Tips for Surviving a Panel Interview
In our eighth and final interview series installment, we examine techniques you can use to ace a panel interview. If you found this interview series valuable, please let us know by leaving a comment.
Fielding questions from not one, but an entire team of interviewers is enough to put one’s stomach in knots. After all, whether or not you land the position will depend largely upon how you carry yourself in that interview.
So instead of letting the anxiety consume you, develop a sound strategy for acing your next food & beverage panel interview. These tips from Kinsa will help:
- Do your homework. In a panel setting, you’ll likely be interviewed by executives from a number of different divisions within the organization. Make sure you understand the prospective employer’s entire organization – not just your chosen specialty. If you know who will be interviewing you ahead of time, research those individuals online so you understand their areas of expertise.
- Take your time. Once you get into the interview, take a deep breath. Greet and shake hands with each interviewer, taking a moment to mentally repeat each individual’s name (so you’ll be more likely to remember it).
- Accept questions one at a time. While answering each question, make equal eye contact with every panel member. Doing so will help you project a confident image and build rapport with the entire panel. If an interviewer asks a follow-up question while you’re still answering the previous one, realize that this may be a stress test. Maintain your composure (and train of thought) and incorporate the response to the follow-up question into your original answer. Once you’ve finished, ask both parties if you have addressed their concerns.
- Be prepared to repeat yourself. Each interviewer has his own interview style. What is clear to one individual may require clarification for another. So if you’re asked the same question multiple ways (or multiple times), patiently repeat your response. Never say that you’ve already answered a question – even if that’s true – because you will come off as impatient or rude.
- Win over the antagonist. In most any panel interview, you will quickly be able to determine who’s in your corner and who is still on the fence about your candidacy. Move beyond the tempting safety of engaging your obvious allies and address the one who seems unsure about you. Doing so shows that you are a problem solver who can think on his feet and doesn’t shy away from challenges.
- Expect at least one zinger question. In a group setting, interviewers typically feel emboldened and may push the envelope more with their questions. Develop an arsenal of three or four success stories you can rely on to answer a range of behavior-based questions. If there’s an aspect of your skill set or work history (such as being discharged from a position) which you’re uncomfortable addressing, practice a variety of responses so that you’ll feel prepared – not awkward.
- Close by thanking all participants. Shake hands, gather business cards and exit the room confidently. Follow-up by sending a unique thank-you note to each interviewer within 24 hours.
Looking for a new job in the Food and Beverage Industry? Kinsa Group has a wide range of professional and executive food & beverage jobs available. View our open opportunities.