FAQ: What Is a Panel Interview? (With Example Questions)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 30 October 2022
Published 27 September 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A panel interview is a popular interview technique that employers use to evaluate job candidates. You can succeed in this type of interview by researching your interviewers, practising interview questions and completing other preparation. If you're preparing for an interview with a group of panellists, it's helpful to understand what you can expect and learn about commonly asked questions and how to answer them. In this article, we explain what interview panels are and provide the answers to several frequently asked questions about this type of interview.
What is a panel interview?
A panel interview is a type of job interview that involves two or more members of a hiring team. The panel might include your potential supervisor, a human resources representative and other decision-makers. In this type of interview, each member has an opportunity to ask you questions about your experience, qualifications and goals.
Completing this type of interview can help employers make a collaborative decision on hiring a candidate, which can help them make the best choices for their organisation. The difference between a panel and a standard interview is that the former includes multiple hiring team members, while the latter is usually a one-on-one conversation with a job candidate and an interviewer.
Why do employers use interview panels?
Employers can conduct interviews with multiple hiring team members for many reasons, including:
Convenience: Many employers complete these interviews because of their convenience. Scheduling this kind of group interview instead of a series of individual interviews can make the hiring process more efficient for everyone.
Screening: These interviews can help a hiring team screen job candidates. Because these interviews require adaptability and quick thinking, they can help an employer assess how you would handle challenges.
Group dynamics: These interviews create group dynamics, which can help a hiring team assess your teamwork and collaboration skills.
Is a panel interview a good sign?
Getting asked to complete an interview with a group of panellists is usually a good sign. This is because it shows that the employer is willing to invest the time and energy of multiple people into interviewing you. This can strongly indicate that the company is interested in hiring you.
What can you expect from this interview?
If you're preparing for an interview with a panel, it's helpful to know what you can expect. Typically, these interviews involve a group of people who would work directly with you. The hiring manager facilitates the interview by asking standardised interview questions, and each panellist can choose to ask additional questions. The length and other specific details of the interview can vary by employer.
Are panel interviews hard?
Many people are curious about whether interviews with a panel are difficult. Although the fast-paced nature of these interviews can be challenging, you can make your interview easier by preparing adequately. Feeling equipped to handle interview questions can help you gain more confidence and improve your performance.
How can you prepare for a panel interview?
Preparing for an interview is essential to performing well. Here are some actions you can take to prepare:
Research your interviewers
One tip for preparing for this kind of interview is to take the time to research each member of the panel before your interview. Learn their names and job titles, and study key details such as their major accomplishments and important initiatives they've undertaken in the company. This way, you can know the name and background of each interviewer, which can help you communicate with them effectively during your interview.
Gather materials in advance
Another way you can prepare for your interview is to gather materials in advance. Make sure you bring plenty of business cards, copies of your resume and any other materials you need so that you have enough for each interviewer. It's helpful to bring more materials than you expect to need so you can prepare for any situation during your interview.
Prepare for follow-up questions
It's also important to prepare for follow-up questions. With multiple interviewers involved, interview panels tend to involve more extensive questioning than standard interviews. You can expect one interviewer to ask a follow-up question after you've answered a query from another. Prepare by having several examples of qualifications, experiences and accomplishments to share each time an interviewer asks a more involved question.
Related: How To Prepare for an Interview
How can you do well during your interview?
Here are some tips you can use to help you perform well during your interview:
Engage with each interviewer
One tip for performing well in this type of interview is to strive to engage with each interviewer individually. This can help you build rapport with everyone equally. As you establish a conversational and collaborative environment, you can communicate your teamwork abilities. Make eye contact when you speak with each interviewer, and try to give every panel member your attention when answering general questions.
Asking your own questions is a great way to show your interest in a position. You can come up with your own questions in advance or ask about information that interviewers mention in the interview. You can also ask about projects unique to each panellist.
Another tip for this type of interview is to speak conversationally. This can help make your interview more casual and friendly than a standard question-and-answer session. Try to refer to information from earlier in the interview to indicate that you have been listening carefully. Also, try to smile and show positive, relaxed body language to keep the tone of the interview relaxed.
What are common interview questions from a panel?
Practising your answers to commonly asked questions is a great way to prepare for an interview. Some common questions asked in this type of interview include:
Tell us about yourself
'Tell us about yourself' is a standard question that many interviewers ask at the beginning of an interview. In your answer, you can discuss why your skills and experience make you the ideal candidate for the position. Start by briefly explaining your current job before discussing your professional beginnings and what you would like to achieve in the future.
Example: 'I have worked for my current organisation for four years, and I earned a promotion to team leader last year. Before that, I earned a bachelor's degree from Lion City University and a certification in business management from Merlion Business College. I intend to use my qualifications to fulfil my goal of becoming an executive for a mission-driven organisation.'
Why should we hire you?
Often, interviewers ask this question to see how you compare to other candidates. Your answer to this question can highlight what makes you a unique candidate compared to others. You can start by mentioning background details and past accomplishments that relate to the job opening before discussing what you feel is your top strength as a candidate.
Example: 'My high-level problem-solving and critical thinking skills are ideal for this position, and my leadership experience has prepared me for this advanced role. The marketing industry award I won last month also demonstrates my dedication to success in the workplace.'
Can you discuss a time when you collaborated with another department on a project?
Interviewers may ask this question to assess your teamwork and collaboration skills. In your answer, try to mention a specific example that illustrates your teamwork capabilities, including a challenge you faced and a specific outcome you achieved.
Example: 'I recently led a project collaboratively with the team leader of another department. I faced the challenge of creating a schedule and adjusting our plan after receiving feedback. I concluded the project by generating 15% greater revenue than planned.'
Do you have any questions?
This is another popular interview question, and coming up with a strong answer is essential to closing the interview with a good performance. Your answer to this question allows you to illustrate your level of interest in the position and how much you have researched the company. You can prepare questions in advance, and you can also ask about topics that you discussed during the interview.
Example: 'Can you tell me more about the next steps of the market research project? I'm interested in learning more about how I might contribute to this project in this role.'
How can you tell if an interview went well?
After completing an interview, many people are curious to determine how well they performed. There are many signs that indicate an interview went well, including:
The interviewers showed positive body language, including smiling.
The interview lasted for longer than you expected it to.
You and the interviewers discussed the next stages of the hiring process.
The interviewers mentioned the salary and benefits of the position.
The tone of the interview felt conversational and relaxed.
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