Help – I have a Panel Interview

It can be common, especially for senior level roles, to have one of the selection stages be a panel interview.

Initially, it can feel intimidating but it can be very constructive and useful. It provides a really efficient way to meet a cross section of people from the organization. You can think of it just like any other meeting where you would research, prepare and present.

Find out as much as you can before the interview. It’s helpful if you know the names and titles of who will be sitting on the panel. That will give you some insight into the types of concerns they may have. You can check on LinkedIn or look for corporate bios.

Make sure you have a strong introduction statement. Once you all get past commenting on the weather, someone will inevitably ask you to talk a bit about yourself. You need a well practiced summary that illustrates two things: what you have done and why you are there.

Usually Zoom windows give you the person’s name. This is handy because it makes it easy to use their name when you respond to a question.

Panel interviews are a great way to see how people inside the organization interact with each other. You can observe if one person takes the lead, who defers to who, if they talk over one another.

It can be tricky to know where to look when there are multiple people on the screen. Try to strike a balance between looking at the monitor and looking directly into the camera. Looking into the camera is roughly the equivalent of eye contact if you were in a room together.

Make sure to pause before you start to answer a question. Take a breath and gather your thoughts. Panels don’t want to hear a blurted answer. They want clear, concise answers and examples.

Make sure to bring questions of your own as well. There probably won’t be time for many but you really seal the impression you have made with a well chosen and thoughtful question.

When the panel members start to shuffle their notes, that’s your cue to start to wrap up as well. Again, look into the camera and thank them for their time.

Sign off and get working on those thank you notes!

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