Author: Lavie Margolin, Career Coach
A situation where you are interviewed by two or more people at once is called a panel or group interview. We are often not prepared for this situation and intimidated by it. Group interviews are a good thing for job seekers. Why? Normally you are evaluated one step at a time and if that person feels you are a good fit for the job, he/she will send you to be interviewed by the next person at a later date in the future. Here you have the chance to meet all (or most) of the decision makers at once and allow a group decision to take place instead of being eliminated by one person’s evaluation.
Have you ever been in an interview and thought to yourself: “how could they ask that” or “that question had no relevancy”? A group interview would (hopefully!) reign in questions that are well off topic. An interviewer is more careful in weighing the questions asked when his/her peers are around. Many times in a panel interview, interviewers will want to ask questions at once. Allow the interviewers a brief moment to sort it out among themselves before answering the question. Give your main eye contact to the person that asked that specific question but try to maintain brief eye contact with everyone to keep them engaged in what you are saying.
Determine who the major players are. Gain an understating for each person’s role in the organization and answer their questions accordingly. The Executive Director would want your answer to relate to an overall approach to your work while a future co-worker would like to gain additional insight into how you relate to others on a day to day basis.
Take a business card from each person. Write each a brief thank you note via email. Try to tailor your thank you note to emphasize points that would resonate with that person and their role in the organization. Inquire as to who would be the point person to follow up with for the next steps.
About the Author: Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Career Coach and the author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. To learn more, go to Lavie’s website, Lion Cub Job Search:www.Lioncubjobsearch.com