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EP 731 Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter helps to explain the format and reasoning behind what occurs at a panel interview and how to ace them every time.

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Today, I'm going to talk with you about panel interviewing, which is a different sort of orientation and feel to it than a traditional interview. Why? Because 3 or 4 people are sitting opposite you putting you through "The Great Inquisition" to figure out how you fit.

How do you prepare for panel? Real easy. Let's start by figuring out who you are going to be sitting and facing, what their particular backgrounds are, what their role is in the organization and thus, you can figure out what their agenda is.

You see, the members of the panel aren't four people from the same group or department; often they are from related groups and departments. They may do similar things. They may interact with one another, but ultimately, they have a different agenda in mind.

The other thing to remember is what ever it is you may answer may engender a response from 1 of the other panel members. If the role, you may be talking to a panel member from one department (let's use IT as an example)... You may talk to member the programming team, but there was someone there representing the user community. They want to understand how your answer relates to them. It's not that they don't understand by your answer may trigger something for them.

Also remember that the 3 or 4 people there... They are all vying for their questions to come out. They are all looking for face time with you. They're all looking to evaluate because ultimately have to give you a thumb up or thumbs down at the end of this process.

As you answer questions, understand who you are talking to and what their role is. As you speak to the questioner, the person who poses the initial question to you, you start talking with them , but then start turning your head to start talking with the other people who are part of the panel. Always in your answer talking to the original question.

It is a subtle thing that allows you to do what is really important in the room-- that is trying to develop rapport with each person who is there.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for what more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1100 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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