5 Ways to Improve Your Panel Job Interview Skills

panel interviewsInterviewing is a skill. Unfortunately, while many hiring managers are called upon to interview, few have been given the opportunities to learn, develop, and practice this skill outside the context of a “live” candidate search.

While panel interviews can be an efficient and effective way to screen candidates, their value is diminished when the interviewers on the panel are unfamiliar with the skills required to conduct a good panel interview.

Here are five ways to improve your interviewers’ skills, so you can pinpoint the top candidates in less time:

  1. Lead pre-interview preparation to get everyone on the same page. Leaving panel interviewers to prepare on their own may lead to a panel whose understanding of the candidate, their background, and the competing job candidates varies widely. Instead, lead a short meeting before each interview to review the candidate’s background and discuss each interviewer’s major concerns and primary goals.
  2. Define the interviewers’ roles. Many panel interviews fall apart when participants ask questions over one another or interrupt the candidate’s answers. Rather than risk this happening, choose one interviewer to be the “leader” and the others to be “fact-finders.” The leader’s role is to ask each primary question, while the “fact-finders” ask follow-up questions that are relevant to their specific concerns, roles, or department.
  3. Use a “scorecard.” Provide each interviewer with a scoring template that allows them to rate the candidate on several key factors that are essential to the position. Gathering input from the interviewers can help you decide which criteria should appear.  These tools make it easier for interviewers to compare, explain and support their impressions after the interview.
  4. Schedule a debriefing immediately after the final interview. Have the panel discuss its impressions and concerns while the candidates are still fresh in the interviewers’ minds. Use the scorecards, interviewer notes, and other information to compare candidates and talk about the best choice for the position.
  5. Talk to your recruiter. Your staffing partner’s expertise extends throughout the entire candidate screening and selection process. With an in-depth knowledge of your company’s culture, needs, and expectations, your staffing firm can provide custom-tailored tips and instructions on how to make panel interviews work best for your company.

Panel interviews are a useful tool to help you gauge a candidate’s experience and potential fit in your organization. If you are looking for support in your recruiting efforts, the staffing experts at TERRA Staffing Group can help.

At TERRA Staffing Group, our recruiters help employers source, vet, interview, and hire top talent in the Seattle, Portland, and Phoenix areas.

Contact us today to learn more.


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