Properly Preparing for a Panel Interview

While job seekers may be prepared for one-on-one interviews, they often have less experience with panel or group interviews. If you have a panel interview scheduled, it is important that you properly prepare for it. In addition to your typical preparations, here are three specific things that you can do to properly get ready for it:

Bring Enough Resumes

When you are invited to a panel interview, you should ask how many people are going to be involved. This way you will get an idea of how many people you are going to have to communicate with and know how many resumes to bring with you. Regardless of how many you are told, it’s always a good rule of thumb to bring a few extra in case you need them. If it’s a five-person panel, bring seven or eight just to be sure. If you don’t know how many resumes you’ll need, load up your binder with them. It’s always better to have resumes left over than to need them and not have them when you need them.

Rehearse with Friends and Family

Practice makes perfect. If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of a panel interview, simulate one with your friends and family. Invite a handful of people over (the more the better), have them read your resume, and then let them ask away. Have them question all aspects of your professional career, making sure that they react to your answers as well. Having this simulated panel won’t just help you with answering questions on the fly, but it will also help you with your body language and eye contact. Chances are this panel will be much more intense and thorough than your actual interview, making it great practice for thinking on your feet.

Line Up Smart Questions

It’s important that you have a couple of well-thought out questions for the end of any interview. During a panel interview, though, it is important to have more than usual. Whether it is questions about how you will be used in the company, or what the company hopes to accomplish in the next couple of years, have questions at the ready before you go into the interview. Don’t feel like you need to ask each person a question especially if there are several interviewers participating, but interact with multiple people so come up with more questions that you might actually have in a one-on-one interview. While you don’t want to overdo it on the questions (if there are ten people on the panel asking one to each is going to eat up a lot of extra time, which could work against you), you do want to show how you can interact with people, and how you are interested in what the job will entail.

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