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Mastering the Panel Interview

by | Mar 22, 2021 | Business

So, you have made it to the next step in the hiring process, the job interview. The hiring manager tells you that multiple people will be interviewing you. What do you do? This is called a panel interview. Initially, you may feel like you are being put in front of a firing squad. But, this interview form is fairly common. Don’t sweat it, there are many perks of being interviewed this way!

What is a Panel Interview?

Woman listening carefully to another woman, while sitting at a table together.
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A panel interview is when the interviewee is being questioned by multiple interviewers. Typically, the range of interviewers is between two and five people.

This is different from a group interview. A group interview will have multiple interviewees and possibly more than one interviewer. 

An organization chooses this format because they will gain a variety of different opinions on you as a candidate from the panel members. A collective hiring decision will be made by the panelists if you are a good match for the position. 

For you, the job seeker, the chance to explain who you are and your experiences further in-depth with people who have different backgrounds and roles within the company. 

It can be an intimidating type of interview in the process, but there are ways to ace it.

How to Be Successful in a Panel Interview

Man carefully listening.
Photo by Peter Jones on Unsplash

Within the interview process, the team members on the panel will be looking for specific skills from a good candidate. 

  • Quick critical thinking
  • Maturity
  • Oral expression
  • Listening to questions before answering
  • Framing answers to specific questions
  • Problem-solving
  • Thoughrought decision maker
  • Ability to adapt to a group dynamics
  • Teamwork

Within your answers, use the SHARE model. This stands for situation, hindrances, action, results, lessons learned.

When asked a question, you want to share your experience, then the hindrances you faced within that experience. After that, you want to share the action you took to get over the hindrance and the results that happened from that action. When wrapping up, share the overall lessons learned that you implement in your work now. 

For examples of situational interview questions, read more here.

While answering questions and asking questions while in front of a panel, it is important to have good eye contact and body language while presenting to this group of people. 

Common Interview Questions That Will Be Asked in a Panel Interview

Woman looking up and thinking of an answer.
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​With every type of interview, there are common interview questions that come with that type. For the panel interview, they will begin with those introduction questions such as, “Tell me about yourself.” and then get into many situational interviews.

Other introduction questions:

  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • What do you know about us?
  • Tell us more about your last job.
  • Why did you choose this field?
  • What do you know about this job and the job description?

The panel interview focuses on those situational questions. When answering those questions, focus on the SHARE method. They will be asking you about a situation that you faced, therefore, this method works perfectly when answering.

How To Prepare For a Panel Interview

Notes with preparation.
Photo by Felipe Furtado on Unsplash

One thing that is forgotten, is to be prepared to remember several names. This can be difficult, and you shouldn’t write it down. Repeat their name in your head and link it with something you already know. By remembering names, it allows you to reference their name and make it feel personal to them. 

Another thing, bring the right tools to an interview both mentally and physically. This article sets up a full list of the items to have in the car and bring in to the interview. 

The panel interview is stressful with multiple people. They will not be asking you multiple questions at a time. So, take it question by question and person by person. Just take one step at a time and breathe. 

Throughout the interview, you want to show that you can handle a stressful situation well and with confidence. Your answers and experience are important but your confidence will seal the deal. 

Finally, while this is cheesy, it is true. Be yourself. This will make your confidence elevate.

For more information on interviews and other forms of interviews, read more on the Scholars blog and listen on The Internship Show!

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.