Tips For Acing A Panel Interview

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Job interviews are stressful situations. No doubt about it. However, if you find you’ll be facing a panel of interviewers, rather than just one, your stress level may rise a few notches higher.

This is fully understandable…it’s only natural, after all. Whether you’re currently employed, or on the sidelines of employment, there’s a lot on the line and you want to make the best impression possible at a job interview. And when there’s multiple people involved, it’s that much harder to “wow” them. Multiple people to interact with means more to juggle.

However, as a veteran recruiter, I am here to tell you to relax. Whether you’re facing a one interviewer, or a panel of them, they all have the same end result in mind: they want to hire the best candidate possible. Likewise, you should look at a panel interview as an opportunity to get an even better sense of the potential employer.

Employers don’t conduct panel interviews to torment you (at least, I don’t think they do). Many times, there are multiple people involved in the hiring decision and it just makes sense to schedule an interview together as part of the process. It actually works out better for you, as well, since you won’t have to attend interview after interview with different decision makers, which could be daunting.

So who exactly is usually at panel interviews?

Your panel interview could include any mix of people, from the company president and an HR representative to your potential manager and a future co-worker. If you’re not sure who will be present, then connect with your recruiter or contact at the company ahead of time and ask for a list of names and titles. That way, you’ll be able to conduct some research on each one before your interview and learn more about who they are and what role they perform in the organization. Even if that information doesn’t serve you during the interview, it will help you feel better prepared and a little less stressed.

How should you prepare for a panel interview?

Research the potential employer ahead of time, just like you would with any other kind of interview. Check out their website and Google the company name for any news items. You can also look to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for any company pages or profiles. Based on your research, then develop a list of questions about the position, the company, and its culture.

Should you do anything different from an interview with a single individual?

One thing to be careful about in a panel interview is to be sure to make eye contact with everyone. Even if one person is asking the bulk of the questions, don’t just direct all your answers to that person. You’ll likely offend the others if you do. Eye contact helps you develop rapport with others. If you want to impress them even more, address them by name and refer back to them during the course of the interview.

If you’d like some additional assistance in finding your next security job, let us know. As one of the top security recruiting firms nationwide, we will work closely with you to find a job that best suits your skills and security career goals.

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