Tips to Succeed in a Panel Interview (+ Thank You Note)

What's a panel interview? And how do you succeed in one? A job interview, in addition to your cover letter and resume/CV, is an important tool for a potential employer to examine your qualifications as a candidate.

Although many interviews consist of one-on-one talks with the hiring manager, others entail speaking with many members of the recruiting team at the same time. Because these complex interactions are more difficult than standard interviews, they frequently need more preparation.

panel interview

What is a panel interview?

A panel interview is a discussion between two or more members of a recruiting committee. Your future supervisor, a human resources representative, or other decision-makers may be on the panel.

Each panel member gets the chance to ask you questions about your experience, credentials, and objectives during a panel interview.

Panel interviews are requested by hiring teams for a variety of reasons. Generally, you'll know you're part of a panel interview when there are several interviewers asking you questions simultaneously. Rather than a single interviewer.

Why is a panel interview performed?

Here's why a panel interview helps companies.

To save time

During the recruiting process, many companies ask candidates to meet with numerous decision-makers. The recruiting process may be made more efficient for everyone if a panel interview is scheduled instead of a series of individual interviews.

Generally, this one interview saves time, rather than the company performing multiple.

Challenge the interviewer

Panel interviews may assist a recruiting team to analyze how you would handle high-stress roles and significant problems since they involve adaptation and fast thinking.

To show teamwork and collaboration

Panel interviews generate group dynamics, which may assist a recruiting team analyze how you'd conduct teamwork and collaborations with groups of coworkers.

panel interview

Learn what a group interview is.

How to respond to a panel interview invite

If you receive an invitation to a panel interview and they ask you to confirm your availability, answer straight away.

If you are unable to attend, please notify them as soon as possible and request a another day and time. Call the office if you have any questions regarding the interview. Use the phone number or email address that they have provided you with.

Make sure to conduct some research on both the firm and the individual interviewers while preparing for a panel interview.

You should be familiar with their responsibilities at the firm and have at least one question prepared for each of them. You can respectfully request a list of everyone you'll meet, along with their job titles, if the firm hasn't provided information on all interviewees.

You might wish to confirm the job interview a day or two before the interview. Confirm the time and date with the office. You should also confirm the meeting place, who you'll be meeting with, and how you'll get there.

Email invitation example

Here's what you could expect to see when you get a panel interview invite:

Dear John,

Tomorrow we'd like to invite you to attend our panel interview. You'll be speaking with three people who are going to ask you questions related to your prior work.

To help you prepare, we'd like to share who you'll be interviewing with.

You'll be interviewing with:

  • John Stevens, Product Manager
  • Ian Smith, VP of Product
  • June Stevens, SVP of Product

Your interview time is 10:30am on Friday, August 21st.

Thank you so much,

Kate Hunt

HR Representative

Tips on how to succeed in a panel interview

Here's how to succeed in this type of interview.

Research the company and interviewers

Before your interview, do some research on each member of the panel. Study crucial facts such as their big successes and important projects they've done in the firm, as well as their names and job descriptions. To demonstrate your interest in the recruiting process, address each member of the panel by their name during the interview.

Be prepared

Make sure you have enough materials to present to each member of the recruiting team when you arrive for your interview. Bring extra business cards and resume/CV copies than you think you'll need to ensure you're well-prepared.

panel interview

Prepare in advance by researching the position, skills required, and other factors that could be useful to talk about while interviewing.

Engage with every interviewer

During a panel interview, make an effort to engage with each interviewer individually so that you may develop an equal relationship with everyone. You may communicate your teamwork talents by establishing a communicative and collaborative setting. When speaking with each interviewer, make eye contact and attempt to give each panel member your whole focus when answering basic questions.

Use conversation to your advantage

Turn your interview into a discussion to make it more than a conventional question-and-answer session. Refer to prior exchanges in the interview to show that you've been paying attention and analyzing what your interviewers have said. When speaking with each interviewer, turn to face them to pay attention to nonverbal clues.

Have follow-up questions prepared

Panel interviews are more fast-paced and entail more thorough questioning than regular interviews since they involve two or more decision-makers. After you've answered a question from one interviewer, you may expect a follow-up question from another. When an interviewer asks a more in-depth question, be prepared to provide many instances of credentials, experiences, and accomplishments.

panel interview

Ask your own questions

Ask questions! Ask your interviewers some questions in addition to replying to the panel's questions to show your interest. As you investigate the firm and the members of the recruiting team, try to come up with questions ahead of time. Inquire about each panelist's distinctive initiatives or aspects during the interview.

Common panel interview questions

Below are common questions a candidate could get asked in a panel interview.

Tell us about yourself

Your response to this question (tell me about yourself) should explain why you are the best candidate for the position based on your qualifications and experience. Start by giving a brief summary of your present professional status before addressing your professional beginnings and what you hope to achieve in the future.

Example: “I've been with my present company for three years and received a promotion to team leader last year. Prior to that, I had a bachelor's degree from Iowa University and a certification in business management from Northwestern University. I plan to leverage my passion and expertise to achieve my objective of becoming a mission-driven organization's executive.”

Why should we hire you?

This is a common question used by interviewers to set you apart from other candidates. Discuss what makes you a unique candidate and how you differ from the competition when you respond. Before showcasing a single feature that makes you a great applicant, start by providing background facts and prior accomplishments that are relevant to the job opportunity.

Example: “My advanced problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities are perfect for this position, and my leadership experience has prepared me for this advanced role,” for example.

What is your greatest strength?

Ideally, you highlight what makes you a unique candidate for the position. Mention key abilities. And mention prior jobs where you were able to achieve success.

Example: "In my last position, I was able to use my language capabilities to my advantage. I was the go-to person for any customer service related issues."

panel interview

What is your greatest weakness?

When asked this question, ideally, you respond with a weakness that could be considered a strength, too. Having a high degree of attention to detail, for example. Can be a good thing and a not so good thing. Ensure that you're using answers that aren't intimidating to employers.

Tell us about a time you collaborated with another department

This is a common question used by interviewers to set you apart from other candidates. Discuss what makes you a unique candidate and how you differ from the competition when you respond. Before showcasing a single feature that makes you a great applicant, start by providing background facts and prior accomplishments that are relevant to the job opportunity.

Example: “My advanced problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities are perfect for this position, and my leadership experience has prepared me for this advanced role,” for example. The marketing sector award I received last month illustrates my commitment to professional success.”

Do you have questions for us?

This question allows you to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job and how well you've researched the organization. Inquire about a topic that came up earlier in the interview or use the questions you prepared ahead of time.

Example: “Could you tell me more about the next actions you plan to take after finishing the large market research assignment last month?” for example. I understand that this job has been involved in the project, and I'd want to learn more about how I may help in this capacity.”

More questions to ask at the end of an interview.

Send a thank-you email

Make sure to send a thank-you note to every person in the room. Take the business card or contact information of each person who attended.

A successful completion of any interview includes sending a thank-you note at the end. Writing thoughtful thank-you notes can have a significant impact on your job search and career.

Here's a panel interview thank-you email example:

Dear John,

I appreciate the panel interview yesterday. It was great to meet you. I enjoyed your questions regarding company culture. And I appreciate that they were asked. Company culture is one of the main reasons I wanted to interview with the company.

I look forward to the next steps.

Sincerely,

John

panel interview

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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