There are plenty of great things about holding a panel interview. First of all, it takes the pressure off of a single interviewer: there are more people to ask questions, more people to listen and take notes to the responses, and more people to get a feel for the candidates. The panel will likely have both strong and weak interviewers on it, but the panel members can compensate for each other’s lack of skill or comfort. Panel members will also have differing skills when it comes to listening, observing, and note-taking; a panel can boost interviewing accuracy by 20 to 30 percent. That means that there are more opinions on which candidate would be the best fit for the company, coming from people that have the company’s best interests in mind. Since the panel may be made up of employees who will be working with the prospective employees, they can get a good idea of how the candidate would fit in with the team and the corporate culture.
A panel interview is not only easier on each interviewer, but it presents a new dynamic in the interview. Panel members can ask the candidate questions in a rapid-fire manner to see how the person responds on their toes. If high-speed isn’t your company’s style, it could also help you to see how the candidate interacts with groups in a conversation.
There can be some downsides to panel interviews, though. Sometimes, everyone on the panel may assume that someone else will be prepared, or will ask questions or take notes and not do their own part. Having so many people involved could also lead to more chatting than interviewing or panel members cutting off each other or the interviewee to take their turn speaking. Not only do these things make it difficult to conduct a thorough, thoughtful interview, but it can look unprofessional to the candidates. Would you want to work at a place that doesn’t seem prepared and won’t let you finish your sentences?
Despite the cons, panel interviews can still be a great option for finding your next team member. As long as your panel is prepared in advance, it should be a great interview. Make sure that everyone on the panel has read each candidate’s resume, has a list of questions you plan to ask, and that everyone knows what time to show up. With a little bit of preparation, a panel can be the best way to grow your team.