If your palms get sweaty hearing about a one-on-one interview, we can imagine how you will feel when you hear about an interview with a panel of interviewers - at the same time.
It puts tons of pressure on your shoulder to perform well in the interview.
Panel interviews are common in many high-impact jobs, such as government jobs and medical jobs, especially for a senior position with a lot of responsibilities.
In this way, 3 or more interviewers can assess a candidate on different levels and collectively decide if the candidate is a good fit for the role.
While going to a panel interview may feel nerve-wracking, if you think about it, it has some good advantages. For example, if you are going on a panel interview, you will likely have to go through fewer individual interviews with the company. It saves both your and the company's time.
You can also get multiple perspectives on the position you're applying for. Apart from that, from the interaction of the panel members, you can get a sense of the company culture.
In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about panel interviews and how to ace them in 2023.
Table of Content:
- What is Panel Interview?
- Why do Companies Use Panel Interviews?
- What to Expect in a Panel Interview: Different Formats
- How to Prepare for a Panel Interview?
- 10 Panel Interview Tips for 2023
- Top 10 Panel Interview Questions Example
What is Panel Interview?
In a panel interview, 3 -5 interviewers conduct the candidate's interview.
It can be very stressful for candidates because they have to speak up and be heard over other voices—and then deal with any follow-up questions that arise from the interplay between all panel members. Also, they need to have a composed behavior at all times.
Why do Companies Use Panel Interviews?
Many companies take panel interviews because it allows them to evaluate the candidate thoroughly before making a hiring decision.
It also saves a lot of time for the organization by avoiding going back and forth to schedule multiple rounds of interviews.
What Do Panel Interviewers Look For?
Panel interviews in different companies have different intentions.
Here are some of the elements recruiters look for in a candidate in the panel interview:
- If the candidate has the nerve to answer "rapid-fire" questions
- If they are good at group interaction
- If the candidate has an excellent non-verbal communication
- If the candidate can build rapport quickly
- Beyond that, the recruiters also look if the candidate has the relevant skills
- If they have the skills to do the job?
- If they are a good fit?
- What are their career goals and passions?
Some formal organizations also use panel interviews to vet the candidates.
Here are some organizations you'll find panel interviews:
- Academic institutions
- Nonprofit organizations
- Government Organizations
- Senior executive positions in big MNCs
Also Read: Read on to know more interview tips
What to Expect in a Panel Interview: Different Formats
Not all industries have a panel interview. It varies depending on factors such as seniority, experience, industry, etc.
And the experience of the panel interview will be very different for different circumstances.
Here are a couple of types of panel interviews for your reference:
1. Academic Panel Interviews
These interviews are used for college admissions and graduate school applications.
They can be either individual or group interviews. The interviewers may include professors, department heads, admission officers, and senior students.
They will ask questions about your academic experience, research interests, extracurricular activities, and personal qualities.
Qualities interviewers look for in these interviews:
- Oral Expression
- Attention to Others
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Interpersonal Communication
2. Corporate Panel Interviews
When hiring new employees, big companies like Google, Facebook, McKinsey, Bane, and many others, use corporate panel interviews.
Their interviews are conducted by multiple people from different departments within the company, such as HR, IT, and sales teams.
This is done because these companies want to see how well candidates will fit into their particular culture and environment and determine how successful they'll be at performing specific tasks within the company's structure and policies/procedures manual (PPM).
The goal is for each interviewer to get a clear picture of what each candidate offers them — their technical skills, personality traits, and leadership capabilities.
3. Government Organization Panel Interview
Here is the process of the Government Organization Interview:
- The candidate fills out a written application, where you put all your current experience
- If selected, you'll have to attend a panel interview with 4-5 panelists. The panelist consists of the hiring manager, HR person, and field experts
- The interviewers will ask you behavioral questions and your experiences
- The interviews are around 45 - 60 minutes long
- After the interview, the interviewer gives you a score
4. Medical Panel Interview
A medical panel interview is for candidates who are interested in medical jobs.
Interviewers here are medical professionals who will ask questions and evaluate your qualifications for a position in their company.
A medical panel interview can be intimidating because you may be put on the spot to answer questions about your knowledge and experience in a specific field, such as medicine or surgery. So, be prepared.
How to Prepare for a Panel Interview?
Preparing for a panel interview is similar to any other type of interview.
Additionally, it's best to have a good sense of what to expect from a panel interview. It will help you prepare for the interview.
Here are a couple of things you must do before the interview:
- Research, the company
- Read the job description carefully and identify the key skills and requirements needed for the company
- Find gaps in your resume based on the job description and prepare answers to address the gaps
- Anticipate some common questions that can be asked in the interview
- Prepare answers to those questions
- Practice these questions with your friends, family members, or professionals.
- Try to make them as natural as possible
10 Panel Interview Tips for 2023
A panel interview is a personal interview taken by 3 or more interviewers. In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are some more tips you need to keep in mind to prepare for a panel interview.
1. Get The Names of the Panel Members Ahead of Time
If possible, research and get to know the names of the interview panel members. This will help you feel more comfortable when you meet them. Also, it will help you green the interviewers by their names.
2. Keep Extra Copies of Your Resume
Just in case, bring extra copies of your resume. You can give the resumes to the panel members if anyone asks.
3. Make a Strong First Impression
As you enter the interview room, keep a broad smile, make eye contact with all the interviewers, greet them by their names, and ask for permission to sit.
If you want to take notes, ask before that.
4. Keep Your Attention to Everyone on the Panel.
When answering questions, keep eye contact with all the panel members to project that you are making connections with the entire panel.
Also, show the relationships between an answer to previous questions. For example, you can say: "This is related to what I said earlier to John's question….."
5. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Do not give a vague answer if you don't understand a question. Instead, ask for clarification, reflect on the question, and answer your question slowly, instead of giving a wrong answer.
Panel Interview Questions to Ask Employer
- What characteristics must a candidate have to excel in this?
- What would a working day in the company look like?
- What about my resume that piqued your interest in having this interview?
- Is this a new position? If not, how does this position go vacant?
- What are the things you want the candidate to work on in the first 3 months?
- Does the company offer any skill-development programs?
- How often are the performance reviews conducted in the company?
6. Practice Group Dynamic
One of the characteristics interviewers look for in a panel interview is how good you are in a group.
In a panel interview, different interviewers have different styles. There will be instances when someone will not be as satisfied as others with your answers.
You need to look for such cues and try to give a clear and confident answer to the questions.
Also, try to build rapport with the interviewers as soon as you enter the room.
7. Prepare for Interruption
It is not uncommon in an interview that someone will cut your answer to ask you another question, or someone will leave or enter in the middle of the interview.
Don't take stress from the interruption. Keep calm and carry on.
8. Prepare for Multiple Questions at the Same Time
In a panel interview, always be prepared to answer multiple questions at the same time.
This can be a stressful situation for you. But, keep your cool and answer the questions one by one. If you don't understand one question, you can ask them to repeat the questions.
9. Don't be afraid to Repeat Your Responses
In a panel interview, a question from one interviewer may be similar to another question asked by another interviewer.
Do not be surprised or feel impatient about this. Instead, refer to your other answers if necessary to answer the questions. Even further elaborate the answers to touch upon all the possible questions the interviewer may have.
10. Prepare Questions for The Interviewers
It is seen as a good sign if the candidate has some questions for the interviewers.
So, have your questions ready to ask about the company culture, the job you'll be doing, or the group dynamic.
It shows that you've done your research and are interested in the company.
Also, if you can ask the questions to different panel members, it's a great way to keep them engaged in the conversation.
11. Thank All Panel Members at the End
At the end of the interview, thank all the panelists and shake hands with each person.
After the interview, follow up with each interviewer with an individual thank-you email.
In this thank-you letter, clarify some questions if you feel you have a good answer, and add some points you forgot to mention in the interview.
Also Read: What are some job interview questions?
Top 10 Panel Interview Questions Example
Interviewers in a panel interview ask more behavioral and situational questions to the candidates, as these questions reveal a lot about the candidate's personality, goals, and interests,
Given below are some of the questions asked in a panel interview:
- How do you handle tight deadlines without minimal supervision?
- Imagine you have a disagreement with your co-workers about a company policy. How would you handle it?
- Tell us about a time when you had to tackle a problematic client. How did you manage the client to stay with you?
- Tell me about a time when you had to explain complex technical concepts to someone with a non-technical background.
- How do your colleagues describe you?
- Tell me about a time when you made a mistake, and how you tackled it?
- Describe a time when you had issues with a colleague or customer. How did you handle it?
What is a panel interview and how should I prepare for it?
A panel interview is a type of job interview where you are interviewed by a group of people, usually three or more. It is important to prepare for a panel interview by researching the company and the interviewers, practicing your responses to common interview questions, and anticipating the types of questions that may be asked by a panel. It is also important to make eye contact with each panel member and address each of them by name when answering questions.
How can I stand out in a panel interview?
To stand out in a panel interview, it is important to be confident, articulate, and well-prepared. Make sure you have a good understanding of the company's values and mission, and be prepared to explain how your skills and experience align with them. Make eye contact with each panel member, and engage with them individually when answering questions. It is also important to be authentic and show your personality, as this can help you to connect with the interviewers on a personal level.
What should I do if I don't know the answer to a question during a panel interview?
If you don't know the answer to a question during a panel interview, it is important to be honest and transparent. Don't try to bluff your way through an answer, as this can come across as insincere and untrustworthy. Instead, take a moment to gather your thoughts, and ask the interviewers to clarify the question if necessary. If you still don't know the answer, it is ok to admit that you don't have the information, but offer to follow up with them after the interview with additional information if you can.
If you want to get yourself an interview at your dream company, Go to Hiration's ChatGPT-powered Career Service Platform and use the online tool to create professional resumes & cover letters and apply for jobs through Hiration's Online Job portal