Imagine you've been asked to read a book to your child's first grade class. You're a little bit nervous when you get to the school, but you take a deep breath and open the door to the classroom. That's when you notice the cameras and are told that your "performance" will be beamed to millions of first grade classrooms all over the world. Surprise!
Panel Interview Success
While your next job interview may not be live streamed all over the Internet, there is a very good chance that you may receive a bit of a surprise when you open that door. The deeper you get into the selection process for a job at a large company, the more likely it is that there will be more than one interviewer sitting across from you at the table.
It's called a panel interview, and companies will often choose to have multiple people see you at the same time in order to streamline the process and get the opinion of several different people who may be working with the applicant who ultimately gets hired for the open position.
"Companies will have multiple people see you at the same time in order to streamline the hiring process."
In some ways, panel interviews are just like any other job interview. You should remain professional at all times and speak confidently and honestly about your relevant experiences. However, there are a few tips that you should try to follow in order to shine when all those people are in the room at the same time:
• Spread your attention. Make sure you acknowledge each member of the panel while you are speaking. If you focus only on one or two individuals, you will appear less confident and the odds of winning over the entire room will decrease.
• Repetition is fine. With so many cooks in the kitchen, you may find that several questions get repeated. Rather than worrying that you are answering the same question with an original answer, don't be afraid to simply say what you've already said. A consistent story will impress the panel more than if you contradict yourself in an effort to sound "original."
• Feel the room. If you get the sense that there is a particular interviewer or two who do not like you, then do your best to win them over. If you spend all your time interacting with the people who you can tell already have your back, then you won't likely get the "no votes" to change their minds.
• Take notes. At the very least, make sure you have everybody's name matched to their face so that you can address each member of the panel personally. That simple act not only shows you can pay attention to detail, but it may also be what tips the scales in your favor when the evaluating takes place after you go.