9 Tips to Ace a Panel Discussion

Why is a panel discussion used as a form of a job interview?

1. Know your panelists beforehand

2. Practice, practice, and more practice

3. Maintain a good body language

4. Engage the panel with your responses

5. Remain calm against rapid-fire

6. Get enough copies of resume for the panel

7. Be yourself

8. Be a team player

A job interview as we know has several rounds such as the HR round of interviews, group discussion, etc.

Preparing for an interview is a must for every candidate to surpass these job interview rounds and land one’s dream job.

A panel discussion is one such type of interview.

 It is a type of job interview where 2-4 interviewers representing various fronts of the organization will ask a candidate job interview questions to let him/her move on to the next round.

In this blog, we will talk about 9 Tips to Ace a Panel Discussion to help in preparing for an interview.

Why is a panel discussion used as a form of a job interview?

To know how to make a lasting impression in a panel discussion, it is important to understand the purpose of such types of interviews.

To begin with, a panel discussion is used as a form of a job interview to help a group of people know and familiarize themselves with a candidate.

Sometimes, a panel discussion acts as a cumulation of many rounds of a job interview process when a consensus needs to be reached about hiring a particular candidate by more than 1 person.

Also, the interviewers can gauge how a candidate works with cross-functional teams comprising of different people with equally varying communication styles.

Now that we know why a panel discussion is used as a form of a job interview, let’s get going on leaving a great impression on the interviewers as well!

Know your panelists beforehand

Similar to researching the company, reading reviews, and job description, you must also know who is composing the panel discussion.

The reason to do so is to familiarize oneself with their respective field of work, and also to be able to address them properly during the job interview.

Similar to other types of interviews, preparing for an interview, especially a panel discussion requires extra sincerity as you will be questioned from multiple perspectives.

One of the ways to make a lasting impression is to ensure you know everyone on the panel discussion by their name and position they hold.

So, you can ask your recruiter to help with the names of the interviewers just to help you prepare better.

Tip: Don’t just restrict yourself to the company’s website to know about the panelists, try to read up more about their work on their social handles like in LinkedIn.

This will help you to understand their work and their perspective better.

Practice, practice, and more practice

A panel discussion can give a candidate the vibe of being in a top-notch interrogation facility. This can be intimidating if not practiced well enough.

However, unlike other types of interviews, you might not get the same amount of time to reply to each question.

Brace yourself accordingly and take help from your family members or/ and friends to help prepare for the panel discussion.

This will give you confidence during the actual job interview and help you pace your answers smoothly without being overwhelmed.

Maintain a good body language

A good posture is a must in every job interview.

Do not be rigid and focus your attention only on one interviewer. This might leave the others with a negative image.

Instead, while answering try to maintain a neutral stance and make eye contact with everyone during the panel discussion.

Here’s what you can do. Begin answering the question by looking at the person who asked.

Then slowly as you explain, turn and look at everyone squarely, even if one of them looks down to take notes.

You can learn more about nonverbal communication, here.

Engage the panel with your responses

A job interview is your chance at impressing your interviewer, and you are probably one amongst 100 candidates who have applied for the same job post.

So, there’s a fine chance that the interviewer has all answers memorized.

The best way you can stand apart from the rest is while preparing for an interview, make sure you don’t sound like a robot.

Even more so during panel discussions, you would want the interviewers to feel involved and engaged.

Remain calm against rapid-fire

A panel discussion can break even the most experienced candidate because of its nature of hurling spinners without giving a breather.

It is during such times that you should remain calm and not get flabbergasted.

A panel discussion tests your ability to remain calm under immense pressure and the only way to ace this type of interview is to be prepared thoroughly.

Get enough copies of resume for the panel

There’s nothing called being too prepared.

Similar to any other job interview, you should get enough resume for your panel discussion.

This will help the panelists familiarize themselves with your background easily and also highlight your preparedness for the job interview.

Tip: Always get a few extra copies of your resume in case of surprises.

Be yourself

Honesty is the best policy in every aspect of life, be it any type of interview or life.

Remember that those sitting for the panel discussion are senior players in their fields and have tons of experience interviewing candidates. So, they will easily call out your bluff.

Let’s be honest, you can put up a farce and impress the panelists in the short-run.

But eventually, they will see right through you, leaving you in a rather sticky situation.

So, your best bet is to present your best self forward by preparing for an interview thoroughly and seriously.

Be a team player

If a panel discussion can help the interviewers know a candidate, it can also benefit a candidate in many ways.

For one, most of the time a panel discussion has various players of the same or cross-functioning teams.

This means that if you bag the job, they will be your potential teammates.

So, try to make the most of the time and portray your best skills, and lay the groundwork of being a potential team player by being cooperative.

Also, be attentive to understand the dynamics within the panelists.

This will help you understand how to answer the questions during such a job interview and also help you get an idea of the team culture.

Thank everyone on the panel

Similar to other types of interviews, you should wrap up a job interview by thanking the interviewer.

Adding an extra step at the end of a panel discussion, shake hands with each panelist and thank them personally as well.

This is also the time you can ask for their visiting cards, doing so will help you in spelling their names correctly when you send them a thank you email the next day.

When appearing for a panel discussion these tips will come in handy to ace such a job interview, or for the matter any type of interviews.

Also, make sure that when you are preparing for an interview it is thorough and well-practiced to exude confidence during the interview.

Good luck!

Written by : Smita Nag

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