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Handling panel Interviews

Employers increasingly opt to use panel interviews as part of the selection process. A little preparation makes the prospect far less daunting:

All for the best


A melting pot of views: Firstly, don’t fear panel interviews – they’re not there to trip you up (as many suspect). Panels are often convened simply to get a wider range of views about potential recruits without having to keep inviting candidates back, or so that HR colleagues can compare notes on the same interview performance


Peer support: Occasionally, panel interviews may be arranged so that a line manager has the support of his or her colleagues in order to secure authorisation for the post


Glass half-full, not half-empty


Over thinking: Don’t over-tax your mind looking to spot which panel members have been planted with a brief to trip you up – not only would that be bad practice on the part of the employer, it’s likely to turn good people off the idea of working there. Instead, think positive: only if they liked you would they commit the time of so many off their key people


Remember, remember: Be sure to include a recall of earlier interviews as part of your preparation – you may not meet the same people but it’s likely that at least one panel member will have been given notes – don’t struggle to find something new to say; keep your answers consistent


Eye contact


Share your attention: No matter how many of the panel speak directly to you, maintain eye contact with everyone; it’s fine to focus mostly on whoever has asked the question you’re answering – but don’t neglect the others


Body language: Panel members who say little or nothing may be watching (deliberately or absent-mindedly) your body language while the questioner maintains eye contact with you


Silent for good reason: You might be nervous – but so might some of the panel; if individual panel members report to others on the same panel, they may be worried about saying the wrong thing in front of their manager


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