Signs of a hot hiring market are all around: Hiring all positions! Open interviews today! Signing bonuses! As companies hurry to fill open positions, they may use a common method to speed along the process: the panel interview.
But while you need to move with speed, snap hiring decisions can create long-term issues with getting the right people in the right roles. Most managers weren’t good at making hiring decisions to begin with—in fact, only 14 percent of hiring managers are confident in their hiring decisions.
The need for accurate prediction about hiring decisions is one of the reasons why behavioral interviewing is so crucial. At times, however, it can be a lengthy process because it’s best done with multiple individual interviews. But when crunched for time, you can adapt behavioral interviewing for the panel interview format.
These are the basic ideas behind panel interviewing:
Defining a Panel Interview
The hallmark of panel interviewing is an interview conducted by two or more interviewers. The panel often consists of the hiring manager, relevant team members, and an HR representative.
In a panel interview, the candidate usually goes through a single interview. This is different from an experience where a candidate has multiple one-on-one interviews. And like all types of interviewing, the panel’s goal is to choose the best candidate based on information gathered from the interview and the panel’s judgment.
Panel interviewing also looks different from other types of interviews, like group interviews, that involve more than two participants. Panel interviewing typically has one candidate and two or more interviewers. Group interviews invert that approach with multiple job candidates and one or more interviewers.
While efficient, group interviews often lead to a poor candidate experience because candidates feel undervalued and unheard. Furthermore, they lead to limited usable data for each candidate, as each person has very limited time to answer questions. In addition, candidates may be reluctant to share information among competitors for the role.
Four Benefits of a Panel Interview
These are the benefits of panel interviewing:
1. Gain multiple perspectives. Panel interviews allow multiple interviewers to assess the competencies and motivational fit of a candidate in just one job interview. Hiring managers can get a balanced perspective from a mix of panel members who bring different experiences, thoughts, and beliefs to the table.
2. Minimize the impact of hiring bias.
With interviewers using the same structured interview guides and hearing the same responses, they can compare the data collected in their data integration session in an “apples-to-apples” manner. (The data integration session is part of the behavioral interviewing process. It’s a structured meeting after the interview where each interviewer explains their evaluations to the other interviewers who have an opportunity to identify and counter any biases.)
3. Reduce time to hire. Panel interviewing reduces the need to schedule multiple one-on-one interviews. It also allows the interviewers to integrate their collected data immediately after the interview.
4. Give candidates a “peek behind the curtain.” With panel interviewing, the candidate gets a cross-functional view of the organization and its employees. The candidate can check out how the interviewers interact with each other and how they might fit into the team. Plus, panel interviewing highlights collaboration as an important value in the organization.
Learn more, including panel interviewing pitfalls and best practices, by reading DDI’s blog.