Panel or committee interview is just what it sounds like – the candidate is interviewed by up to ten individuals in a group. Governments, school districts, healthcare facilities, and medium/large organizations commonly use this technique. One person may ask all the questions, or each member of the panel may ask questions. It is important to maintain eye contact with the person asking the question and to give an answer, followed by a supporting example. Always acknowledge the other interviewers by making eye contact with them while answering rotating questions. Direct your attention at the beginning and end of your response to the person who asked you the question. The individuals on the panel will more than likely be your supervisors or co-workers (many times department heads).
The questions asked in the interview are often created in advance. The interview committee may have already decided which answers they will accept or prefer for each of the questions. You really need to be on your toes at this meeting, because there are many observers asking questions. Try to identify the leader of the panel or the supervisor of the position for which you are applying. Think of the group as one person and try not to be intimidated. Ignore note taking by the interviewers, and focus on explaining your skills and experience. Get the interviewers’ names at the beginning of the interview, and weave them into your answers. Make sure you write down all the names and specifics when you leave the meeting; this will help you to personalize the thank-you letters you will send after the interview.
You would prepare for this meeting like any other interview. Ensure you research the organization and job requirements; know your strengths and accomplishments, and how they relate to the position. Put together a few questions to ask the panel, but do not single anyone out, as this may make him or her feel uncomfortable. This type of interview will also give you an opportunity to observe the individuals that could possibly become your supervisors or peers.
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We look forward to partnering with you in the future,
Candace Davies ACCC, CRW, CIC, CPRW, CEIP, CECC
Review Candace’s credentials here.