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How to succeed in panel interviews: 4 tips for success

Congratulate yourself: you got the interview! All the hard work you put into your CV and application form paid off. Now, get over it. Getting the interview is just the start of a long and difficult journey to job hunt success.

If you’re lucky enough to be shortlisted for a job you have another chance to impress your prospective employer – this time in person. But forget the cosy, one-on-one tête-à-tête because job interviews are changing and it’s increasingly likely that you could be one of many facing, not one, but many in the dreaded panel interview.

For employers, pressed for both time and money, panel interviews present a convenient and efficient way of killing two (maybe more) birds with one stone.

Instead of interviewing candidates singly employers are choosing to present their shortlist  to several members of the organisation, who may or may not also be recruiting. It’s a tough gig and one designed to put pressure on job applicants. As well as showing your performance under pressure, a panel interview tests your multitasking and communication skills – after all you could be dealing with the panel, their questions and other applicants all at the same time.

If the thought of facing a Britain’s Got Talent panel of interviewers gets you hot under the collar, fear not! We’ve come up with some sure fire ways to beat the nerves and impress everyone in the room. Follow our tips and you’ll be the candidate with the X Factor.

1 – Preparation is key

In advance of the interview, find out who will be on the panel. Find out the names and job titles of the interviewers and spend some time considering the types of questions they might ask. For example, a marketing manager might ask questions about social media or engaging with customers whereas a sales manager might want to know about return on investment or the sales funnel. Whether or not these have any bearing on the job you’ve applied for, it’s essential you familiarise yourself with the topics they consider important.

2 – Introduce yourself

When you enter the interview greet each member of the panel in turn and introduce yourself. Offer your business card and if they have one, take it. When you sit down, arrange the cards in front of you in the order of the interviewers, it will help you remember their names (alternatively make a note on a piece of paper) as the interview progresses.

3 – Pitch yourself right

When asked a question, reply directly to the person who asked it and ensure you use positive body language, such as eye contact and open hand gestures, to include all the members of the panel. It’s essential you don’t isolate the panel by concentrating too much on one member – it’s very easy to do when you’re nervous.

4 – Keep in touch

After the interview, be sure to send a short thank you email to each of the panel members. Many employers react positively to this, as it shows you have taken the interview seriously enough to ‘close the loop’ and are, therefore, serious about the job. Also, if you don’t get the job you applied for, you have maintained contact with the other members of the panel who may just remember you when a new opportunity arises.

Our team of recruitment consultants are always on hand to offer advice and guidance on all aspects of the job application process. If you need any help don’t hesitate to contact us.

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