Sunday, January 27, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Excelling in a Panel Job Interview

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Of the different types of job interviews, the one that can seem the most intimidating is the panel job interview. This type of interview consists of several interviewers posing questions rather than one on one. The interviewers are often a combination of an executive level manager, department manager over the position being applied for and an employee in that department. The interviewers can all be management level, too. Panel interviews are known for rapid questions with an eye to see how well an applicant handles stressful situations. Though this type of interview is definitely an advantage for the interviewers, it can be to an applicant's advantage, as well, if handled right.

Preparing for the interview is critical for it to be a success. It actually begins with submitting your resume and application for the position. That preparation is done no matter what type the interview is. When you receive the notice that you will have the panel interview, preparing for that specific interview begins with the phone call to set the time and place for the interview. Begin by writing down the time and place and repeat it back to the person you are speaking with to be certain you have it correctly. This is also a good time to try to find out the names of the interviewers if known. Then you begin the more in-depth preparations. The ten tips below will help you excel in a panel job interview.
  1. Research. Learn everything you can about the company, the department you would be working in and the specific position you are applying for. This will help you formulate questions to ask and answers to give as well as helping you feel a little more at ease with the interviewers.
  2. Rehearse. Practice every part of the interview you can, from the introductions to the close of the interview. Friends and family can help to get accustomed to rapid questions. This is a good time to formulate the questions you would like to ask, such as those regarding the specific duties you would be expected to carry out and what procedures there might be that relate to certain aspects of the job.
  3. Dress for success. Use care in selecting your clothing for the interview. You should go with business dressy. This means coat and tie for men. For women, there is a bit more choice. A modest dress, or a business type suit of slacks or skirt with a jacket are very appropriate. The first impression needs to be one of a person who is serious about doing his or her best for the company, so jeans and t-shirt or anything too revealing won't do.
  4. Be prompt. In fact, arrive a few minutes early. Not too early or the wait could be long enough for you to begin fidgeting. About ten minutes is good. Just long enough for you to relax and not feel rushed. Present yourself to the receptionist as soon as you arrive. Be polite and amiable when giving your name and the purpose of you visit. This is where you begin showing one of your best assets -- your smile.
  5. Bring a copy of your resume for each interviewer and a note pad for taking notes during the interview. Don't assume that each person will already have a copy. Even if this is the case, it will show preparedness to have them with you. Taking notes during the interview will demonstrate a serious attitude about the position.
  6. Make a good impression during introductions. Greet each interviewer with a firm handshake and a smile. Call the person by name, not only as a courtesy to the person but also as a way of connecting the name to the person so you can call each interviewer by name during the course of the interview.
  7. Answer questions fully but don't ramble. Giving good detail in answers is good but don't add irrelevant information. This is where your research on the company will help tremendously. Your answer can be relevant to that specific company. You can also make relevant reference to answers given to other questions.
  8. Make eye contact. This is very important as eye contact conveys confidence and leadership qualities. When answering each question, start and end with eye contact with the questioner, then also make eye contact with the other interviewers. It should appear natural, so don't move as though just going back and forth.
  9. Ask relevant questions regarding the company, the department and the specific duties your job will entail. Yes, that is right, what your job will entail. You should ask questions as though you already have been hired for the position. One very good question to ask is to be given a tour so you can see your work environment.
  10. Close the interview strongly. This can be just as important as starting the interview. Again, give a firm handshake to each interviewer and thank each one by name for the pleasure of the opportunity. Maintain your poise until you are completely out of the building. Follow up with thank you a letter to each interviewer.
Following these tips can help you make the most of a panel job interview and turn it to work in your favor.

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