From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

November 2019
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Panel Interview Question
Filed under: Interviewing
Posted by: site admin @ 1:28 pm

Hi Dan,

I have an interview tomorrow and Thursday and I just got the schedule. One thing I was not prepared for is two “Roundtable Discussion” slots. I will be meeting with 6 then 4 scientists for a Roundtable Discussion but I am not sure how those go. I haven’t spoken to anyone who has experience with them. Any thoughts on how to successfully handle Roundtable Discussions during an interview?


One Response to “Panel Interview Question”

  1. Anonymous Says:
    Great question, T.
    Round table or panel interviews are very interesting ways of efficiently having many people interview candidates quickly. All the members of the panel observe the responses and can follow up questions, based on their perspectives and interests. Some thoughts.
    The preparation is much the same as it is for the one-on-one series interviews you have experienced. Your actions will be viewed from several perspectives at the same time.
       Please remember that your body language will reveal quite a bit about you in this kind of format.
       When beginning the interview ask for people’s names. If you can remember them or ask your host for them written down, it might help when you meet them at a later point.
       Look for chances to stand up and use boards to write on to show important things– flow charts, or structures, or a pictogram or graph. It displays confidence and ability to communicate in different ways. Your voice projects better when you stand. You can also show energy and enthusiasm.
       Consider asking the questioner to rephrase any ambiguous questions while looking directly at the questioner.
       Consider speaking to the whole panel looking for feedback and nonverbal cues that you are meeting their expectations.
       Consider having a 3 minute technical talk about your area of expertise that sells your key abilities– creativity, or being able to pick up on someone else’s suggestion, giving them credit, or business savvy, whatever it is, T.

      Consider thanking them for meeting with you and giving you the chance to work for their organization (but don’t gush over with too much praise).
      If you are responding to a question and it seems that the audience is “not getting it”, ask them “is this answering your question.”
      Look for that key chance to indicate that your are interested in working with them. Only once.
      Look for the chance to shake hands with each person, making good eye to eye contact displaying that you want to know who they are and where they work. It is a subtle way of starting your interview of them.

      As you go through the interview, look for the transition where they move beyond determining if they want to hire you to selling you on their company. Be prepared with your key questions that you want to know– who will be your boss, co-workers, what is the state of the business key products or new product introductions, what is the time-line for their hiring decision, etc. Notice if people are happy, energetic and focused on getting the product to market and satisfying customers.

      T, it is always remarkable hearing from you. Hopefully, in all the things I have listed above, there is something of value to help you with your panel interview.

      I know you will be the candidate they want to hire!

    Best regards,

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