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Panel interviews are an excellent idea when hiring for senior-level and other business-critical roles. They provide varying perspectives, help eliminate biases and involve key stakeholders in the decision-making process.

A successful panel interview will help you determine how candidates react to the stress of rapid-fire questioning, interact with various personalities, and communicate and build rapport. The involvement of more people helps you to better determine cultural fit and identify any red flags or possible risk factors in a candidate.

Assembling a good team and ensuring that everyone involved has a high level of input is key to your successful selection process.

How to Build Your Panel

Your interview panelists should represent a cross section of the hiring department and a variety of related positions. Different interviewers look for different qualities and skills. For instance:

  • Direct managers and team leaders can interview candidates about their experience and work style.
  • Potential peers can provide additional insight on culture, personality and work style alignment.
  • An executive recruiter offers invaluable objectivity and market intelligence.

Another key consideration is the diversity of your panelists to avoid any perception of discrimination based on race, gender or other issues.

Responsibilities of Panelists

Panel members work with your recruiter to review candidate materials and arrive at consensus on who should be on the final interview short list. They also will work on composing questions and then conducting actual interviews as a team. Specific roles include:

  • Selection panel chair: This person provides leadership to other team members and keeps your process on track, in conjunction with your recruiter. They set up panel meetings and oversee the scheduling of interviews and, at the same time, serve as an equal member of the panel.
  • Panel members: These individuals commit the time needed to study materials and fully participate in the hiring process.

Your panelists are responsible for:

  • Deciding on people’s specific roles within the panel.
  • Reviewing the job description and revising it as necessary.
  • Developing a selection matrix if you decide to use one.
  • Reviewing, debriefing and comparing notes after interviews are complete.
  • Checking references.
  • Making offers.
  • Completing a recruitment summary.
  • Ensuring that rejection letters are promptly handled.

It can be overwhelming to keep up with the constant challenge of sourcing, recruiting and landing top talent. Your executive recruiter should be your partner throughout the process. Contact BrainWorks today to learn how our proprietary Talent Acquisition Profile, Talent Evaluation Process and other resources can work for you. When you partner with us, you get better results.


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