How-To: Panel Interviews

Interviews are stressful, no matter how much you prepare, it still you across the table from someone who has an effect on your future, and sometimes it’s more than one person!  Panel interviews have pros and cons, but good or bad, we want you to be able to handle them with confidence.  Here are some tips for making your panel interview session a success.

PrepareHow-To: Panel Interviews

As with all interviews you will want to do some preparation.  The preparation for a panel interview requires a little more work because you should look up each person who will be there.  You will
want to consider what matters to them, how that will shape their questions, and how you should respond.  Knowing how to respond to basic questions with different angles is great so you can be ready no matter who asks the question.  You could also answer a question a couple of different ways to show your value to multiple teams at once.  “By taking a role-specific question and molding it to apply to each person on the panel, you’ve strengthened your rapport with the entire group—instead of just the question-asker.”


No matter how much preparation you do, what it all comes down to is what you practice.  Body language is of utmost importance, especially in panel interviews.  It’s not you across the table from one person; it’s you across the table from many, all eyes on you.  Be aware of your body language so you are portraying the right message.  The benefit of an in-person interview is that you are able to use your body language and your voice to get your message through, rather than just the latter.

When anticipating a panel interview you should be expecting some behavioral questions.  Multiple people will be asking you questions, they will want to know how you react in certain situations, and examples of how you have done so in the past.  “The best way to answer these questions is to give a PAR answer. Tell about the Problem you handled, the Action you took, and the Result of the action.

Work the Room (or Table)

To start the interview off right, try to introduce yourself to each interviewer and if you can get their business card, this will help you remember them, and have contact info for follow-up.  Once everyone is seated, perhaps the most uncomfortable part about panel interviews begins.  Who do you look at when you’re speaking, do you look at the person who posed the question to you, to the person with the most hiring power, or the person who smiles the most?  The answer: Everyone!  You should direct your answer to the person who asked the question and then as you begin to expand or explain details move your gaze to look at everyone at the table.

Thank Them

After your panel interview make sure to send an individual thank you note to every person who took the time to interview you.  These are busy people, so it is important to show them that you appreciate their time.

If you need help preparing for an interview call us today! The talent acquisition team at Menlo Partners Staffing is happy to answer your questions about recruiting.


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