One of the biggest challenges faced by the concept of the panel interview is that candidates can feel overwhelmed, intimidated and nervous when entering the interview situation.
So these are my three biggest tips on making candidates feel comfortable in a panel interview situation.
1. Pick a Leader
The first is picking a leader to run the discussion. The best person for that to be is the person who is most invested in the hiring decision, whether that’s a manager or a peer. Usually it’s the hiring manager. Have them run the interview in terms of asking most of the prominent questions and have the others along the side to really be assessors and also support the discussion with any additional questions, only if required. This means the candidate feels a little more comfortable that they’re not assessing multiple communication styles, multiple sets of body language and can really focus on being able to sell themselves to the role.
2. Name Tags
My second tip, which is actually a really simple one, is creating name tags for the panel. For one person to go in and meet a group of strangers, as well as being interviewed, is a really high pressure and nerve-wracking situation. It’s just a gesture that the candidate will recognise, knowing that you’ve gone out of your way to make them feel comfortable within the interview situation and makes them more at ease immediately and likely to open up.
3. Interview Environment
Another one would be to really consider the environment in which you conduct the interview. Is it conducive to group discussion and having a candidate feel really comfortable to discuss their capabilities and what they’re looking for with you? The traditional desk separating of ‘them and us’ isn’t really conducive to this. You should consider conducting your interviews in more of an open plan environment to really get the best out of the interview.