Most people do not like panel interviews. It is not merely one person who is interviewing you, it’s more! Sometimes the panel of interviewers could consist of four or five individuals. Panel interviews are typically more comfortable for candidates with experience in performing arts, teaching, or presenting as these candidates often feel in their element in front of an audience. For the rest of us, panel interviews can be a stomach-knotting experience. Nothing to be afraid of however! Preparing for a panel interview is the same as preparing for a one-to-one interview: research the company, practice answering common interview questions, and prepare a list of questions to ask the hiring managers.  Only the manner in which the actual interview is facilitated is a little different.

Here is what to expect: You will enter a room with a few interviewers seated behind a desk. Introduce yourself and wait for instruction to be seated. You will be asked a number of questions by each of the interviews who will likely take turns asking their questions. They will be assessing how you handle stress, how you interact with a diverse range of people, and how you present to a group. Thus, remember to not only speak to the interviewer asking the questions, but to make eye contact and speak to everyone—just like you would present to a room of people. Furthermore, ensure you use the interviewers’ names. If you have difficulties remembering names, perhaps you ought to write them down at the beginning of your interview.

Panel interviews are conducted because they are efficient. Where time is money, all of the people involved in the hiring process have the opportunity to meet you at once, then deliberate and provide their input immediately following your interview. Ensure you collect business cards from each employer so that you can follow up with a thank-you card or email once you get home. Collecting business cards is smart because business cards provide the individuals’ names (with correct spelling), phone numbers, and often email addresses too so that you can connect directly with your intended recipient and not have to go through a gate keeper. Sending a thank-you note to each of the interviewers after the interview will also make you more likable and personable, and hopefully help you to become a contributing member of their team. If there was anyone in that room who was not on your side, this is your opportunity to win them over, hopefully. Fingers crossed!