Thursday, January 3, 2013

7 Ways to Impress an Interview Panel

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Great news! They would like to see you and there will be three of them interviewing you.."
"Wonderful" you say "Really looking forward to it". Then you put the phone down and feel sick.
Being interviewed by more than one person can be problematic. The worst case scenario is that not all panel members are singing from the same hymn sheet. Internal politics may come into play with the appointment of a new team member, noses may be put out of joint and reporting lines fought over.

There is not much you can do about the politics of the situation but plenty you can do to give yourself an edge and influence the outcome in your favour. Get the names of all those who will be interviewing you along with their titles.

Go to the company website and look them up. If they don't appear by name there, does it say anything about the departments they work for? Has there been a new product launch? A new technological innovation? Google them to find out as much personal background information as you can. That way you will start to build up a picture of your interviewers, their triumphs and challenges before you face them. When you arrive for the interview have a friendly word with the Receptionist.

Smile. You then create the right impression from the start and that will help you relax. Enter the room and smile and extend your hand to each panel member. Give a firm handshake and look each person in the eye. You will be under constant scrutiny so take a deep breath and relax. Create an open and welcoming stance. If your hands tend to shake when you're nervous then cross them in your lap.

Answer questions by firstly looking at the person who has addressed the question to you but include all other panel members in eye contact. You then bring everyone into the conversation and avoid ignoring the person who is not asking as many questions as the others. Don't be put off or discouraged if one particular panel member seems abrupt or even downright rude.

You do not know what their agenda is or whether there is any personal animosity between panel members. Perhaps they are simply having a bad day. It's unprofessional but it happens. Do not get angry. Do not allow them to fluster you. A good response to a difficult or even downright rude question fired at you is "Let me take a moment to consider that point." Think carefully, look them in the eye and calmly, with a smile, answer them. Not only have you shown you cannot be intimidated, but you also think carefully before you commit yourself. In addition you will have gained the respect of the other panel members. When asking questions, try to ask a question of each of your interviewers.

Do your homework beforehand and make them relevant. Ask if any panel member has any concerns so you can address them immediately and put right any misunderstandings or any matter that is unclear. And always, always ask for the job at the end of the interview. They are unlikely to say yes on the spot, after all they will need to compare notes, but asking for the job shows you are serious and excited about joining their organisation.

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