How to do well a panel interview.

There’s no denying that however much  experience you have within an industry, interviews can still be tricky to handle.  As well as ensuring that they present a positive and accurate impression of your abilities, you need ensure that you come across as the sort of person that the interviewers are going to want to work with. Today more employers use group interviews so that different people within the business are able to make judgements on potential employees. And if you have an interview for a university, or council, a panel interview might be likely.

How, then, should you go about dealing with a group interview?

  1. show you can work well with everyone in the room.Make an effort to build a relationship with everyone in the room, and never just focus replies on one person, even if only one person is actually asking them a question
  2. constantly appear interested.  The interviewers are evaluating whether an applicant will be able to contribute positively to their business, so they’re far more likely to want to hire someone who genuinely seems interested and is pro-active in getting involved with both the company and the people around them.  One of the worst impressions that any interviewee can make is looking bored and disinterested with the process
  3. if you are interviewed alongside other potential candidates for the role, then it can be better to lead than to follow.  If you are overly quiet, then it might well be that you end up blending into the background, which means that whilst you might not fail the interview as such, the job is still more likely to go to someone who’s more memorable. There is a caveat however: leading well also involves listening - so don't try and force the agenda. Make sure that all points of view are listened to without prejudice and demonstrate an ability to make balanced decisions.

How to succeed in an interview.

You should also make sure that you highlight your communication skills, as this is one of the main areas that people look for in a modern jobs market where inter-departmental discussion is frequent. Fortunately, a group interview is the perfect atmosphere in which to show that you are comfortable communicating with different people.  

It is not uncommon for popular jobs to receive a minimum of thirty or so applicants, so it’s important to stand out.  As well as dressing up in your smartest clothes (which should be a given for an interview),  try and make some form of personal connection with the interviewer, whether it be a talk about sports or about raising a family. When you walk away from the interview, the person responsible for hiring can look at the list of potential candidates and specifically recall them.