Do you Make These mistakes in a Panel Interview?

The panel interview sometimes referred to as the "tag-team interview" or the "team interview" is a great way for employers to evaluate job seekers. The thought of meeting one hiring manager in the job interview is terrifying enough for many people. For many job seekers, just thinking about a panel interview can really elevate stress levels significantly before the job interview.

The key to managing this kind of interview stress is the same as preparing for other types of interviews – preparation. Doing company research and knowing what you want will increase your confidence level in the job interview regardless of the number of interviewers.

Plan for your panel job interview in the same way you would for all other interviews and don't let the thought of multiple interviewers or recruiters in the job search add to your stress.

Here are a couple of areas for your special attention when you have multiple recruiters in your job interview:

1. Do you talk to only one person on the panel?
Panel interviews require that interview candidates manage conversations with multiple people at the same time. If you are only addressing the person who asked you the question, you are not being effective.

This might be hard to do, but imagine you are at a networking event where you might be speaking with one person and a third person joins your conversation. In that networking situation, you might be addressing an issue with one person who has asked the question, but you are definitely making eye contact with everyone else in the group.

Panel interviews will require that you do the same.

2. Do you take extra copies of your resume or business cards?
Sometimes members of the panel might have been called in as a last minute substitution for someone else on the interviewing team and might not have a copy of your resume. Take extra copies of your resume to the job interview, just in case someone on the panel needs a copy. You will appear to be more prepared.

3. Are you distracted by strange or odd behaviors you might perceive from the interviewers?
For example, one interviewer might seem particularly grumpy while another seem overly friendly. Keep in mind each person interviewing you might be critiquing you based on how their department will interact with you and your job. Do not take any behavior you notice here personally.

4. Did you try to get contact information for the interview panel?
Interview follow-up is really important. If you are not able to collect the information you need from your panel, follow up after your job interview. Connect with the office support staff in the area where you interviewed. They will most likely be able to get you the interview panel information you need. This way you can send each the appropriate follow-up letter.

5. Are you asking questions of any or all the recruiters on the job interview panel?
If you need clarification of how the role you would assume, if hired, interacts with other jobs or specific departments, this is the time to ask.

6. Are you stressing unnecessarily because you fear the panel interview?
Final tip? Be yourself and be professional regardless of the number of interviewers. Be polite and express your gratitude to everyone you meet. If you are the candidate of choice, you may be working closely with these folks on the job. If you are not the candidate of choice for this specific job, you might be surprised to receive a job offer from one of the other interviewers on the panel. I have seen that happen as well.

The bottom line is to remain professional. The panel interview gives you the chance to learn more about the company and employees, before getting on the job. In some cases, that might be too late.