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6 Questions to Prepare for Your Panel Interview

January 27, 2020

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If you have an interview with a company that values team interaction, the company may request a panel interview. While traditional interviews usually entail a one-on-one interaction between the candidate and employer, panel interviews involve multiple members of the company speaking with a candidate. With practice, you can approach panel interviews in a way that showcases your ability to stay focused and work well with others. In this article, we will explore some common questions you might encounter in panel interviews and discuss how to answer them effectively.

##Panel interview questions and answers

A panel-style interview often focuses on your behavior in the workplace and how well you adapt to team dynamics. Your answers to these questions can help you position yourself as a reliable, communicative person who the interviewers can trust to join their team.

###1. What can you tell us about yourself?

A panel-style interview allows multiple people to gauge how you may fit with the office environment. Panel interviews tend to be social than traditional interviews, so it may benefit you to think of the process as a conversation. However, keep your answer focused on your professional journey, skills and attributes. In preparation for this question, consider factors such as the atmosphere of the company, how your professional achievements can benefit your potential employer and how you can use your answer to address everyone in the room.

Example: I’ve been working as a graphic designer for over four years. Design is usually a highly collaborative process, and I enjoy discussing campaign ideas with my team members and integrating feedback on the projects I’ve created. You mentioned earlier that teamwork is one of your company’s core values, and the knowledge that this company values communication so deeply makes me even more excited for the opportunity to join your team.”

Read more: Interview Question: “Tell Me About Yourself” (Tips and Example Answers)

###2. How would a colleague describe you?

This question gives you a chance to demonstrate your ability to create good working relationships with others. When you answer this question, consider the person who you have the best working relationship with and what they might say about you. Keep your answers honest and highlight your strengths.  

Example: “I strive to show my appreciation for those on my team. My colleagues would say that I value their talents and provide positivity to the work environment. If I notice that someone provides exceptional work, I let them know how important their contribution is. This improves office morale, and I think my colleagues appreciate it.”

Related: Character Reference Letter Sample and Tips

###3. Have you ever disagreed with a boss or colleague? How did you handle it?

This question serves two purposes: to see how you handle challenging situations and to gauge how well you are able to openly reflect on your actions. Consider a circumstance in which your reaction to a problem was different than that of your boss or coworker. Describe how you overcame the disagreement and worked to ensure better communication in the future. Be sure to speak positively about your colleagues or bosses in your response, and focus on what you learned from the experience. When you respond to interview questions about specific situations, you can use the STAR technique to make sure to demonstrate your abilities. When you use the STAR technique, you describe the:

  • Situation: Provide a brief description of the situation.
  • Task: Describe your role in the situation.
  • Action: Describe the actions you took to resolve the situation.
  • Result: Describe the result of your actions, using quantifiable data whenever possible.

Example: “I once disagreed with a coworker over how to implement an email marketing campaign. After our team meeting ended that day, I spoke with her in private. I explained why I felt that my proposed strategy was strong and asked her if she could explain her thought process. We had a very open discussion about our perspectives and realized that both of our strategies addressed different problems. After gaining that understanding, we brainstormed an entirely new strategy that would address both of our standpoints. That disagreement ultimately led to more trust between us and a better solution for the campaign.”

Read more: Conflict Resolution Skills: Definition and Examples

###4. Why do you want to work for us?

This question gives you the opportunity to talk about your career goals and how they align with the position. Employers want to know your career goals and how the position fits with your plans. Your answer could also address how well you would fit in with the company culture. To prepare for this question, research the company and the position before your interview. Tailor your answer to fit with the company.

Example: “I am interested in working for Sunny Tech because of your dedication to creating classroom-friendly technology. It is so important that we are able to provide the tools necessary for elementary students to succeed, and I would love to be part of that. Furthermore, the position as field lead places me directly in schools, and I would love to see the direct impact that your work has on students. It is a meaningful position that I would find very rewarding.”

###5. Why should we hire you?

Use this question to bring up the unique skills and attributes you possess that would directly benefit your potential employer. When preparing for this question, consider everything you have to offer, including your accomplishments, experience, education, training and personality. Keep your answer focused on your positive and unique qualities. 

Example: “I have worked in the entertainment industry for six years. In that time, I have learned so much about effective marketing tactics and public relations strategy. My work at Entertainment Corp. speaks to that experience. I started as an intern and worked my way up to media executive because of my commitment to market analysis. I am self-motivated and well versed in media analysis, which keeps me well informed about communication trends. As a marketing analyst, I would use the skills I’ve gained to increase your company’s visibility.”

###6. Do you have any questions for us?

Having questions to ask at the end of an interview shows that you are engaged and serious about your consideration for the position. In a panel interview, thoughtful questions can leave a good impression in the minds of multiple people. Asking the right questions at the end of an interview gives you an opportunity to learn more about the role and allows you to further explain why you are a great fit.

Examples: “What would you say is the biggest challenge in this role?” “What are you looking for in an ideal candidate?” “How do you measure performance in this role?”_

Read More: 9 Best Questions to Ask in an Interview (With Video Examples)

##Panel interview tips

Here are a few ways you can prepare for a successful panel interview:

  • Bring multiple copies of your resume. If you know the number of interviewers, bring one for each of them. It is helpful to also print one for yourself, so you can easily reference it.

  • Bring a notepad and a pen. Write down the names of the interviewers as they introduce themselves. This can be helpful for you to reference during and after the interview.

  • Divide your attention equally between all interviewers. As you explain your answers, make eye contact with all members of the panel. Engage with everyone as well as you can.

  • Be sure to give everyone attention when you say goodbye. Address a thank you to the panel as a whole, then thank each panelist individually with a handshake.

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