A panel interview is when a job candidate is interviewed by a panel of company members that includes the manager and anyone else deemed necessary for the interview process. The basic objectives of a panel interview are the same as those for a one-on-one — to learn whether the candidate has the skills and experience necessary to hold the job in question and whether his or her personality and style are compatible with the company culture. To help decide whether a panel interview is right for your next candidate search, we have put together the pros and cons of the panel interview.
Panel Interview Pros
- The different interviewers are constantly taking turns asking the interviewee questions, which means that individually, each of them has more time to listen to what the candidate is saying and to jot down notes.
- Panel interviews can save time. Instead of having the staff members interview the candidate individually, one after another, they can all do so at once. There is the advantage of more staff members getting a chance to meet the job candidates.
- Since the responsibilities are divided among the strong and the weak interviewers, it becomes easier to ensure that all of the appropriate questions will be asked. Group interviews also give an organization the opportunity to assess such qualities about the candidate as:
- How does he or she react to questions delivered in a “rapid fire” manner?
- How does he react with each panel member?
- How does he communicate with those holding various positions in the company?
- How flexible is he with regard to communication?
- How well can he build rapport?
The best thing about an interview being conducted by more than one person is that after it is done, the interviewers can all compare notes and deciding whether or not this candidate is really suited for this job. The more opinions you have, the better your chances of coming to a sound decision. Also, each interviewer holds a different position within the organization, and may thus be viewing the candidate and the job from a different perspective.
Panel Interview Cons
- The presence of many interviewers can cause each of them to become complacent with regard to listening and taking notes — everybody assumes somebody else is doing it.
- A panel interview also requires a great deal of planning in advance, developing the interview questions and determining which ones will be asked by which panel members — and the roles to be played by each one in general. Oftentimes, as will happen in group meetings, the interview becomes driven by one or two of the more outspoken members of the panel.
- Keep in mind that panel interviews can be very intimidating for a candidate. One of the goals of interviewing is to develop a rapport with the candidate so they will be comfortable when conversing and answering questions. A quality candidate may not show that way if they are intimidated.
At what period during the hiring process a panel interview occurs can also be a major factor in its effectiveness. If you do decide to utilize this technique, we suggest implementing it in the advanced stages of your search.
Have any other pros and/or cons to add to the list? Please do so in the comments section below!