Use the job interview panel to your advantage.
Let’s face it. Things have changed. Job interviews are less straight-forward than they were a few decades ago. Job candidates are now faced with new interview tactics. Unsuspecting candidates might be asked to deliver an impromptu presentation, take aptitude and personality tests, or perform job simulations. Despite these new additions, many companies still conduct panel interviews. Whether performed solely by senior management officials or by a hybrid of staff members at various levels within the organization, panel interviews can provide the hiring official with a variety of perspectives on the suitability of a candidate. And therefore, there is a lot of pressure to perform well. These three tips will help you to excel during your next panel interview:
- Be confident
- Do your research
- Be yourself
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” -Helen Keller
If you want the interview panel to believe that you are perfect for the job, you must believe it first. Make eye contact with each member of the panel and greet everyone with a firm handshake. When responding to questions, be sure to give each interviewer the same amount of consideration. Don’t assume that one person’s opinion of you carries more weight than the others. Smile when appropriate and speak with authority. It’s easy to be intimidated by an interview panel. But, if you successfully win them over, you’ll have more than one person singing your praises.
It’s pretty much a given that hiring managers and recruiters use social media and the internet to research job candidates. There is no reason why you can’t do the same. Generally, you will at least know the name of one interviewer beforehand. Research the company’s website to learn what projects or initiatives the interviewer leads. Find out if he/she wrote any blogs on the company’s website. Use this information during the interview to demonstrate your knowledge of the organization’s priorities, specifically those that reside in the interviewer’s domain. Use social media to uncover any shared interest that you may have with the interviewer. For example, if you discover that the interviewer has a blog devoted to running you might want to share that you ran the Boston Marathon two years ago (only if this is true). Likewise, leverage any similarities you may have regarding hometown, college, or even LinkedIn contacts. Additionally, become familiar with the names of other people in the department you wish to join and senior managers within the broader organization. They may form part of the interview panel. Any information you discover online could give you a competitive edge.
At the end of the day, it’s important to be yourself. Many times, hiring officials are looking for candidates who are the ‘right fit’ for their office environment. Don’t pretend that you’ll enjoy 50% travel or heavy-metal music playing in the office, if you will not. Likewise, remember that you are trying to “win-over” the entire interview panel. Pretending to be someone you are not and placating to one interviewer, will alienate the rest of the panel and not serve you well in the long run.
Sitting across the table from a group of people who will decide whether you are the best job candidate, can be daunting. But, don’t be intimated by the faces starring back at you. Use the panel to your advantage. Be confident. Do your research. Be yourself. Use the interview to convince each panelist that you are perfect for the job. Do this, and you will have slayed the day.
Pamela L. Barnes
November 14, 2018