Have to do a panel interview? Here’s what you need to know

So you’ve just started a new job search and you applied for this cool position and smashed your first interview. Everything seemed to go really great, but now they want to interview you again – this time in front of a panel of your potential peers.

But don’t panic!

You can survive the dreaded panel interview (although this advice can also be used for one on one interviews too), I promise. 

I’m part of my company’s Employee Engagement Forum so I often sit in on panel interviews to ensure that there’s fairness in the process. I’ve seen some great candidates and some not so fantastic ones but there are always tips on how to improve your interview game.

Here are a few tips to help you:

Make eye contact, but not too much

Don’t give your interviewer the death stare, but make sure they know you’re taking an interest in what they’re saying or asking.

When answering a question, it’s okay to look off to the side as you think about something and then make eye contact again and nod and smile as you listen.

It’s great when a candidate looks at the person asking them a question or who is saying something but it can be a little much when they’re just constantly staring at one person the entire time. 

Make sure you’ve done some research on the company

This is probably your second or third round of interviews so you should have at least googled the company you’re working for, checked out their website and social media and taken notes in any previous interviews so that you can refer to them in your panel interview.

It looks really unprofessional if you can’t remember anything about the company you want to join or if you can’t answer any questions pertaining to the company’s digital presence for instance. 

Try and answer quickly but give it some thought

There’s nothing more frustrating than an interviewee who takes 5 million years and many roundabout answers to get to where they’re going.

Do take a minute to think about your response as it indicates consideration. 

Take note of everyone’s names

Try and learn everyone on the panel’s names and make reference to them as you talk.

It means that you’re paying attention and your focus is on what’s going on in front of you. 

Ask questions

Whether it’s because you’re not clear about something or if you want to know more about the place you could be working for, this is your opportunity to find out more about the role and potential team.

It makes it seem like you’re really interested. If you’re not sure what to ask, then check out this list.

We also asked a few of our readers about their tips and tricks for nailing an interview and this is what they had to say: 

Genni says: “Be as confident as possible, but remain humble. Ensure your latest job experience is at the top of the CV not on the last page”.

Lisa says: “Check your online footprint. Set up a Google alert with your name on it. Make sure when I google you (because I do my homework on candidates, just as you do your homework on the company), nothing dodgy comes up – not on the first page of search results and not on the last.”

Kelebogile says: “When answering questions try and keep your answers under 35 seconds - it shows confidence and creates an impact on your potential employer. Never ever bad mouth your previous employer or current working conditions”

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