Panel interview advice

I’ve had a lot of interviews for a lot of jobs in my time, but next week I have my first ever panel interview. I believe it is with five people. Does anyone have any tips/pointers/advice for how to act in a panel interview? When someone asks me a question, do I look only at that person, or at the whole group? I’m feeling a little nervous about it, so any advice would be helpful. Thank you!

Well, I’ve had one or two in my life, and let me tell you, they suck. They are the perfect tool for intimidating someone who is already nervous and vulnerable. As for any advice for it, speak to the whole group when someone asks a question. They’re all listening (well, should be, anyway). Be very well prepared for it. I would also suggest finding a website with typical interview questions on it and figure out some answers to the most common questions (what are your strengths? weaknesses? what do you excel at at work? did you ever have a situation where you had to deal with stress? with conflict? etc.). Know your own job history backwards and forwards.

I’ve only had one of these, with three interviewers. What I did was maintain eye contact with the person who was asking the question throughout the entire question. Then, during my answer I would make eye contact with each of them at least once, always starting and ending with the individual that asked the particular question.

Also, at the end I had at least one question for each interviewer. This wasn’t so hard because they each had seperate areas of expertise. This was an engineering position: one was an engineer in the same division as the opening, one was a tech, and one was an hr person.

This can be intimidating if you let it. I’d say just be prepared the same way you would be for any other interview, and then relax as much as you can. Also, listen really well during the introductions so you can try to keep names straight - that’s always my weak point.

Good Luck!

Thank you both for your advice. I think each of these people does different things within the school where I’m interviewing, so I think I can come up with a different question for each of them. I’ve been given the names of the potential people on the panel, so I’ll drill myself on those, and familiarize myself really well with the school. I’m just nervous about who to focus on when, and where to look. Your idea for looking at everyone during an answer, starting and ending with the person who asked the question, is a good one. Thank you.

Anyone else? Any HR or hiring people have any advice?