Interviews are ever-changing. As times and norms associated with the workplace evolve, so do the way we interview for roles. Panel interviews are great reflections of this as they point towards a more efficient and inclusive interview process than we see with one-on-ones.
Panel interviews are processes where there is one interviewee and several interviewers. These can be done in person or virtually, though it is usually the second step in the process, after a screening interview. Peer and Leadership interviews both abide by the same general concept, but, because the interviewers are so different, the focus of the interviewee needs to be as well.
General rules of interviewing should still be followed in either situation. You should know who you are interviewing with, ensure that you come prepared with resumes, notes, and prewritten questions, and be prepared to put your best foot forward. With that in mind, we have compiled some more nuanced tips for nailing each type of panel interview going forward.
Peer Panel Interviews
Peer panel interviews involve meeting with current employees that are around the same level as the job you are applying for. These are people that you will be interacting regularly with, so they are looking for someone who not only fits their group’s dynamics, but can also bring new and necessary skills to the table.
These interviews are tricky. They come down to being a balance of familiarity and professionalism. Future peers want to see the personality of their potential coworkers. They want to know who they will be working with beyond their resume.
That being said, it is important to remember that it is still an interview. Expected questions will be asked and, while jargon is far more acceptable in this setting, professional answers are still expected.
It takes time and practice to find this balance. Whether you are practicing in advance or cramming for tips last minute, follow these tips and put yourself in the best position possible for a successful interview:
- Learn everyone’s names and responsibilities.
- Ask if they are looking for skills not mentioned on your resume as this gives you an opportunity to bring up experiences that may have been left out previously.
- Ask what they are looking for in a teammate and peer.
- Use jargon sparingly. It is a good way to show that you understand what you are talking about, but, even amongst peers, it is seen as bad form in an interview.
- Do not get competitive. It is good to talk about achievements, but these people are not yet your coworkers and peers, so that attitude might come off as off-putting instead of good-natured.
- Ask about what they think about the role you are applying for and if they have any tips as to what make a successful employee.
Leadership Panel Interviews
Leadership panel interviews are more common than peer interviews. These panels often take place with varying levels of leadership and focus on your value as an employee more so than aspects of your personality. Leadership interviews such as these will have a similar feel to commonplace one-on-one interviews, meaning you can expect to hear most of the same questions.
What can be intimidating is the speed at which these questions might come at you. While companies are usually good at defining the roles of the interviewers before they go into the interview, it is easy for that organization to get muddled or lost throughout. As you answer questions, the panel will come up with more and, in a desire for more information in a limited time, interviewers might accidentally rush to be the next to speak.
it is important to keep a level head here and follow the tips we have below for ensuring that you have a unhurried, concise, and impressive interview:
- Breath: the interviewers are excited to get their questions in, but do not rush in your answers. Reset the pace by answering in your own time.
- Make eye contact and acknowledge each interviewer regularly, even if they are not actively asking a question.
- Write down the names of the interviewers in advance and label their location for later reference.
- When you are asking questions, ask specific interviewers based on what they told you their responsibilities were.
- Expect that you will repeat yourself multiple times and do not feel bad about asking others to repeat occasionally.
- Send separate thank-you emails to each interviewer later that day or early the next day.
Every interview is different and preparing is nearly a job in and of itself. Articles are tips such as these are a great way to start, but practicing with professionals is the best way to get feedback and develop comfort for these kind of situations. Thankfully, our dedicated recruiters are well versed in multiple forms of interviewing and are here to help!
If you are looking for a new job, check out our job board! If you are looking for something different than what we offer there, than send us an updated resume and we will connect you with a dedicated recruiter. Either way, we will be here to train and support you throughout the hiring process, so let us get started today!