Panel Interview: Tips for Effectiveness and Benefits

Feb 17, 2015

Panel Interview

There are many important things to keep in mind when putting together a panel interview. ZERORISK HR has some great information for you and your organization to put together the best interview with some interviewing techniques and interview roles for you to follow. These interviews are much more extensive than one-on-one interviews and need to be prepared for as so.

Care taken in planning the interview can affect your success in ways such as the panel's and interviewer's competence and interest, the quality of information obtained, and the candidate's perceptions of the interviewers and your organization. Remember, these candidates will also be making observations and making important choices.

In a panel interview, there are distinct interview roles:

  1. Panel Members: They are most effective when they are prepared in advance for their interview roles, especially if these roles vary from panel to panel. Preparation is essential for even the most experienced panelist. Each panel member should be trained in conducting a lawful interview and have experience maintaining effective interview structures. Before each interview, panelists should be available to discuss the interview instructions, assignment of questions, and any last-minute information regarding the candidate.
  2. Facilitator: This individual should be trained and experienced in the interviewing techniques and approaches to be used in the interview. They don't have to necessarily be the "highest ranked" on the panel. The role is of leadership and mediation, not domination. The facilitator should ensure the flow is maintained during the interview and keep to the schedule of allotted time. Also, this individual will outline the plan for the interview with the panel members prior to the interview.

There are many things to consider in making the panel interview most effective. When making room arrangements, set up the room in an informal way to enhance the opportunity to get candid information from a comfortable candidate. Panel members should be seated at comfortable angles and all be visible to the applicant. Avoid making the interview seem like an interrogation with all members behind a table, etc. In the interview, there should be three to five panel members and one facilitator. The panel should represent the diversity of your organization.

Each panel member should be trained in effective interviewing techniques and be briefed in advance for their role in the meeting. Ten minutes before the start of each interview, the team should meet to brief for the specific candidate. Review the resume, application and position requirements to be questioned during the interview and assign appropriate questions and discussion leads to each panel member. At the conclusion of this meeting, the facilitator will lead a discussion with the panel as to the candidate's responses, qualifications, and ratings for each area questioned during the interview. Records should be collected from each panelist and ratings transferred to an evaluation form that will become part of the candidate interview record.

At the conclusion of the interview, the panel members should remain to discuss and evaluate the candidate together. The panel will determine the candidate's next step in the process, lead by the facilitator. Panel members should be prepared to discuss their ratings, their evaluations and supporting observations.

The panel interview process can be very effective, but only when it is well prepared. Leaving all of these factors to chance rather than preparing for the interview can cause for a risky train wreck. The ZERORISK Hiring System can help lead your organization down the right path for the hiring process and can be a valued asset in your success. Contact us if you think your organization will benefit from this innovative system.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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