A panel interview can feel daunting, especially as you could find yourself faced with the school’s Governors, Head Teacher, Business Manager, Hiring Manager and your potential Head of Department. That’s a lot of important people in one room and they’re all going to be asking you questions.
But don’t panic these top tips from our friends at CV-Library for mastering this type of interview will help you stay calm, confident and impress all members of the panel. Follow this advice and you’ll land yourself a job in no time!
It’s vital that you know how to prepare for a panel interview. By preparing thoroughly beforehand, you’ll be better equipped to answer their questions and prove you’re right for the role. Do some research into the school, college or university that you’ve applied for and try to find out exactly who will be interviewing you ahead of time.
This way, you can also do some research on each member of the panel and feel more confident addressing them and understanding the role they play in the school. This will also help to show that you’ve taken a genuine interest in the position.
When faced with a number of people all looking for you to impress them and prove you’re right for the role, it’s understandable that you might feel nervous. But try not to let this show. Take a deep breath and answer each question slowly and carefully.
After all, education roles are not for the faint hearted. You need to show you can take control and are confident in your ability to educate the next generation. So even if you are feeling a little unsure, you need to beat those interview nerves.
Consider your body language
Your body language says a lot about you during an interview and mastering this is hard enough in a one-to-one situation. When faced with a group of interviewers, you need to ensure that you’re addressing every member of the panel. This means avoiding giving all your attention to one and barely even acknowledging the others.
Eye contact is key and you need to make sure you’re looking at everyone throughout the interview. That said, if you’ve been asked a question by a specific panel member, be careful to engage with them as you answer. Once you begin to elaborate, you should once again engage with the full group.
And as with any interview, don’t sit slumped in your chair or with your arms folded. Sit up straight and look professional. Also, make sure you’re not fidgeting or fiddling with any items of clothing, jewellery or stationery.
Ask your own questions
At the end of the interview, it’s likely that you’ll be asked if you have any of your own questions. If you’ve done your research and have a good idea of who everyone is, then you might have specific questions to ask each member of the panel. This can once again cement your interest in the role, proving that you did your research and that you’re genuinely interested.
If you have questions (and you should ask questions), but they’re not for any panel member in particular, just offer these out to the group. Be sure to show a genuine interest in their answers, taking on board and maybe even taking notes on what they’re saying.
Thank all members of the panel for their time
When the interview comes to an end, remember to thank all members of the panel for their time. You should then follow this up, either sending a thank you note or email to everyone that attended. Alternatively, if you don’t have all their contact details, send a thank you to your contact at the school saying ‘I’d like to thank you and your colleagues for your time’.
While a panel interview might feel daunting, as long as you prepare effectively beforehand and make sure to engage with all members of the panel throughout, you’ll be on your way to interview success. And don’t forget to follow up with the panellists afterwards. This could really help you to stand out from other applicants and stay fresh in their minds.