare thoroughly!