When thinking about an interview we most often envision a one-on-one scenario, however, group or panel interviews are becoming more popular. A panel interview is when one person is interviewed by several people all at the same time. This is often done for the following reasons: 1) Getting everyone together at once saves time, 2) It can show how the interviewee handles the stress of rapid questions and, 3) It can show how the potential employee interacts with others in a professional setting.
During the process it is important to treat each participant with the same respect, you cannot be certain who might be the actual decision maker. Each person there will have a particular interest. The HR manager might want to know if you are a good fit for the company. The team leader might want to assess your personality and the supervisor might want to assess your skill level.
At the start of the interview it is a good idea to shake hands with each member of the panel and get a business card. By getting a business card you will be able to address each person by name and know their title and interest in the interview.
When asked a question respond by looking directly at the questioner and then slowly make eye contact with the other members of the group. As you finish your answer, focus back on the person who asked the question.
A panel interview can be very stressful with many questions being asked at the same time. To calm your nerves it is best to spend a little extra time preparing. Make certain that you are familiar with the job description and what the job entails. Memorize your resume and be able to talk specifically about past job duties, clients worked with and challenges conquered. Research the company online and through current periodicals. Have questions prepared, dress appropriately and display proper business etiquette.
Finally, send a thank you note/email to everyone on the panel. Make each note personal by referring to a question they may have asked you directly. Be positive and follow up with the person who originally set up the interview. If you have any questions on a panel interview give Kunin Associates a call and one of our professional recruiters will be happy to talk with you.

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