Four Ways to Prepare for a Panel Interview

1. Do Some Research Ahead of Time (a.k.a. Creep your Panel)

If you’re focused on figuring out who is who on the panel instead of focusing on your interview, you’re going to be distracted. If you’re given the names of the people who will be interviewing you ahead of time, get a headstart and do some research. In the age of social media, it would be a shame not to use the available tools to your advantage. Try searching the names of your interviewers on LinkedIn and Twitter, or see if they have their own professional website. Don’t get caught up in worrying that you’re “creeping”. You’re simply preparing yourself and getting to know who you’ll be meeting at the interview. If you can put faces to names and get some key information on their roles, you’ll spend less time trying to remember everyone’s name come time for the interview. Not only that, but knowing what each person’s function in the organization will help you to figure out which of your skills they may focus on.

2. Ensure Everyone Sees your Best Blue Steel.

Make sure that you’re not favouring one person in terms of eye contact. Your instinct may want you to look directly at the interviewer across from you, so make sure you’re turning your eye contact to the interviewers on the edges of the panel from time to time as well. Alternating the target of your gaze ever so often will help you look and feel more comfortable and confident.

3. Don’t Let Your Nerves Take Over

We’re not saying that having five people interviewing you at once isn’t nerve-wracking, especially if you’re accustomed to having one-on-one interviews. But if you really want to thrive, you’ll need to remember to stay calm and maintain your focus. Just take the interview as it comes, and concentrate on one individual’s question at a time. Remind yourself that these interviewers aren’t there to team up on you, but rather to make sure their team is on the same page in terms of their hiring decisions.

4. Ask Questions

When multiple interviews are all asking you question after question, it can be hard not to let it feel like you’re being ganged up on. Just remember, this is an opportunity for you to ask them questions, too. Just make sure you’re going to ask well-informed questions, perhaps about the role, the work environment, or the culture. There is a time and place for everything, and asking specific questions about salary, work hours and vacation are a discussion you can have later on. Getting into the nitty-gritty during the interview can put you at risk of seeming superficial or presumptuous. Besides, asking some well-thought out questions can be a great way to demonstrate prior knowledge and a keen interest in the position.

Hopefully some of these tips will come in handy whilst preparing for your next panel interview.

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