Using Panel Interviews to Speed Up the Hiring Process

There’s no escaping it: job interviews are a necessary part of the hiring process. Not only do hiring managers need to interview candidates, but they have also been the interviewee at one time or another.

We all know how stressful a job interview can be for both parties, especially when you’re talking to multiple people within one. However, for the company, these types of interviews—known as panel interviews—can be a good way to get the right candidate in the door, and quickly.

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Panel Interviews: What You Need to Know

A panel interview is an interview with more than one person. The interview team is usually composed of potential teammates, leaders from other departments, or even company executives. They usually have between two and four people in them.

The primary reasons employers use panel interviews is to speed up the hiring process and have more people in the company gain a sense of a candidate’s skills and personality. However, there are several other reasons why companies choose to do panel interviews. It’s simply another tool that hiring managers use to try and find the right candidate for the job.

Header: Pros and Cons of Panel Interviews Column One: Pros (maybe some sort of icon so it's not one word?) -They help shorten the interview process -You can gain a diverse set of perspectives on a candidate -Helps you understand how they can work with other team members and departments -Gives the candidate a snapshot of company culture and your employees Column 2: Cons -They can be intimidating for the candidate -Too many people can be distracting for the interviews and interviewee -Lack of structure can cause a negative experience for the candidate

Pros of a Panel Interview

Before deciding to incorporate panel interviews into your hiring process, it helps to know that there are some very definite pros to using this tool.

Shorten the Interview Process

Both employers and candidates have busy schedules. Scheduling a panel interview for multiple people in the company to speak with the candidate saves everyone a lot of time. Rather than try to find an hour individually for a couple of people, which could take weeks, a panel interview gets everyone in the room on a shorter time span.

Gain a Diverse Set of Perspectives

When hiring managers enlist others from their company to join a panel interview—especially when the interviewers are from a variety of departments or backgrounds—they minimize the chances that their hiring decision will be biased. Lots of people will have different perspectives on the candidates’ experiences, skills, and personalities.

Understand How Well They Can Work Cross-Functionally

When the people in the panel interview come from different teams, they have a chance to see if the candidate has an ability to view the company from a holistic perspective. It’s also a chance for others to see how your candidate handles cross-functional collaboration and group dynamics.

Give the Candidate a Snapshot of Company Culture

Meeting multiple representatives from within your company at once is a great chance for the candidate to see what the culture is like. Company culture is becoming increasingly important to job seekers, and panel interviews are a great way to show the candidate that your company is a great place to work.

Cons of a Panel Interview

Along with all the pros, there are a few cons of panel interviews.

They Can Be Intimidating

Humans are social creatures—some of us more than others. For those who lean toward the introverted side, a panel interview can be incredibly stressful and impede their ability to showcase our skills.

Tip: Let the candidate know ahead of time how many people will be in the interview, and let them know what kinds of topics you’ll discuss. This could help the candidate prepare and get mentally ready for the setting.

Too Many People Can Be Distracting

If your hiring team includes too many people, the candidate may have trouble giving complete answers to your questions or showcase what’s necessary for the role.

Tip: Prepare questions with the team and determine who will ask what, and give the candidate ample time to address everyone.

Lack of Structure Can Create a Negative Experience for the Candidate

If your hiring team isn’t well-prepared for the panel interview, it could leave the candidate with a negative impression and experience.

Tip: Take time with the hiring team to prepare for the interview, including formulating questions, deciding who asks them, in what order, and what everyone ultimately wants to discover from the candidate.

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How to Prepare Your Team for a Panel Interview

Some companies tend to avoid these kinds of interviews, or conduct them in a disorganized way, causing them to be ineffective.

If you’re currently scheduling panel interviews, there are a few steps you can take to ensure they’re beneficial.

Verify That Everyone Is Prepared

Before the interviews begin, send the candidate’s resume to everyone who will be interviewing them well ahead of time. Follow up by reaching out to the others who will be included in the panel interview to confirm they have had a chance to review the candidate’s resume or application.

Adhere to a List of Pre-Determined Questions

Just to ensure that everyone is on the same page, prepare a list of questions for the candidate and agree to stick to those questions. You should also decide who will ask which questions. Still, allow time for follow-up questions and for the candidate to ask questions at the end.

Don’t Involve Too Many People

The more people involved, the more intimidating the panel interview can be. Try to keep the panel interview between two and four people—that should be enough people to represent various teams and stakeholders.

Need Help Hiring the Right Candidate?

Hiring the right candidate is crucial, so ensure that your hiring practices are simple yet effective. Panel interviews are a tool you have at your disposal. But if you need help during the hiring process, from sourcing candidates to interviewing to eventually onboarding them, Insight Global can help. We make hiring easy.

We Can Interview Candidates For You

Let us know your hiring needs, and we can send you a shortlist of candidates—minimizing the interview process so you can make a great hire. Questions? Call us toll-free: 855-485-8853