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Panel or committee interviews

Candidates applying for academic or government positions may be interviewed by several people at the same time. Companies sometimes do it to save time when several people need to meet the candidate. As always, preparation is key. It may not be comfortable to have several people scrutinizing you, but it is probably easier than having to spend hours repeating the same information to individuals or smaller groups. The preparation and types of questions should be similar to an individual interview.

  • Try to find out who will be interviewing you.
  • Learn to pronounce their names correctly and practice so you can address them individually.
  • Consider their job titles and areas of responsibility. Why will they be in the room? What will their interests and concerns be?
  • When asked a question, direct your answer to the whole group.
  • Give each person equal attention. It’s very tempting to focus on the most senior person in the room (or the most friendly!). The others will resent it and may vote against hiring you.
  • Show interest and concern for the whole company and not just the department that may hire you.

The second interview at the company

After your first interview, you may be asked back again. That means you have made it over another hurdle and they want to know more about you before making their final decision.

Check to see who will be interviewing you and how long the interview is scheduled to last. You may be meeting with three to five people representing different areas of the company, a manager if your first interview was with human resources or the team you will be working with.

This type of interview requires high energy and enthusiasm. The more you know about the process, the less anxious you are going to feel and the better you will perform. Except for senior level positions, this should be the last step before an offer is made.