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By Expedi USA, December 29, 2021
Tips to Ace a Panel Discussion

A panel discussion is an interview employers often make part of the recruitment process. In this case, a panel of 2 to 5 interviewers asks different questions from the candidate. Some interviewers can be personnel from top management, while others could be from relevant departments.

But why is there a panel interview? It could be for more people in the company management to know the candidate. Perhaps, different department heads want to have a go at the candidate. Maybe, to get an idea of the candidate's compatibility in the company hierarchy! Perhaps, to test his communication style!

It could be any of these reasons, but we have tips for you to ace the panel interview

Get familiar with the panelists

Do your research and try to know everything you can about each panelist. Cull information from the company website. It is essential to know more than the names of the panel members. What fields they represent and what kind of questions each one of them could ask.

A panel discussion calls for extra efforts. The panel will query the candidate on different aspects involving his job profile. Get each of the panelists' names right—also, their positions in the hierarchy. Get on to social media handles like LinkedIn for information on the panelists.

Practice, and practice more

There will be subtle forms of intimidation; the candidate will feel the room heavy with it. Weaker ones might cringe and crumble. The vibes emanating from the various panelists can even be oppressive. Don't be provoked.

One way is to practice facing interrogation-style questioning. Practice edging the fear of intimidation out. The problem is one or two of the panelists might not give you time to answer. Another question could come at you from any direction.

So, be alert. Practice as much as you can. Ask for help from family and friends. Don't let anyone overawe you. Pace your answers like you pace your morning stint on the treadmill! More and more practice will boost confidence.

The body language tells it all

Good posture is mandatory. But avoid looking like a clay pigeon at a shooting gallery. Your attention and focus should not be on one panelist alone. Others on the panel might feel slighted. Don't give anyone an excuse to reject you.

Maintain a neutral stance; make eye contact with all panelists. But look the questioner in the eye and start answering. Then, even as you are answering, let your glance take in the other panelists one by one.

Do not shake your head or wave your hands like you are at a pantomime. Do not point your finger at any of the panellists. It might look like an accusing finger, and you don't want that, do you?

Keep the panel engrossed

The job interview is everybody's chance to impress. The interviewer must have interviewed scores of candidates for the same job. He knows all the variants of the answers to all the questions. It is upon you to stand out and apart from the crowd.

For starters, don't behave and sound like a robot. Make sure you have every panelist's attention. Also, ensure that all the panelists are "involved and engaged." Don't be a bore, and don't be cocky! Be the regular guy with an extraordinary talent.

Remain calm in choppy seas

A panel interview will either make you or break you. You cannot rest on your laurels alone. The most experienced candidates will be at a loss for words at panelist interviews. Some of the questions can leave the best groping.

So, keep your calm. Do not mumble or fumble. The panel is there to test you in the choppiest of seas. So, practice like you are in the eye of a cyclone. Remaining calm while the pressure intensifies is the only way to impress all the panelists, bar none. Prepare for the interview like you have this only chance to avoid the firing squad.

Keep several copies of your resume in hand

Make sure you go to the panel interview armed with enough copies of your resume to give each one of the panellists a copy. The panellists will be expecting it. The resume you had sent with the job application must be with one of them or none of them. You don't know. So be ready with some to spare. Each panelist will want to know your antecedents, qualifications, and current status.

Be yourself

It is easy, and this isn't easy! It may not be possible to "be yourself" in a charged panel discussion. So, be honest. It is still the best policy; being truthful is part of "be yourself." It helps while facing a panel of largely unknown people. Try to bluff, and you will be out on the front lawn quicker than you can blink the eye.

So, to reiterate, be honest. Put your best foot forward and stay confident.

Team player

The panellists will be your mentors and colleagues if you land the job. And they will want a team player. So, portray yourself as the friendly bee in the beehive—hardworking and winner of the best team player trophy year after year!

Judge the dynamics playing between the different panelists, catch the vibes and fit yourself accordingly. Would you please give them the impression that you will be a welcome addition to their team?

Thank the panel before you exit the room

End the interview with thanks to each of the panellists. Shake hands. And ask for business cards. Make sure to tell them you will be back, to stay!

Why Choose ExpediUSA?

Most men and women turn to ExpediUSA for tips on panel discussions, group discussions, and interviews. ExpediUSA lists tens of thousands of various positions in hundreds of industries on their website. Candidates need more than just job information to secure a job. They need tips to qualify for the interview or come up with trumps in the panel discussion. You can rely on ExpediUSA blogs to be successful in your career.

Summing up

There can be several factors why an employer would opt for a panel discussion as part of the recruitment process. It could be to sum up the previous rounds. Maybe, the earlier games threw up glimpses of promise, and a larger group wants to assess the candidate's potential.

Whatever it be, if you are following the ExpediUSA blog section, you have no reason to worry. Over time, you will imbibe the traits that make you successful at different stages of your recruitment process.

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