A panel interview can seem even more daunting than the usual one-on-one interview. After all, you must be prepared to accept questions from multiple board members and divide your attention among all of them. However, you can ease through your panel interview by following many of the same strategies you would use in one-on-one meetings. Just be prepared to put in a little extra effort to give each board member individual attention.
Gain insight on each board member. Request the names of the panel members if you haven’t already received that information. Research these individuals so you know what position each interviewer holds in the company, and can anticipate the kinds of questions each will pose.
Rehearse your lines. While you can’t read the minds of your interviewers, you can prepare a few answers ahead of time. Prepare an elevator pitch, which is a short statement that summarizes your overall career goals. Avoid rambling about your past; ensure your pitch is a concise overview of who you are and what you hope to accomplish. Also, take some time to reflect on your strengths, weaknesses and past job successes.
Demonstrate relaxed, confident and friendly body language. Begin the interview with a smile and firm handshake. During conversation, don’t be afraid to nod your head to signify that you are following along and lean forward to show your interest in the subject. In terms of eye contact, Hcareers.com recommends that you avoid focusing on a single person throughout the interview. Sweep your gaze over all the panel members, while paying a little extra attention to the member you are currently addressing.
Provide feedback. The Ladders.com suggests posing a question to each interviewer at the ending of the meeting. This reveals your curiosity and genuine interest in the company and the position. Brainstorm a list of questions after you spend some time researching the interviewers and the company. Once the interview is over, feel free to contact the interviewers with questions you may have forgotten. Remember to thank each board member for taking time to participate in the panel. While you might do this as soon as the interview is over, you can also follow up with an email of gratitude.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images