Panel interviews are one of the core elements of running a business. The process involves interviewing a candidate with one or more interviewers behind a desk asking different questions from their professional field. It is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in the world that many employees have come through. Surely you have heard the advice to come prepared, stay calm, focus and answer the questions the best you can. If you feel nervous about an upcoming panel interview, these hints may help you choose your course of action. Or, more specifically, they will help you avoid seeming unprofessional and prevent awkward situations. Keep these in mind, and you will find it a lot easier to pass the interview successfully and not mess things up. So here are 10 things you should never do in a panel interview.
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There is one obvious thing you should avoid. Most panel interviews are viewed more as a professional discussion. You definitely shouldn’t forget the names of the people you are talking with if you want to become one of their team members. Otherwise, it could get incredibly awkward. Even worse, it may show you as an inattentive and impolite person. So make sure to memorize the names of your interviewers at the very beginning or look them up beforehand, if it’s possible.
On a panel interview, you will be addressing multiple people. It’s a common delusion that you should always address a person with a higher position first. Remember that all interviewers on the panel will have a say during the final discussion regarding your candidature for the role. Try to talk with all of them to make a good impression and increase the chances of being hired.
Try not to talk too much or stay silent for more than necessary. Listen carefully to what the interviewer is asking you. But don’t rush with your answers. Let the person speaking finish the question and give other interviewers the possibility to add something if they want to. Otherwise, you can interrupt someone, and that isn’t very polite. It is okay to have a few rehearsed answers for common questions. However, what you have practiced saying may not be enough for specific questions. Even if it is unrelated to what you rehearsed, think carefully about what they have said so that you know what they want to hear in return.
Body language is important in giving an impression to new people. The interviewers are not just listening to you. They are looking at you while you talk and can decide for themselves the emotions behind your answers. If you look laid back or slouched, it gives off the impression of laziness or uninterest. Focus on your posture and always look at the person you are responding to.
Everyone can get nervous in stressful situations. A slip of the tongue and everything can go awry. What’s important is that you shouldn’t give up. Sometimes the best thing to do is admit that you are too flustered, allowing yourself some time to breathe and collect your thoughts. Interviewers wouldn’t reprimand you for being nervous. But if you give up now, you will regret it later.
If an interviewer asks you something you find inappropriate or impolite, you have the right not to answer the question. However, if you still need to respond, choose the words wisely and try not to get into an argument with the interviewer. It definitely won’t end well for both parties. So even though you do not feel comfortable with the question, remain calm and answer appropriately.
It is easy to get caught up in the moment and feel like you need to answer everything quickly. Or you may be so nervous and want to get the interview over with as soon as possible. But don’t rush, as it is the most common way to make mistakes. Take your time, and you may find the process naturally quicker than you thought.
Turn off your phone before the interview starts. Using it during the discussion is simply rude towards the interviewers and will distract you. You can turn on your phone once the interview is over and write down the contacts of the interviewers.
The job of the interviewer is to make sure that you are skilled and competent enough for the position. But you should also know what you are getting into, especially with the people who could potentially be your advice-center. It is perfectly fine to ask your interviewer questions when it is appropriate. You have the right to know as much as you can before making a decision.
Don’t forget to get the contact information from every person on the panel. Since they are all equally important to the interview process, having all of their contacts will only benefit you. One of them may contact you with further details. Or, if you have any questions, you can contact them yourself to clarify the information.
Here is a list of example panel questions you can prepare for: