3 Tips For A Successful Panel Interview
The mere thought of having to sit through a panel interview is enough to cause most to have sleepless nights or for some, to literally pee in their pants.
Imagine having a team of interviewers seated opposite you while you are all alone. It’s as if they are staring at you mercilessly and doing their utmost best to nitpick all your flaws.
The butterflies in your stomach? Check it now.
The cold sweat breaking out or sweaty palms? Check it now too.
Tell yourself all this is common. It is perfectly normal.
You are still alive. You are still breathing.
So there must be a workable solution to resolve the supposed ‘threat’ of the panel interview.
As a seasoned panel interviewer myself, I am happy to share what really works. And you are in luck as the 3 tips I’m going to share will help you score a successful panel interview.
Tip #1: Give Eye Contact
I’m often asked this question “who do you give eye contact to in a panel interview?”
Well, you should first look at the interviewer who asked you the question. This is basic courtesy. Then as a mark of respect, you would look at the other panel members as you continue with your answer to the question posed. Just like how a windscreen wiper works, you slowly shift your eye gaze from left to right, or right to left; taking reference from the interviewer who asked you the question.
Remember, your aim is to score maximum points from all the panel members and create the impression that everyone feels involved in the conversation.
Tip #2: Think Positively
The best kept secret is this – the panel interviewers, like you, do not enjoy being in the room. After all, having to conduct the panel interview would mean having to take precious time off from their busy work schedules.
And we all know in some organisations, companies or schools – the panel interview literally takes the whole day. I know this better than anyone else as I used to sit on the panel interviews for 3 consecutive years back then, having to finish the list of all candidates who turned up. The worst is after the interview, upon returning to office, and having to clear work emails, complete presentation slides and meet project deadlines.
Once you start thinking positively, you will feel a huge stone lift itself from the shoulders.
Since both the panel interviewers and you are in the same room, why not make the best of this time (usually it’s 15 to 20 minutes per candidate) to create a meaningful connection? Start off by building rapport and then getting to know one another better.
No one is here to judge you. Everyone’s here to get to know you and answer any doubts or queries you may have regarding the job offer or course of study you have applied to.
Treat the panel members as your friends, albeit with a little more respect.
Tip #3: Smile
Very often, we smile because we have noticed someone else’s presence. This is true. But to me, the smile does more than just that sole purpose.
The smile is also the best form of disguise.
When you smile, you are taking both pressure and stress off yourself.
When you smile, you are relaxing your facial muscles and jaw.
When you smile, you are allowing your shoulders to be less uptight.
And when you smile, you are actually putting the panel interviewers at ease.
That’s why when you smile, you are doing more good than you actually know.
Here’s a personal tip you can try – it worked for me as I actually got hired in my job interview. I reckon it will work for you too.
While the smile is effective, laughter is more powerful. And you should work on this.
If you can manage to get the entire panel members laughing, 99.9% you have won them over. That was what I did.
Since you have made up your mind to attend the panel interview, then you should also do your best to ace it. As I have shared, it is not difficult to have a successful panel interview (as long as you master these 3 tips) and leave the room beaming knowing you have done well.
All the best!