How to answer the interview question “Give me an example of a time when you had a conflict in a professional environment”

Welcome back! If you have been following along and coming to the site every day, I owe you an apology. The initial plan was to write one blog post a day for 31 business days. However, the last two days I have not posted a blog post because work has been extremely hectic and required more attention. But I am back now and ready to tackle a really difficult question today, “Give me an example of a time when you had a conflict in a professional environment.”

This is a classic “walk the line” question. By that I mean answering it is a combination of revealing a challenge but at the same time, not making yourself look bad. It’s like “what is your biggest weakness” or “what would you like to improve upon”.

There are a few keys to answering this question correctly. The first key is your answer can’t be total BS. It needs to be a believable scenario in which a reasonable person could find themselves in while in an office setting. If you make the scenario seems improbable, it’s going to throw up red flags.

The second key is make the conflict one that makes you look reasonable and professional. At the end of the day, using an example where you and a colleague whom you respect had slightly different approaches to accomplish the same thing is probably best.

Thirdly, your example must demonstrate your ability to listen to their reasons and ultimately explain your reasoning well enough for your colleague to come over to your side and agree with you. The term conflict could mean quite a bit of different things in this scenario. It could mean an actual disagreement in which people become slightly unprofessional or it could just be a civil disagreement on approach. It will always serve you better to use an example in which everyone acts professional.

As long as you can do those three things, you should be fine. This is an example of a question you should practice answering. Have the scenario thought out and ready to go. If you have to think about this on the spot, odds are the story won’t come out as you would like. You also want to make sure you are direct and to the point. When people recall stories, they occasionally tend to let the stories drag on. If you can avoid that, it’s a great idea. Be direct and to the point.

Well there you have it. If you do those things you should have an easy time answering this question. Make sure you come back tomorrow when we answer the interview question “Tell me about a time you disappointed a customer”. If you liked this post, please share it or like it on social media. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity.

How to answer the interview question “How do you handle competing deadlines?”

Yesterday we discussed how to handle salary questions. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read that one, I recommend checking it out “What are you looking for in terms of compensation?”. Today we are going to tackle the interview question, “How do you handle competing deadlines?” This is another question you will find yourself asked frequently.

I think it makes sense to discuss why this question gets asked first. This question gets asked because at some point, someone in the interview process thought it made sense to get an idea as to how you deal with multiple tasks. Now, they might be asking this because it is a big part of the job that you are interviewing for. Another reason is they want to get an idea of how detail oriented you are, how you schedule your time or how self-sufficient you are.

I have had hiring managers tell me they would like me to ask this question solely for the purpose of weeding out candidates they think will come to them with every little issue. They might want to avoid candidates who answer this question by saying something like, “I would ask my manager what task is more important”.

Now there are two ways you might get asked this question. The first is the way I phrased it in the title of this post. If they ask you how, then they are looking for your methods and strategies for handling those types of issues. However, they may also ask the question like this, “Give me an example of a time when you had to handle competing deadlines”.

Now if they ask the question the second way, they aren’t looking for hypotheticals, they want an example. As a recruiter, when I ask for a specific example but instead a candidate answers with a hypothetical, it is quite frustrating. It says to me that you can’t think of a time or are avoiding the question.

So, if you are asked in a way that allows you to answer hypothetically, make sure you give a clear, concise explanation that demonstrates your ability to both plan out your time effectively as well as make decisions yourself when appropriate.

If you are asked for a specific example, make sure you have one prepared. The example should demonstrate your strategies for staying organized, it should show your ability to prioritize tasks based on timelines or important and ultimately it should demonstrate a successful outcome. Bonus points if your example is something you can realistically expect to run into in the job you are interviewing for.

Well there you have it. If you can do those simple things you will nail this interview question. Come back tomorrow when we discuss how to answer the interview question, “Give me an example of a time when you had a conflict in a professional environment?”

How to answer the interview question “What are you looking for in terms of compensation?”

Welcome back, yesterday we covered “What is your biggest weakness?”. If you haven’t read that, check it out after this. But don’t skip today’s question because it is one of the big ones! This is another question I knew I absolutely must cover. In fact, I think if I was to put a poll out there it might be the question people fear the most. I ask this question to people every single day and the response I get is unique to this question. People sight, people say “I knew you were going to as that” and all kinds of other responses.

The fact of the matter is most recruiters don’t like asking it either. I have had recruiters tell me they hate asking the question just based on the responses they get and the way candidates sometimes react. Not me however. I know it’s a question that absolutely needs to be asked and I have no problem asking the question.

I have seen posts saying that your salary requirements are none of the recruiter’s business. That is certainly one way to look at it, I however, disagree. If I send a candidate over to a hiring manager and they have absolutely no idea what that person is making I am not really doing my job. So, I ask every single time.

Now I also get why candidates don’t want to give up that information. Candidates often feel that by giving that information up they are compromising their ability to negotiate later. That’s fair. However, I would counter that just because you tell them what you are making now in no way keeps you from countering an offer or walking away.

However, I know some of you want to know how to avoid giving your salary requirements, so here is my advice on that. If you are asked what you are currently making you can respond by saying “In terms of a new role, salary is not the most important thing to me but I am open to a fair a equitable offer”. Now, some people will press further and ask what that means. If they do, I would recommend giving them a salary range and say something like “it is open to negotiation but I am targeting a salary in the 75-95k range in order to make a move”. This gives them a wide range and if they are willing to accept that answer, you still haven’t given them what you are currently making.

Now, I always think that in terms of negotiation, you are better off not giving them your current salary. If you are able to tell them a range instead of an exact amount, it will help you down the road. However, you are going to deal with recruiters who hear that answer and still want to know specifically what was on your W2 last year. If they continue to push and as for this, I would recommend telling them.

Probably not what you wanted to hear but the fact of the matter is, the situation becoming hostile doesn’t help your chances at landing the role. Some people will also say, if they are going to push you here, then that’s a company you don’t want to work for. I disagree, one person not taking not taking no for an answer doesn’t mean it still isn’t a great company. So, if they really push I would say something like “I am currently making 65k but would be targeting a salary of 75-85 in order to make a move”.

If they wont take no for an answer, better to move forward positively then get into a hostile back and forth. By stating what you need to move you are reinforcing the fact that regardless of current compensation, this is what it will take of you want me to join your organization. And as I said earlier, if they come back with 70k because you are currently at 65k, you don’t have to accept that. Counter. And if they are willing to lose you over 5k, you probably don’t want to be there anyway.

The biggest takeaway here is don’t be afraid of this question and don’t let it turn into a hostile exchange. At the end of the day you decide your worth and don’t need to accept anything that doesn’t appropriately value what you bring to the table. Another takeaway is that asking is part of the job, so don’t be too hard on your recruiter.

Well there you have it. The way to properly handle the most dreaded interview question. Come back tomorrow when we answer the interview question “How do you handle competing deadlines?” Until then, please like and share this post on social media. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity.

How to answer the interview question “What is your biggest weakness?”

Welcome back! Yesterday we covered answering the interview question “What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?” If you haven’t read that yet, head on over there after you read this post. I am actually surprised I was able to wait as long as I did to answer this question. This is a stable of interviews and I think what really makes it interesting is there is a general consensus on how to answer this question that I think is wrong.

I think the general school of thought on this question is you answer this question with something that really isn’t a weakness but rather is a strength. The problem with that is everyone see’s through that. Everyone immediately dismisses your answer as disingenuous. I mean think about it. I imagine your are interviewing someone for your team and you ask this question and there answer is “Well, I guess my biggest weakness is I am willing to stay late to make sure I accomplish all my goals and I meet my objectives”.

Do you take the answer seriously? I have heard that answer and guess what, I didn’t. Its seen as dodging the question and really isn’t appreciated. You are actually much better served picking an actual weakness that wouldn’t impact your ability to function at a high level in the role you are interviewing for followed up by the ways you are working to bolster that weakness.

So, first, make sure it isn’t a weakness that is going to severely impact your ability to do your job. So, if you are applying to be an internal auditor, your weakness should not be your inability to stay focused and occasional lack of attention to detail. If you are applying to be a surgeon, it shouldn’t be that you get really shaky hands when under pressure. You get the idea.

Instead find something that is reasonable that you have been working on improving. For example, I often ask the question, “What areas would you like to improve upon in your career?” That is essentially the same question. Some of the best answer are just honest answers about what they value and want to make sure they can turn into a strength. I want to get better at mentoring more junior engineers. I want to make sure continue to learn as the technology advances in my industry.

I had a person answer the other day that her greatest weakness was public speaking. This is an excellent answer to the question. Why? Because it wasn’t a major component of her role, it’s a fear many people share and it’s something she is working towards improving. That right there is the trifecta. If you answer does those three things you will be just fine.

There you have it! Make sure you come back again tomorrow when we cover answering he interview question “What are you looking for in terms of compensation?” Also, if you like these posts, go down load my FREE Interview Prep Guide, its totally free. As always, I appreciate any likes or shares of these posts. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity.

How to answer the interview question “What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?”

Welcome back to 31 interview questions in 31 days. If you are new to this, I have committed to answering 31 interview questions of 31 business days. Today is the 5th day, so we have 26 more to go. Over the next 26 days I will answer a variety of interview questions, including behavioral interview questions, motivation questions and even salary questions. Yesterday we covered the interview question “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” If you haven’t read that one yet, hop over there when you finish today’s!

Speaking of today, we are going to cover the interview question “What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?” Now on the surface this might seem like an easy question to answer, right? I am not so sure about that actually. You see this is another question where if you are prepared to answer the question, then it should be an issue for you. However, if you are unprepared and fumble the answer on the spot it will give the person interviewing a lot of questions about you as a candidate. Does this person really not have anything they are proud of in their career?

So, the first key here is to be prepared. Know that this is a question that could very likely be asked and know exactly what you are going to say ahead of time. Secondly, do not make something up. Recruiting Legend Lou Adler once held a full day training class with my company. He spent the entire day teaching us what has worked for him in his storied career and towards the end of the day he talked about what he considered the most important interview question you can ask.

The question today was the question he was referring to. The reason being is that you can really get a solid idea about what this person’s level of ability is with this question. You can also get the people they interface with, scope of their role, organizational impact and a lot of other information when you ask the right follow ups. You see, for a recruiter, the key isn’t to ask the question, take down the answer and move on. The key to this is in the follow up questions. A good recruiter will ask what their specific role was, who they interfaced with, how long it took, who else was involved, who did you need signoff from etc.

It’s easy for a person to be asked this question and exaggerate their impact if there are no follow up questions. However, if you ask the right follow up questions it is near impossible for a person to keep fabricating without it becoming obvious. So, to recap, have an answer prepared and don’t lie. The one additional tip I will give is that it helps if your biggest accomplishment is something that would add value to your potential new role. Most of us will have several accomplishments we are proud of so if you can pick one that would be particularly attractive based on what you know of the company and role, then it’s a good idea to use that as an answer.

Well there you have it. This is a pretty straightforward question as long as you can avoid those pitfalls. Tomorrow we will cover the question “What is your biggest weakness?” If you liked this post, please feel free to like and share it with your social media. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity.

How to answer the interview question “Where you do want to be in 5 years?”

Welcome back to 31 interview questions in 31 days. This will be the last post until Monday when we resume our 31 business day journey to helping you succeed at answering some of the most frequently asked interview questions. Yesterday we covered the interview question “What do you consider to be your biggest strength?” If you haven’t read that post check it out after we go through today’s question. Today we will be tackling the interview question, “Where do you want to be in five years?”

Now there are actually a few versions of this question you might be asked. You might be asked what are you career goals. Or how do you see yourself expanding professionally within the next five years. But basically, they are all getting at one main concept. Do you have a vision for your future? Do you have a plan?

The most successful people in the world plan. Most people don’t trip, stumble and fall into success. Success is having a goal, breaking down the steps you need to take to achieve that success and tirelessly pursuing those goals and objectives until you reach your target.

So, when you are asked this question, its best to have a plan. However, its best to have a plan that is reasonable as well. When you answer this question, there are a few no no’s. The first is it needs to be something achievable. If you are asked what you want to be doing in five years as you are interviewing for a Jr Accountant and your answer is CFO, that isn’t really a realistic target. They will either think you are naive or are not taking the question seriously.

Secondly, avoid answers that make it seem like you aren’t interested in your current role. If you are interviewing for that same Jr Accountant role and your answer is “I wanted to be leading scrums as a software developer, I am currently take night classes to get a computer science degree.” That may be honest but to me it says I am actively taking steps to move out of the role I am currently interviewing for.

There are also some things you want to make sure you do. I always liked stating my interest in the current role before I moved on to stating where I liked to be. For example, I might say, “Well currently I really enjoy recruiting so my short term goal is to continue to develop and grow my skills in recruitment. However, in five years I would like to be in a role or making good progress to a role in which I am able to lead a team of recruiters.”  Answering like this is helpful because it lets them know you aren’t a flight risk and you still have learning to do in your current role but it also lets them know you have a vision for your future.

You should also mention development steps you are currently taking if they happen to be relevant. For example, if you have interest in people managing and you are currently completing your MBA, I would mention that while answering this question. And as with every question, I consider it important to be enthusiastic while answering.

Well there you have it. If you can do those things correctly, you will be able to knock this question out of the park. If you liked this post, please feel free to share. Make sure you come back Monday when we tackle our next interview question, “What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?” Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity!

How to answer the interview question “Why are you interested in this role?”

Welcome to day two of 31 interview questions in 31 days. Yesterday we tackled the question, Why are you looking for a new role? If you missed that post, go back and check it out after this one. Today we are going to cover how to answer the question, why are you interested in this role. This might sound like an easy question to answer but people actually get it just little bit wrong all the time.

That being said, with proper preparation this is a relatively easy question to knock out of the park. At the same time, if you don’t get it right it’s one that might leave the interviewer scratching their head.

I am going to start by breaking it out down into do’s and don’ts. Make sure that you don’t speak negatively about your current employer. Trust me, your potential future manager doesn’t like hearing you speak poorly about your past manager. Don’t give a reason that seems uninspired. For example, “I don’t know, it seems similar to what I am doing now”. For those of you who are shaking your head right now thinking that isn’t a response recruiters get, I can assure you I have heard that answer hundreds of times. You can say that while your current position and this role seem similar, you feel this new role would offer you the opportunity to expand your scope or something to that effect.

Now let’s talk about a few things you should do when answering this question. Make sure that you have done enough research to comfortably speak about the things you admire about the company. Also, make sure you speak passionately. You don’t have to be over the top but people like enthusiasm. If you can put a little enthusiasm into your answer you will be much better off.

Finally, be prepared to talk about how this role would represent growth and development that is important to you in your career. These are all good reasons. When someone asks you this question, more than anything they just want to hear positive things that make sense. They want to know you are just looking for a new role for a pay bump or because you dislike your boss.

In my opinion, the perfect way to answer this question is to enthusiastically talk a little bit about why you feel the company is the kind of company you want to work for and how the role fits in with the type of development you were hoping to experience. Avoid negativity about your current company/boss as well and you will be just fine.

Hopefully you found that helpful. Tomorrow we will cover the question, what do you consider to be your biggest strength. If you have any questions you would like me to address, please comment below and I will add them to the list. If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with your social networks. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity.

How to answer the interview question “Why are you looking for a new role?”

This is day one of 31 interview questions in 31 days. If you are wondering what this is all about check out yesterday’s post, 31 Interview Questions in 31 Days, detailing my plan for the next month. Today we will start with a question you will be asked virtually every time you interview, why are you looking for a new role? This one is first up so let’s tackle it!

In just about every interview you ever take, you will be asked why you are looking for a new role. In every corporate interview, I have ever conducted it has been on my interview form. Every head hunting call I have ever made, if the conversation progressed, I would ask why they are interested in entertaining a new opportunity. The fact of the matter is if you ever plan on interviewing again, odds are you will need to answer this question.

So, let’s start with why. Why do recruiters and hiring manages alike ask this question? The reason is that there are good and bad ways to answer. An example of a good way to answer it is, “Well I am not actively looking, but I have always admired your company and the description for the role sounds exciting”. They might push further because the assumption is that if you are willing to leave then something must be wrong, but generally speaking, that is a good way to answer that question.

An example of a bad way to answer the questions is, “Um, I don’t know, I just wanted to see what else is out there”. That answer is bad because it doesn’t inspire confidence in your desire to ultimately take the job. From a recruiter perspective, it is just really important to know the candidate’s motivation. If they let you know they are looking for a new role because they don’t see any realistic way to move up within their current organization, it’s something you want to emphasize your company having, assuming that’s the case. Also, if you ever find that candidate accepting your offer and then receiving a counter offer, it’s important to be able to remind them exactly why they were looking in the first place. Does that counter offer you were just extended solve your original reasons for looking for employment elsewhere?

So, let’s talk about answering this question. Let’s assume you are already employed, because if you are unemployed then answering this question is much more straight forward, you are looking for a new job. So, start by establishing leverage, “I am actually not really looking, I am quite happy where I currently am, I just so happen to stumble upon this position and it really intrigued me”. By answering the question in this manner, you let them know that you aren’t desperate, you would be perfectly fine going back to your current job if this doesn’t work out and that if they really want you they are going to have to bring it.

There is a possibility they will push further and try to get a deeper answer. They might say something like, “well sure but there must be some reason why you are entertaining other opportunities”. I like responding to that question by saying something along the lines of while you really enjoy your current role, you don’t see a lot of future growth, development opportunities or ways for you to expand the scope of your work. This gives them the additional “why” they are looking for while also positioning you as someone who seeks development.

You must avoid sounding like you don’t care about this role and are doing it for kicks. That is the wrong way to establish leverage. You also must avoid saying negative things about your current employer. They may all be true but you will come off as difficult to work with. There you have it. If you do those things you will have done a great job answering that question. Tomorrow we will tackle the question likely to come up next, “why are you interested in this role?” So, come back and find out the secret to answering that question. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about a great opportunity!

What Most Companies Mess Up About The Interview Process

When I receive an email from a candidate following an interview when I wasn’t expecting an email, I don’t even need to open it. I already know what it says. Well I mean, I don’t know every word but I know what the main takeaway is going to be. My candidate it regretfully informing me that they are dropping out of the process or that they have accepted another offer. You see, when things are going great, people usually aren’t calling me. If the interview went amazing, I am going to have to make the calls if I want to get that information. As someone who has been recruiting non-stop for the last seven years I have received a ton of those emails.

Usually they are pretty much the same. They are polite, they are thoughtful and there is a visible effort to try and let me down easy. Do you want to know a secret? I’m rarely ever upset at the candidate. The only way I am ever upset at the candidate is if they misrepresented something along the way or the timing is painfully bad. But, if they realized the opportunity wasn’t a great fit for them or they had a bad experience interviewing, what reasonable person could be mad about that. Not me.

In fact, I am more likely to be irritated with the people who had been doing the interviewing. When a candidate tells me that they had a bad experience interviewing or that perhaps that didn’t quite get the “vibe” they were hoping for, I am disappointed for all involved. Because usually that means the hiring company didn’t make the interview enough about the candidate. It usually means they were so laser focused on figuring out if this was the right person or not that they didn’t take the time to show the candidate why the company was right for them.

People who are involved in hiring typically operate under the belief that there are two types of candidate markets. They think that when there aren’t a lot of jobs and perhaps the economy isn’t doing so hot, it’s a company driven market. Meaning that there are many people looking for jobs and few jobs available. Or the other end of that, when the economy is doing great and there are a lot of available jobs, it is a candidate driven market. Now for many years I also believed that but I was wrong. The fact of the matter is, a scarcity will always exist when it comes to the talent that is capable of making an impact that is extraordinary. No matter what is going on in the market, the top 25% of the talent in the workforce will be gainfully employed as long as it is their desire to do so.

So what does that mean for those of us who are trying to find and hire these transformative individuals? It means if you ever stop selling the opportunity, you are failing to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed as an organization. So, to answer the question I posed in the title, most companies misdiagnose the dynamic created when you are trying to make a hire. They are under the impression that the only party that needs to be sold is them. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you really want to be able to hire the type of people who will transform your fortunes as an organization, you need to interview with the mindset that selling what you have to offer is absolutely as critical as making sure they are the right person.

Now, I will get into that in a minute, I am going to take you on a small diversion to give you a little bit of information on my personal recruitment. If you haven’t been to the About Me section of my page, I work for a company called Titus Talent. I could go on and on about how we are not your typical recruitment firm. For our clients, what really matters is we are much more so partners than you typical staffing firm and that we save them 70% on traditional recruiting firms. In fact, recently I filled a Project Leader role for a client and when it was all said and done it cost them less than five thousand dollars. If they had worked with me while I was at Manpower it would have cost them just under twenty-eight thousand dollars. So besides the fact that we provide comprehensive activity reports, massive amount of savings and a database of all the candidates we reached out to that they can pull from in the future, every single candidate we submit is a passive candidate (by the way, if you have ever worked with a third party recruiter before, the past couple of sentences should be earth shattering. If you want to learn more about our process and how we might help your company find the best talent at a fraction of the cost, email me at ben.white@titustalent.com and I will be happy to tell you all about it and answer your questions).

So, when I say that every candidate is passive, this is what I mean. Every single candidate we submit is someone we reached out to, virtually none of our candidates every apply to a posting of ours. That is of course because these postings don’t exist. My company never posts a job. When I was at Manpower, a client would give us a role and I would then post it online to a plethora of job boards and sometimes, one of those candidates would be the ones who got the job. So my client would pay us 20% of the candidates first year salary for a candidate who applied to a posting. Not here, every candidate we present is someone who we went out and found. Truly passive, transformational talent.

Now let’s circle back. Imagine you did all the work to engage top 15% in the market talent and even though they were happy with their current role and not looking to interview, you got them interested and they decided to interview for an opportunity. Now imagine the client is super interested as well, they decide to have this person onsite for an interview. Now finally imagine the candidate says she found the interview process to be intimidating and isn’t interested and wants to stay where she is because after all, she wasn’t looking and is happy where she is at. Now also imagine the client calls you and says, “Ben, that candidate is Great! She has all the technical skills and would fit in great here!” It is now your job to tell them the candidate has removed herself from the process and has no interest in moving forward.

Guess what, that can happen if companies fail to do their part in selling the opportunity. Last week I wrote a post on panel interviews, The Truth About Panel Interviews – And how you can beat them! Intimidating panel interviews are a component of why a candidate might get pushed away but they are by no means the only reason. My advice to companies is make sure you remember that selling the opportunity is just as important as figuring out if the candidate is the right one. The fact of the matter is you will be able to determine if the candidate is the right one or not when you interview them whether or not you sell the opportunity or not. If you believe that, then why wouldn’t you sell what you have to offer. Tell them why people like working here, show them around and remember that they are people too who like to be treated kindly. If you can find a way to turn your interview experience into an experience where you are truly able to sell this opportunity you will be putting yourself at a significant competitive advantage. Remember, there will always be a shortage of the best people, regardless of the market.

Well there you have it! What most companies mess up about the interview process is they remember to find out if you are right for them but they forget to demonstrate why they are right for you. If you liked this post, share it! I love seeing when people share my posts in their LinkedIn groups or on Facebook. Also, please feel free to share your thoughts below, I always try and comment back. What I would love to hear is examples of when companies did an awesome job of selling you on their opportunity. You can also share horror stories of interviews you have been on; those could be really fun to share as well. Thanks for reading and remember, there is never a bad time to hear about an amazing opportunity!

The Truth About Panel Interviews – And how you can beat them!

I am going to start this post by saying I do not like panel interviews and I am in no way shape or form in favor of them. In fact, if you were to ask most people what their least favorite part of interviewing was, I am willing to bet at least half the people you ask would say panel interviewing. So, why do people hate them so much? What is it about panel interviews that makes people single them out as such a negative experience? Well, a few years back I ended up calling a bunch of candidates who had turned down attractive offers over the last 6 months. I called to ask them about their experiences in order to get some candid feedback from people who had been involved in our process.

The feedback I got was that the interviews where cold, it felt as if they were being grilled, they didn’t do a good enough job of selling the opportunity and that they absolutely hated the panel interviews. People hate them because they are the most nerve-wracking component of an already stressful event. Interviewing is already something a lot of people don’t like doing, but this is the worst part in many people’s eyes.

So you might be asking, well Ben, if this is the case why do people do panel interviews. Preach! I agree, we should do away with them. However, as uncomfortable as they may be, the fact of the matter is that there is value there for the company doing the interviewing. For one, they can get the candidate in front of a lot of people in a limited amount of time. In addition to that they get to see how the person might react to a stressful situation and they get a sense of how this person is able to handle themselves in a complicated group setting. There is no denying, getting an idea of how a candidate handles a stressful situation and being able to see how they communicate in that situation has value.

So far we have established two things. The first is that generally speaking people dislike panel interviews and that they aren’t going anywhere. So, if they aren’t going anywhere, you should probably get better at doing them right? Right! I recently had a panel interview and it went pretty well I think. It didn’t go terribly at least because I got the job and here I am now. So let’s talk about what I did to do well enough that I wasn’t derailed by that panel interview.

How to beat Panel Interviews

So I am going to give you three tips that will help you with panel interviews. I can’t help that they will always work, to some degree it will always depend on the interviewers but these should help. If you can employ these three techniques, most of the panel interviews you will do for the rest of your life will go well. Oh, and for extra help, check out this 5 Things Smart Interviewers Do in the Lobby.

Be confident

The first thing you need to do is not let nerves get to you. I know that is easier said than done. However, if you seem stressed they will notice and you aren’t doing yourself any favors. To be confident, you need to be prepared. So, do your research and go into the interviewer knowing that there is nothing more you could have done to position yourself for success. Once there, sit up straight, smile, look them in the eye and know that they also put their pants on one leg at a time just like you. A lot of it comes down to mindset. Push the fear out of your mind, be confident in what you bring to the table (if it wasn’t a lot, you wouldn’t be there) and let the passion for what you do show!

Don’t worry, be happy! And Passionate!

This one is another attitude adjustment. Your attitude can be infectious. If you smile, are happy and it’s obvious that you love what you do you can completely change the feeling in the room. Don’t think of it as an interview, think of it as a conversation with people who do what you do. However, some of the most frequent feedback I hear from panel interviews is the person lacked energy or passion. Don’t let that be you! I always advocate preparation, passion and positivity in interviewing. This is no different, it might even be more important in this setting.

Allocate your attention evenly

This is the single biggest pitfall people fall victim to while doing panel interviews. I have heard so many times that the interviewer completely ignored a person or directed all their attention to the person with the highest role. That is disrespectful and stupid. People notice when you do that and the person you ignored won’t be the only person who considers it in ill taste. When someone asks you a question, look at them but also make note to look at everyone a little bit. Look them in the eye, answer confidently and make sure you spend an equal amount of time engaging everyone there. I have seen this derail many candidates and it can be the kiss of death for an interview and your potential candidacy. Everyone took time to be there and prepare. Make sure you show them the respect they deserve and connect with them.

Well there you have it! If you can do those three things you will be ok. So much of success is showing up early, respecting people and being positive. The same holds true for interviews. For more prep advice, get my FREE Interview Prep Guide. If you liked this post and I hope you did, please share it and like it on your social networks. Go after what you want today, it’s the best way to live. Have an awesome day and thanks for reading!