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.

:

STOP.

 

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. 

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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!

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If you are looking to boost your personal brand power, there is no better way than doing it online. 

I hope you are just as excited as the audience from James Cook University (JCU) who came to learn more about how they could harness the power of their personal brand online in today’s personal branding workshop held on campus.

Let me share 3 proven ways which I personally use and which have reaped handsome dividends for me through the years.

 

Method #1: Give Away Your Best Content

We are all experts in our chosen field – having honed our skills and expertise over the years, from our course of study in school to our accumulated work experience.

Have you ever thought how you could package some of this content into easy-to-read, digestible bite-sized write-ups; and give them away for free?

Are you crazy? You may ask.

Well…

I’ve been doing this for years. And very often, I give away some of my best content for free. I believe in giving as it is like paying it forward. Honestly, I do not know who reads my blog posts, but I know once a certain blog post is published, it will attract a healthy number of eyeballs. 

If blogging is not what you are comfortable with, then try forums as they too are a good alternative to build your credibility.

When you give away your best content, you are letting your voice be heard by the masses. More importantly, when you publish content online, you instantly become an authority in that field.

 

Method #2: Be Active On Social Media

There is no running away from social media. Social media is huge and it is here to stay. So it’s either you learn to embrace it and work it to your advantage, or continue to stay oblivious in your own little world.

There are numerous social media platforms available. The question I’m normally asked is this – which one should I use?

My answer: the one you are most comfortable with and gives you the greatest mileage. 

It’s like applying for a credit card. You apply for the one you can associate intimately with and gives you the best perks in town (in terms of rewards or cash rebates or upfront benefits).

It is pointless to open too many social media accounts (I know all of them are free!) and not have the time and energy to manage them.

A classical case I always share is this – some people open a social media account because it’s trendy to do so. But they don’t even bother to add their profile picture. It’s still the default avatar or headless image. So what’s the point really? Do you think people will want to connect or network with an avatar or headless image?

Opening social media accounts is easy. The tough part is maintaining them constantly. 

 

Method #3: Have Your Own Website

It’s becoming increasingly important to have your own web presence so that the Google search spiders can crawl, search and index you online. And the best way to create your online brand presence is through a website.

Do not worry if you do not know HTML or JavaScript. There is no need to know any form of coding.

You just need a plug-and-play content management system like Wordpress where almost everything is done for you. All you need to do it to follow a few simple steps (yes, the JCU audience were amazed by how simple it was to get their first website up and running). 

Or try out other free web resources such as Google Sites (check out my digital portfolio https://sites.google.com/view/lionellim), Wix and Strikingly. 

Biggest secret – I completed my Google Sites online portfolio in just 2 hours! And it looks as professional as all my other websites.

The journey of creating a powerful personal brand online is an ongoing one. But the tangible results will always be something you will look back and relish for years to come =)

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