Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Effective Panel Interview Tactics!

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Panel Interview practices on an English television show called the "Dragons Den," highlights the dos and don'ts of a panel interview. The participants are given a few minutes to pitch their product or business and then the five "dragons" on the panel start throwing questions at the would be entrepreneurs.
The "dragons" have funds to invest and were questioning the participants to determine if the business or products were worthy of investing. Also, the "dragons," competed with one another in bidding for a piece of the individual businesses or products.

It was apparent from the responses that many of the participants had done little or no preparation for the onslaught of penetrating questions thrown at them. It would have been so simple to watch tapes of previous shows to better understand the panel interview process.

Many had even failed to fine tune their business plan presentation. Overall it is the ultimate job interview. If you are told you are going to participate in a panel interview, if possible, get the names and titles of the panelists. (You can Google their names and may be able to find out something interesting.) What can we learn from the "Dragons Den," TV show that will help a job applicant survive and thrive facing a panel interview?

1. Connect with the panelists: Even though you may be some distance from the panelists, look the questioner in the eye when answering. As you answer the question don't forget to look at the others on the panel. Finish answering by making eye contact with the questioner.

2. Do ask questions: When you are introduced to the individuals on the panel, if possible get their business cards. On your note pad write their names in their order where they are sitting so you can answer their questions by referring to their names.
If you don't understand the question ask for clarification. If asked questions by two or more of the panelists, pause answer the first question and then move on and answer the second question.
If you are asking a general question ask it of the head of the panel. The head of the panel is usually the one who introduces everyone and generally asks most of the questions. Other specific questions should be directed to the individual representing the department.

3. Keep your cool and remain focused: Sometimes the panelists play a "good cop-bad cop" game. One or more panelists are friendly others are not so friendly. The "dragons" are experts at this tactic trying to get the participants off their game and perhaps so they can purchase a part of a business for a bargain price.
So stress is to be expected in a panel interview. Keep your focus and answer the questions completely, and keep smiling.

4. Silence as a tactic: Don't try to fill the silence with added information to a question. The panelists are trying to get you to keep talking and perhaps blurt out some potentially damaging information. When finished with an answer, keep quiet until the next question is asked.

5. Follow-up: Thank you letters are a must. As soon as possible after the panel interview, write out your notes of the interview. Each panelist should get an original thank-you letter, making a point to emphasize and expand on a question they may have asked.
A panel interview is much like any other job interview, except you may have two and as many as eight participants throwing questions at you. The panel participants are much like the "dragons" and are looking for you to sell them on your knowledge, skills and abilities as they match the requirements of the open position. Make sure you prepare properly and make the "sale."


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