Panel interviews are a great way to save time during the hiring process: the advantage of having multiple interviewers is that you can gain multiple perspectives on candidates in one meeting, as well as probe further into the knowledge of each applicant. Furthermore, they reduce the influence of first impressions therefore you can make a more informed decision on each candidate. However, panel interviews will only help you to find the best people for your vacancies if you organise them effectively. Here are our top tips for improving your recruitment strategy by conducting the perfect panel interview.
Choose the right interviewers.
The panel should be made up of approximately three to five staff members, preferably from various departments. Having a range of expertise and personalities will provide you with multiple opinions on the suitability of each candidate, thus giving you a more comprehensive assessment of their performance. Equally important is selecting employees who are good ambassadors of the company, who not only have extensive knowledge of the business, but who are passionate about what they do. This will help you to provide a positive candidate experience so even if the candidate is unsuccessful they will still view your company in a favourable light.
Make everyone aware of the criteria.
Once the best employees have been selected, they should study the job description and make sure they all fully understand what you’re looking for in the perfect candidate. Between them the group of interviewers need to decide on the main qualities/talents they’ll be looking out for in order to judge whether an applicant should pass through to the next stage. If everyone is aware of the exact requirements for the role, the better chance they have of discovering the best candidate for the job.
Create a positive atmosphere.
When people think of a panel interview the image of a long table with several interviewers on one side and a poor, frightened candidate on the other springs to mind. The truth is, this form of interview is already intimidating therefore setting up the room this way will only create a negative atmosphere. Instead, consider sitting at a round table or in a more relaxed environment. As long as the applicant has a clear view of each interviewer and is made to feel comfortable, you will help them to relax thus enable them to perform better in the interview.
Establish a leader.
To avoid any confusion or time-wasting distractions one member of the panel should be selected to be the leader of the interview. Their job will be to control the proceedings from start to finish: they will provide the introductions, decide on the principle questions and close up the meeting. The rest of the panel need to concentrate on fact finding, supporting the leader by asking related questions in order to probe deeper into the candidate’s knowledge and experience. The role of leader can change during the interview, particularly if a member of the panel is more experienced in a certain field they should take control of the questions in that part of the interview. As long as everyone is aware of their role throughout the interview, control will be maintained and confusion will be avoided. This will enable a thorough assessment of each applicant.
So if you want to improve your recruitment strategy by introducing panel interviews, follow the steps above to ensure you manage them effectively. Involving more members of staff in the hiring process will give enable you to assess candidates more thoroughly via just one interview, saving you time and providing you with a better chance of finding the perfect applicant for your vacancy.