Interviews are a crucial stage in the recruitment process. Therefore, it’s important that both interviewers and interviewees are prepared. That way both sides of the table have a chance to get to know each other and decide whether they’d be a good fit. If you are sitting on an interview panel, how can you best prepare? Here are three simple ideas that can make a big difference.
Read the brief
It should go without saying that it’s good form to at least know who the candidate you’ll be interviewing is. You don’t need to do extensive homework. Take a few minutes to look over their resume and cover letter. Think about whether there are any points you’d like to know more about. If you’re attending a panel interview in our office, we’ll have a copy of everything you need ready for you when you arrive. Just arrive a little early to read through the documents and discuss the interview questions with your fellow panellists.
It might also be a good idea to review the job description. This is particularly helpful if you haven’t been involved throughout the recruitment process and need to refresh your memory. Usually the candidate being interviewed will also have been given a copy of the job description. That way everyone is on the same page about what the job involves. It’s also a good point of reference when discussing what your organisation is looking for in the ideal candidate.
Talk to each other
Good communication, both with your fellow interviewers and the candidate, is key to a successful interview. Before the interview, discuss with your fellow panellists who will take the lead on which topics. Feel free to ask any questions of your recruitment consultant. We’re here to guide you throughout the recruitment process. When you partner with us, a senior recruitment consultant can attend the panel interview with you – just let us know in advance if you’d like us to attend. We’re happy to contribute to the conversation or be an objective observer; the choice is yours. You’ll also get an opportunity to debrief after the interview with your fellow panellists and recruitment consultant.
During the interview, it’s important to remember that it should be an open conversation. It’s okay to talk with your colleagues, for example to check if there are any more questions on one topic before moving on to the next. You also want to encourage discussion with the candidate, giving opportunity for questions. Try to avoid the feeling of an examination. Instead, be open, friendly and treat the candidate as you would a new colleague you’re just getting to know. After all, getting to know each other is an important part of the recruitment process.
Know what’s next
What happens after the panel interviews? Make sure you know the process from there, and the level of involvement required of you. If you’re not sure, check with your recruitment consultant. Be clear about timeframes and communicate any delays that may arise. It’s best for employers to choose their preferred candidate as soon as possible after panel interviews. You’d hate to miss out on your preferred candidate because they accept an offer elsewhere while your organisation is still deciding. Staying in close contact with your recruitment consultant in these final stages is the best way to ensure the recruitment process concludes smoothly. It also gives you the best chance of securing the top candidate for the role, which is ultimately what you want.