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Perils of the panel

Published on Monday, 16 Jun 2014
Marc Burrage
Panel job interviews may be nerve-wracking, but by researching the panel, remaining calm and preparing success stories, you can put yourself in a strong position to impress at this stage of the hiring process.

Ask your recruiter for the names of the people on the panel and research them on the organisation's website or LinkedIn page. This allows you to put faces to names, so you can address the panellists by name. Make a list of potential questions and practise answering them beforehand.

Use your research to anticipate what each individual interviewer is likely to focus on. For an HR representative you can prepare examples of how your work style fits the organisation's culture. For the line manager you can demonstrate how you overcame common challenges of the role or department. And for a co-worker you can prepare examples to show you are a reliable team player.

One aspect of a panel interview is to test how candidates react in a high-pressure environment. Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts and stay calm, particularly if they are asking "rapid fire" questions.

Try to make eye contact with each panellist. While your focus will naturally be on the individual asking each particular question, also talk to and engage with the entire panel to demonstrate your interpersonal skills.

Towards the end of the interview you will likely be asked if you have any questions. Prepare a question for each interviewer relevant to their role in relation to the vacancy.

By being prepared for a panel interview, you can stay in control of the situation and move on to the next stage of the process with distinction.

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