by Matt Alderton | March 12, 2019
Group interviews -- also known as panel interviews or board interviews -- are notoriously difficult. "What could be more unnerving than sitting in front of a stranger grilling you about your qualifications?" contributor Daniel Bortz writes in an article for job-search website Monster. "Answer: a bunch of strangers grilling you. That's more or less what happens during a panel interview … when several employees from a company come together as a group to audition a candidate."
A panel interview is challenging because you have to impress multiple interviewers instead of just one. You can improve your odds, Bortz says, by researching ahead of time everyone who'll be in the room. "The recruiter setting up your job interview can provide you with the names and job titles of the panelists," he explains. "Knowing the job titles of the panelists can give you clues as to what kinds of questions you can expect, which in turn helps you prepare your answers.
"Remember," Bortz adds, "each person has his own agenda or department's interest at heart. For example, the HR representative will be checking to make sure you're a good culture fit, [while] the hiring manager will ask about your technical skills and business know-how."

But it's not enough to just know about everyone in the room; even more important is actually speaking to them. "Perhaps the biggest pitfall of all during panel interviews is the temptation to play to one panel member," career coach Pamela Skillings tells Bortz, who suggests preparing questions ahead of time for everyone in the room so you can more easily bring all parties into the discussion -- including mute observers.

Continues Skillings, "Sometimes, it's the quiet panel members, the ones who are silently watching and taking notes, that have the most hiring influence."

More Tips:

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
Contact Successful Meetings with your "How To" ideas.