Companies often conduct panel interviews with job candidates. There is a compelling reason for this – several heads are better than one. With more people evaluating a candidate, more perspectives are available. Some people might catch something others have missed, or have a different viewpoint to offer.
However, in order to make this group project successful, each person needs to be on the same page as to what they are looking for in a job candidate, and how each panelist will be evaluating the person. There needs to be a standardization of the criteria that are being used. If one person on the team is evaluating the candidate using one set of standards, while another person is using another set of criteria, comparing notes might only lead to more confusion. Here are some ideas on how to avoid this.
Before conducting the interview, panel members should meet to develop a plan to determine exactly what they are looking for in a job candidate. What skills and experience are needed, as well as performance expectations for the person who will fill the position. Everyone needs to be clear about what the expectations are. They all need to be working from the same evaluation framework.
Know who is doing what.
First of all, the group should appoint someone to lead the interview to act as a moderator. Then group members need to decide what kinds of issues each will focus on so that all questions get answered and there is little overlap with the questioning.
Make sure panel members have needed information
To make sure everyone is on the same page, each member of the interview team should have a copy of the job candidate’s resume and cover letter and any other materials the person provided, such as references or work samples. Panel members also should have items such as the job description that was advertised, and the outline the group put together of what an ideal candidate looks like.
Meet after the interview.
Panel members should get together as soon as possible after each interview so the job candidate and his or her answers are still fresh in their minds. With everyone working from the same evaluation framework, they can productively share notes.
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