Panel Interviews or Individual Interviews: Which Is Better?

Panel Interviews or Individual Interviews

Every business is different. So too are the positions you advertise for and the candidates you attract. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for interviewing potential new employees. Interviews may take many forms including:

  • Individual (one-on-one interviews)

The most common form of interview where you will talk directly to a representative of the company. It could be the manager you will be working with, someone from human resources or in smaller businesses, the owner. 

  • Panel Interviews

More daunting than individual interviews, the panel will consist of people from different departments including management, human resources and team members. 

  • Group Interviews

These can be hard to navigate as you will never be quite sure what the company is looking for. Often it will be how you interact with other candidates or whether you display leadership skills.

  • Phone Interviews

Phone interviews are usually quick pre-screening calls to gauge whether you are suitable for the position. If successful you will be invited to attend an in-person interview. 

  • Assessment Days

These usually follow on from face-to-face interviews and will involve completing tasks and problem solving within a group. Presentations often form part of assessment days too. 

And of course in 2020 the video interview is on the rise because of COVID-19. Interviewing well is always a challenge but in the midst of a pandemic it becomes even more difficult. Many companies will need to make the interview process remote from start to finish, while others will be able to proceed with traditional methods albeit with a COVID-19 safety plan in place.

Even during these challenging times, one-on-one interviews and panel interviews are two of the most common options, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to discover which format is right for your company.

Panel Interviews: Pros and Cons

Panel interviews involve two or more interviewers and are commonly used when companies are looking to fill a senior position. Advantages of panel interviews include:

    • Minimises personal biases.
    • Panel members will have their own views and perspectives, leading them to ask different interview questions from each other.
    • Each interviewer will observe different aspects of the candidate’s skills and character.
    • Interviewers can discuss their impressions of the candidate and voice any concerns.
  • A panel interview can be nerve-wracking for candidates, so it gives a good insight into how they might perform under pressure.


Conversely, the downside of a panel interview is that it may be intimidating. The added stress of multiple interviewees may cause an otherwise good candidate to interview poorly. Other negatives include confusion during the interview process (multiple questions being asked at the same time) and opposing views when it comes to making a final decision on a candidate.

What Industries Typically Use Panel Interviews?

Panel interviews are used by all types of organisations, big and small. However, panel interviews are more common in the following sectors:

  • Academic institutions such as universities
  • Non-profit organisations
  • Government organisations
  • Senior executive positions


Some panel interviews in these employment sectors require the candidate to give a presentation before the actual interview begins. While this may sound terrifying, giving a presentation is actually a good opportunity for you to display your knowledge of your field of expertise and show off your passion for the job.

How to Succeed in a Panel Interview

Panel interviews generally follow a similar format. Some of the most common questions asked in panel interviews include:

  • Tell us a bit about yourself
  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Tell us about a challenge that you had to overcome at your last job
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • Do you have any questions for us?


To prepare for your interview, think about the honest answers to these questions and write them down. A little bit of preparation will help ease your nerves and give you a solid foundation from which to answer variations of the above questions or any follow-up questions. Other things you can do to increase your chances of success include:

  • Research the company and your interviewers
  • Try and engage with all of the interviewers, and be sure to make eye contact 
  • Aim for a friendly, conversational tone
  • Always ask questions 
  • Arrive early to your appointment

Individual Interviews: Pros and Cons

An individual, or one-on-one interview, is the preferred format for most candidates. It’s far easier to establish a connection with just one person and may help the candidate to feel at ease, open up with honest answers, and perform at their best. The more relaxed setting may also encourage the candidate to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the position and the company. However, there are some downsides to a one-on-one interview which should be considered. These include:

    • Subjectivity means the best candidate for the position may not be selected.
    • If the interviewer lacks experience in the interview process, the interview may be too limited in scope.
  • Lack of input from others may lead to bias.


A good option if you choose a one-on-one interview is to include a few rounds, with different interviewers, including some higher-level management. A tiered structure can help weed out inappropriate candidates early on so that the upper management will spend time interviewing only the top candidates.

Need Help Hiring? Ask On Line Recruitment

No one way of interviewing is better than another, and whatever suits your company’s needs best is what you should stick with. Whichever format of interview you choose to use, be sure to be well organised, have planned information to cover, and know the position you’re interviewing for inside and out. This is the best way to assess potential candidates, and feel confident you will select the best person for the job. If you’d like more information on sourcing suitable candidates for your business, or any of our other recruitment services, contact the hiring experts today at On Line Recruitment.