Imagine sitting across the table from three or more strangers while they fire questions at you, watching and writing as you respond. While the thought of a panel interview can be intimidating, stressful or downright paralyzing, it doesn't have to be this traumatic. Follow these five steps to make sure you conquer that panel interview.
1. Do Your Research
When you're scheduling the interview, be sure to ask the names of the individuals on the interview panel. Research each of them. Check the company website, or search LinkedIn. Try to find out their job titles and responsibilities. Think about which of your job skills and qualifications might be most impressive to and valued by each of these individuals. Further, through your research, find out all you can about the organization and its goals.
2. Establish Rapport
When you're brought into the room, don't sit in awkward silence and wait for the interview panel to address you. Instead, introduce yourself to each person, make eye contact and offer a confident handshake. Engage in small talk that is light yet professional. This helps you get a sense of the personalities of all members of the interview panel and build rapport.
3. Take a Deep Breath
Don't let the thought of a panel interview stress you out to the point of failure. Anxiety can cause you to rush through your responses and stumble over your thoughts. When the questions begin, take a deep breath and focus fully on what's being asked. Collect your thoughts before blurting out a response. Deliver a clear and concise answer that addresses the questions and showcases your professionalism and abilities.
4. Tailor Your Responses
When you're responding to questions in a panel interview, it's important to reflect back on the research you conducted. Try to tailor your responses so that they're relevant to all members of the panel. If the interview panel consists of the company's HR director, finance manager and creative director, craft a multi-faceted response to highlight your skills that relate to each of these areas.
5. Come Prepared With Questions
While preparing for a panel interview, think of questions to ask when you're given the opportunity to make inquiries. Using your research, come up with a few questions for each of the individuals on the panel. Ensure each question is specific to the panelist's area of expertise, and make sure they're meaningful and relate to the organization's goals.
Impressing one hiring manager is stressful enough, so dealing with a panel interview can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience. Don't let your anxiety get the better of you. Follow these five steps to complete your interview confidently, and be sure to follow up with thank-you notes to every member of the panel.
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