How to Use the Team/Panel Interview Effectively and Make the Right Hire

By Evelyn Milani

Many a good manager includes their team in the interview process when bringing on someone new. What a great way to be inclusive and gain buy-in from your team!

However, if you do not plan in advance or if you try to “shoot from the hip”, the panel interview can sometimes result in an uncomfortable, clunky, ineffective process. Moreover, think about your poor candidate-panel interviews are un-nerving as it is.

In order to maximize your results from using a panel or team interview it is important to do the following:

1.  Know what you are looking for; develop the three to five core skills that are required based on the actual work and your department’s culture, team dynamics, etc.

2.  Plan and prepare; interview questions should be selected ahead of time as well as the creation of some type of ranking or scoring matrix.  Decide who, on the team, will be asking which questions ahead of timeMake sure the team is prepared, has something to write down responses. Also, the team should use open-ended interview questions and should probe on the candidate responses that may not be clear.

3.  Keep the “playing field” level; the same questions should be asked of each candidate. 

4.   De-brief as soon after the interview as possible. You may lose momentum if you wait 24 hours to get consensus. Get together as a group and review each panelist’s ranking on the questions that were asked. Do not get bogged down by one person’s opinion on one or two areas, rather, work with the person to get to the heart of whether the concerns apply to the core skills and cultural nuances. There are no perfect candidates.

If Avanti can help you source, engage and interview top talent, send me a note! [email protected]