How to Prepare for a Panel Interview

Interviews are part of the job selection process that allow decision makers to meet candidates in person. They are opportunities for candidates to assess the interviewers as much as for interviewers to assess candidates. While there are many types of interview techniques, panel interviews are one of the more nerve-wracking for candidates. Ideally, you will be informed that your interview will be a panel interview so you can prepare. Panel interviews require the same practice as other types of interviews, but you’ll benefit from some additional preparation.


    • 1

      Research the company, prepare good answers to common interview questions and prepare questions you want to ask in the interview. Anticipate more detailed questions, as each panel member represents different interests and concerns. Avoid monosyllabic answers and those that may seem arrogant.

    • 2

      Ask the company recruiter for the names and titles of those who will be on the panel, including their role in the hiring process. Understand what each interviewer may be assessing. For example, a human resources representative will be evaluating whether you are a good fit for the company's culture; a hiring manager will want to know whether you can perform the job. Make sure to get the correct spelling of names and titles for thank you notes after the interview.

    • 3

      Put the information collected from your research on index cards to review often before the interview, memorizing it if possible. Place the information in a small notebook to bring to the interview for reference and note-taking.

    • 4

      Practice the panel interview with a few friends or family members so you can become comfortable fielding questions in front of a group. Videotape the practice session if possible to review your body language, comments and language, and communication style. Prepare answers that give examples of your experience and skills, and explain how you have handled work challenges in other positions.

    • 5

      Practice cross-referencing answers to panel members’ questions when answering. Stay calm and show an interest in all panel members and their inquiries. Panel interviews are sometimes used to show potential employers how you will interact with a range of people or how you respond in stressful situations.

    • 6

      Use visualization, breathing techniques and positive self-talk to help you control stress and confidently answer questions. Sit up straight in front of a mirror, look into your eyes, then close your eyes. Take three slow, deep breaths and think of the interview. Tell yourself you’ll be calm, confident and prepared, and will do well. Picture yourself sitting in front of the interviewers dressed in business attire in a corporate conference room. Imagine yourself explaining why you want to work for their company, how you are qualified and experienced for the position and how you can bring value and service to their business. End the visualization by picturing yourself thanking the panel, standing up and shaking hands, and asking for the job.

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