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Facing A Panel

On19/ 10 /16

X factor season is in full swing, with the live shows keeping us entertained each weekend.

The hopefuls are becoming quite used to being grilled after the auditions, boot camp and the six-chair challenge. However, now they have to face the judging panel and public each week.

At some stage in our careers, many of us will have a panel interview. Although this may seem intimidating, some solid preparation and the right method will help you to excel.

Here are our tools and techniques to help you face the panel with confidence, though it might not help you win the X Factor.

1. Knowledge is Power

It goes without saying that you should always research the company, its products or services and the role. However at a panel interview, it’s also crucial to research each panel member.

This will give you time to consider what will be important to each person, and brainstorm the questions each might ask. It is a key advantage to understand each person’s job role and what they would like to see in a potential employee.

2. Adapt Your Communication Style

Panel interviews do tend to be more formal and you may need to adapt your communication style.

Remembering names and roles is important so it can help to jot down the panellists names, in the order that they’re sitting. This way you can include their names in your answers. 

Next, try to make sure that you address each panellist. If you consistently focus on one person, you may alienate the other panel members. 

Make eye contact with each person during your answers. Start with the person asking the question, and then move your focus to the other members. Finally, bring your attention back to the questioner. 

3. Questions to Expect

In a panel interview setting, the group will often be limited to a fixed set of questions. This can mean that questions are more formal, with fewer conversational questions asked.

Prepare your elevator pitch and be ready to explain how you meet each criteria on the job spec. Also, make sure you have brushed up on competency-based questions, as these are often used in panel interviews.  Try to think about how you structure your answers, give plenty of examples and be as clear as possible.

Often panellists will have specific paperwork to fill out from the interview. If you make it as easy as possible for them to tick all the boxes, you could be on your way to success.

4. Prepare questions for each person

Your earlier research on each panel member will come into play when you hear the familiar ‘‘do you have any questions?’

Try to have something relevant prepared to ask each person. You can also refer back to earlier conversations from the rest of the interview.

5. Don’t be intimidated

Companies often use a panel interview to speed up the hiring process, allowing several company members to meet you at the same time. So try not to feel intimidated by the set-up.

The purpose of the interview remains the same as for a one to one, so try to deal with the questions in the same way – one at a time!

With the right preparation and by modifying your communication, you will have the best chance of success. And with a bit of practice, you shouldn’t feel like you’re facing Simon Cowell!
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