While efficient, the process can be extremely intimidating for applicants. After all, instead of needing to impress just one person, they will soon face a whole group of interviewers.
But don’t dread the panel job interview. Instead, see it as an incredible opportunity to stand out from the crowd!
While your peers are sweating and stammering, use the panel job interview to prove your competence and interpersonal skills. To do just that, and ultimately win the job offer, follow these six steps…
1. Give Individual Attention To Each Member Of The Panel
Introduce yourself to each person at the panel interview and then make sure you memorize their names and positions. This will allow you to respond to questions in a personalized manner. If you know ahead of time who might be there, look them up on LinkedIn or the company website. Because, the more you know about their duties, the more you can provide examples of how you’ll be an asset to them. During the interview, use techniques from public speaking like making eye contact with each member of the panel and including everyone in your answers.
2. Bring Resumes And Business Plans For Everyone
Even when you’ve already sent a copy of your resume/business plan to the company, always bring additional copies to the interview. Whenever possible, have your resume/business plan professionally printed and bound. This is a small investment that makes a huge difference. One of the best jobs I ever got was the direct result of a professionally bound business plan, complete with color maps and graphs that I created myself.
3. Show Confidence and Friendliness
Confidence and the ability to present to a group are highly valuable skills in the corporate world. To practice ahead of time, run a mock interview with a group of friends or acquaintances. Consider joining a group like ToastMasters to hone your public speaking skills. And whatever you do, don’t succumb to defensive body language like crossing your arms or tapping your feet. Remain calm and still, always smile, and don’t babble to fill the silence.
4. Do Your Research And Come Prepared With Anecdotes
Never go to any kind of interview without reading everything you can about the company, their past and present projects, their stock, managers and CEOs, and business philosophy. Be prepared to ask intelligent questions, and rehearse 4 or 5 anecdotes that illustrate your strengths and achievements. It’s always best to have quantifiable results to share with interviewers: instead of saying, “I was one of the best sales reps,” say “I was in the top 2% of 300 reps, and I increased sales in my division by 48% last year.”
5. Always Ask For The Job
As in all interviews, don’t forget to ask for the job. You might think it’s best to “play it cool” or not look too eager, but the fact is, companies want someone who is excited and grateful for the opportunity.
6. Follow Up With Each Person at the Panel Interview
After the interview, immediately follow up with each member of the panel. Send an email, or (even better) a handwritten note. Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you, and reference a specific comment they made during the interview. This is a great way to show respect for their input and seal the personal connection you’ve forged.
A panel interview is truly a challenge and an opportunity.
Because they’re more complex and intimidating than a traditional one-on-one interview, they’re the perfect chance to outshine your competitors. To do this, you need to be more prepared than anyone else. Use handouts, research into the company, and straight-up charm. And remember, since you don’t know which members of the panel will be the decision makers, it’s important to win over each and every one.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Simply Hired.