Benefits of a Panel Interview:
1. Allows you to obtain diverse perspectives.
With panel interviews, the group of interviewers' diverse viewpoints, experiences, and discussion points will help a hiring manager or recruiter gain a well-rounded perspective of what skillsets and characteristics will benefit the company.
2. Reduces the possibility of hiring bias.
Remaining consistent and unbiased in interviews allows everyone on the panel to highlight distinct characteristics or behavioral traits that stand out. With these varied perspectives, the interview remains fair, and everyone on the panel is allowed room to express their thoughts.
3. Measures how well candidates handle themselves under pressure.
Interviews can be a daunting experience for potential candidates. Panel interviews provide hiring managers with the opportunity to assess how well candidates handle themselves when they are under pressure.
4. Tests the candidates' communication and multitasking skills.
Similar to assessing candidates' socializing skills, a panel interview is able to gauge how well candidates communicate with others and their ability to multitask.
Is their etiquette up to company standards? Are they able to keep track of the conversation? These are valid assessment points that could help determine the candidate's ability to fit into the company.
5. Reduces hiring time.
The interview procedure is significantly shortened because panel interviews typically include a hiring manager, two company representatives, and an HR representative. Using a panel interview saves time by allowing these many viewpoints to evaluate candidates simultaneously instead of doing separate interviews.
How to Conduct a Panel Interview:
Five easy steps on how to conduct a successful panel interview.
Assemble and prep your interview panel.
Choose diverse panel representatives.
When choosing your interview panel members, it's important that you reflect the diversity of your company, as well as the different departments that will regularly interact with the chosen candidate.
While your interview panel would likely consist of the hiring manager and an HR representative, consider adding one or two representatives from different divisions to provide the perspectives of possible peers. That said, ensure that you balance the gender, racial makeup, and other aspects of diversity among the interviewers.
Define the goals of the panel interview.
Before conducting interviews, your panel members should be informed of the goals of the interview, as well as the topics and characteristics that define the job description.
Share the formal job description with the interview panel and discuss which key points to highlight or avoid in the interview. During this process, allow each panel member the opportunity to identify talking points or assessments that would help achieve the interview's ultimate goal.
Prepare your list of interview questions.
It's important that your team is clear on the list of questions that will be asked during the interview. While most of the questions should be based on the job's requirements, allow each panel member time to come up with questions they feel relate to the candidate's ability to fit into the company's workplace dynamic.
To ensure a smooth interview process, consider defining the number of interview questions allowed and give each panel member equal time to ask their respective questions.
Create a candidate rating system.
A candidate rating system will allow you to compare applicants objectively by measuring their suitability for the position. With a panel interview, each interviewer could assign the candidate a score from one to five based on how well they answered questions related to the job's requirements.
When preparing your rating system, make sure that you've established your final list of questions and ask each panel member what they feel would be suitable answers. This will help your panel remain consistent and prepared during the interview process.
Inform candidates of the panel interview.
Choose the type of interview that will be conducted.
Will you be conducting in-person interviews? Or will you opt for a conference call? While video conference interviews are ideal for filling remote positions, the best style of interview for panels is in person, as this will allow every member the opportunity to gauge candidates' responses in real time.
Video conferencing interviews could also be plagued by disruptions or signal failure, which may extend interview times and disturb the flow of questions. In addition, an in-person interview will help better assess interpersonal skills, as well as punctuality and etiquette.
Make sure that the setting for your interviews is a conference room that allows panel members to view and assess candidates clearly.
Provide candidates with interview details.
Provide applicants with enough notice so they can thoroughly prepare for the interviews. When informing the applicants, highlight which documents are required, the duration of the interview, the venue, the acceptable attire, and any other pertinent information that will guarantee a successful interview.
Conduct the panel interview.
Introduce each interviewer.
Introduce each interviewer to help foster trust, build rapport, and underline your business's dedication to inclusion. Make sure that you state each panelist's position and full name, and briefly discuss how their function or division would interact with the advertised position.
Allow each panel member the chance to ask questions.
While the hiring manager typically acts as the "lead," it's important that all panel members be given the opportunity to ask questions. This will continue to underline the idea of inclusion and give candidates a better understanding of workplace dynamics.
Additionally, panelists with specialized skills or experiences will be able to articulate questions in an informed and detailed manner.
As the leader of the interview, the hiring manager should ensure that time limits are adhered to and that the interview topics discussed in the first step are fairly addressed. It's also imperative that candidates are given sufficient time to respond to all questions.
Hold a follow-up discussion.
Compare interview notes.
Once the interview has concluded, encourage members to share and discuss their scores to provide the hiring manager with diverse viewpoints on how each member analyzed candidates' answers. This quick discussion will also allow candidates' answers to remain fresh and documented.
Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.
When you've completed your final round of interviews, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate and compare them with your scores and the job description. Allow each panelist the opportunity to list their ideal candidates and their reasons for choosing them.
To ensure that the right candidate is chosen for the job, shortlist five to ten candidates that impressed the majority of the panel and compare their resumes and scores to identify skills and qualifications that would allow them to excel in the role.
Make a decision.
Consult the score sheets, job description, and interview notes.
Once discussions have ended, it's up to the hiring manager to make the final decision. While it's vital that each panelist's preferences are taken into account, the hiring manager should use the interview notes, the scoring sheets, and the qualifications of each candidate to choose the best applicant for the job.
In some cases, follow-up interviews may be required. In this case, it's best to conduct one-on-one interviews so that the hiring manager can get a personal and more in-depth perspective of the candidates' potential.
Conduct reference checks.
An excellent approach to learning more about your potential candidates is by checking references, which will help confirm their talents and ensure that you're recruiting people who are truthful about their job experience and qualifications.
Consult candidates' resumes for their references or personally request at least three references, then make a short telephone call to verify their information.
Choose the best candidate for the job.
Before making your final decision, consider everything you've learned about the candidate's qualifications, job experience, and character, and compare these with your panel interview notes. Once you're ready to make your decision, prepare a job offer letter that lists the precise details of the job, including location, benefits, and attire.
Tips for Conducting a Panel Interview:
1. Pick a comfortable setting.
An appropriate setting for the interview should preferably include an open environment that allows each panelist a clear view of the candidates.
2. Identify key selection criteria before the interview.
Before you conduct interviews, make sure that all panelists are clear on the requirements needed to perform the advertised role.
3. Establish a time limit.
To ensure efficiency, make sure that all panelists are briefed on the duration of each interview. Ideally, panel interviews should last between one and two hours.
Examples of Panel Interview Questions:
- How do your education and experience make you the ideal candidate?
- What type of workplace environment do you thrive in?
- What was the toughest situation you had to deal with in your previous position, and how did you handle it?
- Which campaign or workplace activity are you most proud of?
- Which of your skills would help you excel in this position?
- Our mission is to provide excellent customer service. How do you think you'll be able to uphold this mission?
- Are you willing to undergo background checks?
- When conducting multiple assignments, how would you prioritize tasks?
- What is your preferred method of feedback from employers and coworkers?