By: A student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as part of Heather Nelson’s Service Learning class.
An interview with more than one interviewer may seem intimidating, but, if you approach a panel interview the correct way, it’s likely to have a better outcome than a one-on-on interview. Here are 3 of the most important things to think about in your next panel interview to help you get the job. Now I know interviews can be stressful, so here’s just a few steps to be thinking about.
Step 1. Know Your Interviewers
If possible, find out who is going to be in your interview and do some research on the interviewers. In addition, knowing how many people to expect and what they may look like, or their background will make you much more comfortable. You want to know everything you can about the people that are asking you questions in order to provide good, thought-out answers. You can never be too prepared for a panel interview. If one of the interviewers played a part in a big project, research that project and mention it in the interview. Preparation is key!
Step 2. Treat Each Individual Individually
In a panel interview, it’s important to make sure that each member of the company feels included. This starts from the moment you walk in. Shake every interviewer’s hand and provide a genuine greeting with solid eye contact. Also, make sure you bring a resume for each interviewer, plus a few extra just in case. They will likely each have a copy already but showing adequate preparation can go a long way. There will be some questions that are broader and more based on yourself or your background, but there will also be questions from each interviewer that relate their department or job, so be sure to provide answers accordingly. For example, if they ask, “Tell me about yourself”, then be sure to share eye contact with each member of the panel as you answer, but if one member asks how you see yourself fitting into their department, then answer to that individual. When in doubt, make the interview conversational, it’ll go much smoother!
Step 3. The Follow Up
At the end of the interview, be sure to ask who you should be following up with afterwards. Bonus points if you can get every panel member’s business card. Between 24 and 48 hours, send an email to the interviewers thanking them for the opportunity and restating your interest in the position. If you have a question come up after the interview, this is the time to ask. If you are only able to get one interviewer’s contact information, make sure to send your thanks for all the interviewers.
These steps will help you ace your panel interview, but there’s many other tips that are worth researching. Many of the normal interview tips also apply for panel interviews. Just remember, when in doubt, just be yourself. Ultimately, any type of interview is for you to get to know what the company is about and for the company to find out who you are. Get comfortable (but not too comfortable, no putting your feet up) and try to relax and have a conversation with the interviewers. Just remember to prepare before the interview, address each person individually, and follow up professionally, and you’re sure to get the job!
About Omaha Skills Connection
Omaha Skills Connection is a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Omaha, Nebraska
established as a result of the post pandemic era to help bridge the skills gap between
education, technology and today’s workforce. Omaha needs an educated, flexible and dynamic
workforce in today’s knowledge-based economy. OSC connects talent to opportunity,
modernizing employee development for today’s workforce.