Final panel interviews

A sign that you’re a candidate in contention

Panel interviews can be intimidating for even the most confident executives, however they should be approached as a positive experience, after all, it’s a sign that you’ve been singled out as a contender for the position on offer. Most people find them a bit of an ordeal, however this is typically because many panel interviews use competency interview frameworks and not because of the panel itself.

The reason many organisations conduct panel interviews is that is gives more than one individual the opportunity to access a candidate, which helps to identify whether they not only have the appropriate technical skills but also the behaviours and personality traits that best fit the organisation.

Look at panel interviews as an opportunity and a way to meet a group of senior management face-to-face.

Find out who is on the interview panel

Ask prior to interview who will be on the panel and find out what their roles are so that you have a better understanding of what’s important to them.

Be, or act, confident

Project confidence, even if you don’t feel confident. Role play beforehand with someone you trust, or ask a recruitment consultant for advice.

What questions might you be asked?

Try to pre-empt the types of questions you’ll be asked and rehearse the answers thoroughly.

Identify the important figures on the panel

Even though the Chairman will make the introductions, try to establish who you’ll be working with most closely on the panel.

Introduce yourself to each person

When you arrive for the panel interview shake each members hand and introduce yourself to each of them.

Ask for a business card from each member

This is useful to help remember names. Place them in front of you in the order they are sitting. Ask if you can write their names down if they don’t have a business card.

Listen to and answer the question

Many people fail to do this and talk about something they haven’t been asked. Also, try to keep your answers as brief as possible.

Eye contact

Look directly at the person asking the question and answer them initially, however make eye contact with the other members as you finish your comments.

Don’t rush an answer

Listen to the question and think about your answer. Don’t worry if there is a pause and don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand the question.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Have some questions written down for the interview. Try to tailor some of your questions to each individual, not just to your department manager.

Shake hands and thank each member

Remember to address each panel member by name and to make eye contact as you thank them for their time.

Follow up with each person

Send a note to each member of the panel after the interview. Everyone appreciates a personal gesture like this.