To Panel or Not to Panel? That is the Interview Question

To Panel or Not to Panel
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To Panel or Not to Panel? That is the Interview Question

  • August 14th, 2014
  • CategoriesBlog

Hiring interviews can occur in many different formats and settings. As each business, role, and candidate is different, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for interviewing potential new employees. One-on-one interviews and panel interviews are two of the most common options, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the circumstance, one may be the better choice. How do you know which format is right for your company? To panel or not to panel? That is the interview question.

Benefits of a Group or Panel Interview

A panel interview can be an extremely useful tool for assessing new candidates. The panel can be made of several company members who bring to the table different views and perspectives, which is very helpful for the interview process. Having multiple interviewers means that each panel member may observe different aspects of a candidate’s skill or character, helping to create a better overall picture of the interviewee. Following a panel interview, members can discuss their various impressions of the candidate and voice individual concerns. A heavily-leaning approval or disapproval of a potential candidate can aid in guiding the hiring process. The benefit of discussion is also clear, as the candidate’s attributes can be better weighed and assessed through active conversation. The fresh perspective of each panel member can also help during the interview itself, coming up with different questions to put to the candidate to acquire further information.

Challenges of Using a Panel

Using a panel style interview can be fairly nerve-wracking for a potential candidate, so one advantage to this format is seeing how they may perform under pressure. Unfortunately, some employees who turn out to be excellent workers often do not do well in the interview setting, and a panel style could exacerbate this. The added stress of a large group of interviewees may cause an otherwise good candidate to give a poor interview.

Panels may present an organisation challenge. If utilising a panel process, your group should be clear on who will ask questions and when, to avoid confusion and make sure to cover all necessary topics. With a plethora of different opinions and outlooks, the panel may also become divided on their views of a candidate. A polarised panel may pose a further obstacle, and reaching an agreement on selecting a candidate may prove more difficult.

One-on-One Interviews: Pros

The one-on-one interview approach is often the more common option when hiring, but this too has its advantages and disadvantages. A one-on-one interview can allow for the creation of a comfortable connection between interviewer and candidate. The more intimate and personal setting may provide a sense of camaraderie, allowing a potential candidate to feel at ease, open up with honest answers, and perform at their best. For most interviewees, this format is preferred.

As a one-on-one interview invites more of a conversation style, one advantage may be greater opportunity for the candidate to ask questions, to get a better sense of what the available position entails. A single interviewer also allows for a unified impression of the candidate. Though interviewers strive to be objective, there always exists a degree of subjectivity in an interview setting. The one-on-one interview allows the interviewer the chance to form an educated opinion on the candidate, without being swayed by the biases and notions of other panel members.

Cons of the One-on-One Interview

The one-on-one interview lacks the benefit of diverse opinions and perspectives, which can often help offer a better understanding of the candidate overall. A one-on-one interview may be too limited in scope, or the interviewer may not be the ideal individual to conduct an interview, possibly lacking experience or understanding of the process. A better option for the one-on-one style might include a few rounds of interviews with different interviewers, including some higher-level management interviews. A tiered structure can help weed out inappropriate candidates early on, so that the upper management or those doing the hiring will spend time interviewing only the top candidates.

All Interview Formats Get Results

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 outstanding employees, contact the hiring experts today at On Line Recruitment.

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