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How to Act at a Panel Interview – The Top Six Tips on Panel Interview Etiquette

Many companies, especially those that have a high focus on teamwork, are turning to a panel interview format when seeking to hire new personnel. Sometimes your nerves can take over if you are scheduled for a panel interview. The idea of a group of people interrogating you can be overwhelming.

However, the way that you conduct yourself at the interview can help you appear less nervous and actually work to increase your confidence level. Five easy tips on how to act at a panel interview ensure that you put your best foot forward during the whole process.

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Six Panel Interview Tips

1. The first of these tips on how to act at a panel interview starts with how you enter the room. Make sure your body language exudes confidence. You should stand up straight and refrain from fidgeting. Closed body language, like crossing your arms in front of you, should be avoided.

2. Second, greet warmly yet professionally. When you enter the room, give each of the panel members a firm handshake. The proper business handshake is accomplished when you place the web of your hand (area between the thumb and forefinger) against the web of the other person’s hand and shake with the right amount of firmness.

It should not be wimpy or crushing. It is appropriate to lean forward slightly, smile and make eye contact. After they tell you their name, use right away to help yourself remember it for later. These steps get you off on the right foot for how to act at a panel interview.

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3. The third step in how to act at a panel interview is while you are seated for the question and answer session. Ladies, when you are seated, make sure that your clothes remain modest. Both men and women should sit up straight but not with tension.

Legs should be held together rather than spread apart. The goal is a stance of relaxed, confident professionalism.

4. Fourth, in responding to the questions posed by members of the panel, you should respond directly to the person who asked the question for the first half of the response. During the last half, make eye contact with each of the other members of the panel, finishing with the original person again.

5. The fifth hint in how to act at a panel interview is to speak clearly and precisely, addressing the panel members respectfully by their names. A pleasant expression and tone of voice should be maintained at all times.

It is better to sit quietly for a moment after a question is asked and collect your thoughts, maintaining confidence, than to rush in and ramble or stutter. It’s important to keep from getting flustered so that your subsequent answers are more confident and composed.

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6. The final tip for etiquette at a panel interview is to thank the panel members individually for their time and shake their hands again when leaving. You can make an even better impression by sending a short note of appreciation after the interview to each of the panel members.

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by Don Georgevich

Need help with your interview? Contact Don