The Benefits and Drawbacks of Panel Interviews

A panel interview is used to assess whether an interview candidate is the right person for the job. With the panel group, one job candidate is interviewed by multiple employers. The panel interview mostly involves a question and answer session, though some panel interviews will also include exercises designed to test whether a candidate is right for the job.

Greater Diversity of Questions

The main benefit of the panel interview is that there will be more than one person asking questions. This means that there will be a bigger chance that the interviewers will ask a greater range of questions. When candidates respond, the interviewers can later discuss whether they think the candidate offered a good answer.

Interviews with Different Departments

Another benefit to panel interviews is that the panel can include people with different areas of expertise. For example, a panel for an IT candidate could include a technical expert and an interviewer who comes from a layman’s perspective. The more technically-savvy interviewer can identify whether the candidate has the appropriate know-how, while the layman can identify whether the candidate can effectively communicate about technology to someone with less experience.

Save Time Over Multiple Individual Interviews

Panel interviews can be a significant time-saver when the candidate must be interviewed by multiple interviewers, in contrast to multiple individual interviews. Getting a group of panelists together is easier than having the candidate meet with multiple interviewers individually.

Panel interviews do have some drawbacks though.

Can Take Time to Organize

A downside to panel interviews is that companies often do not have time to find more than one person to interview a candidate. In some cases, a panel interview is unnecessary. For example, if the position involves the candidate frequently answering to only one person, the panel interview will not likely be necessary. However, positions where the candidate will often have to interact with multiple people, such a managerial position, would find a panel interview useful.

Multiple Chances for a Good Impression

However, multiple interviews also can be beneficial because they give interviewers a chance to analyze a candidate and get a better sense of whether the candidate is right for the position. Many times, the best candidate for the job is not hired right away because of one poor interview. For this reason, a company might want to have multiple individual interviews to give job candidates multiple chances to make a good impression.

Intimidating to Some Candidates

An panel interview can be intimidating to some candidates. Some interviewers are skilled at encouraging candidates to come out of their shells and are also skilled at asking probing questions that can help the company really understand the candidate. With a panel, the candidate might fail to completely express himself or herself.

It is best to think of panel interviews as a tool you can use in your hiring process. You don’t need to commit to always using them, but you can use them if a position warrants it.

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