How Should You Prepare For A Panel Interview?

Interviewing with one person is daunting enough, but the prospect of facing a panel of multiple interviewers can feel even more intimidating. And, if you’re currently preparing for this kind of panel interview, I’m sure visions of sitting in front of several stony faces, being bombarded with quick-fire questions in rapid succession may well be flashing through your mind.
So, in this blog, my aim is to settle your nerves and provide you with some actionable advice which you can use as part of your interview preparation. But first off, let me clarify why exactly you have been asked to attend a panel interview:

Why do employers conduct panel interviews?

One of the main reasons panel interviews are conducted is so that a balanced and considered approach is taken to hiring decisions. It’s an unavoidable fact that each interviewer will have opinions and have had experiences which mean that they are inclined to gravitate towards when considering a potential candidate. This often subconscious preference is referred to as bias and it can be conscious or unconscious. And each one of us have them. Therefore, by involving a diverse range of multiple interviewers the possible play out and impact of these biases is mitigated and the evaluation and selection process becomes more balanced and less biased.
Panel interviews are often introduced as a key assessment stage before a final hiring decision is made. Often, the candidate is only facing one or two potential other contenders at this stage, therefore including more stakeholders and getting a range of opinions during this final stage increases the likelihood that a person is considered on all their merits and the right person is offered the job.
Another reason why panel interviews are often used by employers is to assess how the candidate responds and deals with some additional pressure that this format inevitably introduces into the assessment and selection process. Are they able to stay calm and focused, whilst sharing their expertise and building rapport, or do they succumb to their nerves and put in a less than average interview performance?


Travis O'Rourke
President, Hays, Canada
Travis O’Rourke joined Hays 9 years ago after holding various leadership roles elsewhere in the Canadian staffing industry. Travis setup and established Hays’ outsourced talent solutions business and played an integral role in building Hays’ temporary and contract divisions throughout Canada. Initially joining Hays with a deep background in Technology, he holds extensive cross functional knowledge to provide clients with talent solutions in Financial Services, Energy, Mining, Manufacturing, Retail, and the Public Sector.

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