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Surviving the Panel or Group Job Interview

October 16, 2009

So your potential new employer has invited you to a panel job interview and tells you that you will be meeting with seven department heads. Do you grasp your chest in fear or do you say to yourself, “cool”?

Panel interviews can be scary as you have to impress a room full of people rather than just one or two. The questions asked by a panel can be broader and more complex because they are coming from many different viewpoints. In fact some questions coming from the panel may contradict other questions.

How do you ace the panel interview?

As with any interview, preparation is key. Don’t be afraid to ask the HR representative or person organizing the interview for a list of who will you’ll be interviewing with and what their role with the organization is; also ask for an itinerary for the interview so you know what your time with them will look like and the company’s version of the job description. Be sure to have questions prepared so when it is your time to ask questions they are well thought out and organized. As with any interview, be sure to research the organization and learn as much as possible about what they do, what they contribute to the world and any pertinent information about where they are headed.

Business Card

Chances are that you will be brought to a conference room and when you are introduced to the panel; take the time to shake each and every person’s hand. As introductions are made try your best to remember everyone’s name so you can refer to them by name. Professional business cards can be made up very inexpensively at home or using a local printer. Create your “job searching” business card (see example) and as you sit down for the interview hand out your card to each interviewer and request their business card. This will give you their contact information allowing you to follow up and thank each person individually. You can also place the cards in front of you arranging them in the same pattern that the group is sitting in for easy reference.

Ask the panel starts asking their questions you will be inclined to make eye contact with the person who asked you the question you are answering, this is important. Equally important is scanning the room to make eye contact with everyone else. This will allow you to get a “read” on each of them as well as engaging them in your answer. Don’t be afraid to take notes during your interview for any follow up questions you might want to ask.

As the interview comes to conclusion be sure to personally thank each participant, shaking their hand and reinforcing your interest in the position. When you get home you can send out a thank you note to each interviewer. Don’t send out the same cookie-cutter thank you to everyone; customize the thank you note leaving them with one last positive impression of you.


If you would like to learn more about Herzing University please visit us at or give me a call at 866-508-0748, ext 859. Are you an employer looking for a great employee? Click HERE to visit our map of Herzing job seekers.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 7, 2009 2:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing… 🙂

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