In today’s competitive job market, it is important for all graduates to separate themselves from the crowd when searching for suitable employment. Panel interviews are the last stage of the interview process, and are usually conducted by multiple interviewers, including HR managers and department heads. Though the thought of being interviewed by several potential employers at once is daunting, it is the perfect way of creating a rapport with these interviewers, and establishing yourself as the preferable candidate. Below is a list of 6 tips you can use to ace your panel job interview.
1. Give undivided attention to each panel member
When you walk into your interview, it is necessary to greet all the panel members and get their names- if need be write down their names. The purpose of getting their names is so that you can address them directly throughout the interview. Furthermore, when you are fielding questions, ensure that you answer the entire panel and not only the interviewer who asked the question. Lastly, be sure to direct your focus towards panel members who are silent and those who may not seem to immediately like you- you never know who is making the final decision!
2. Provide copies of your resume and business plan to all interviewers
Always bring adequate copies of your resume and/or business plan, for each member of the panel. Even though you have already sent your resume to the company, providing a professional resume to the panel will allow them to easily reference your skills and achievements.
3. Stay calm, confident, professional and friendly throughout the interview
Two unfortunate occurrences during panel interviews include the interviewee getting flustered or acting cold. You should always remember to stay calm during the interview, and it is advised that you take a moment to gather your thoughts before you answer a question- this way you will not ramble. Moreover, confidence is seen by assuming the right posture and having eye-contact with the panel as you answer questions. Lastly, it is important to remember that the interviewers are not your enemies- act friendly and even think of a joke to break the ice, but be professional at all times.
4. Be prepared to put your skills into context
As stated earlier, the interviewers should have your resume in front of them, and it is therefore not necessary to list your skills. Alternatively, you should insert your skills into your answers, so that the interviewers can see how you have put them into practice. e.g instead of saying that you are a great sales person, give an anecdote of how you increased company sales by a certain percentage. You should have at least 5 anecdotes ready at any time that reiterate your ability to perform excellently.
5. Have a question to ask each interviewer
As the interview draws to a close, be sure to have appropriate questions to ask each interviewer. Because these interviewers may be your future employers, the questions can relate to how you can get involved in their particular departments. Questions show interviewers that you are enthusiastic and well versed in the job position. An inquisitive mind is also a learning mind.
6. Thank each panel member and send thank you notes
At the end of the interview, be sure to thank each panel member before you leave. Immediately after, write personal notes to each of them, thanking them for taking the time to interview you. You should also include a section of the interview that was meaningful to you, as this shows the interviewer that you were listening and learning- it also shows that you have not written generic notes to each interviewer.
You will be surprised at how these small tips can give you a huge advantage in your panel job interview. It is important to know that you cannot change the qualifications of the other candidates, but you can win over the panel with whatever skills you possess. So follow these tips, and prepare to land yourself your dream job!
Psychometric testing is another common method used by employers for candidate screening process. They are tests that measure prospective employees’ strengths and weaknesses in mental capabilities and behavioural style. SHL is a common test provider used by Australian employers. You can get SHL practice tests here.