Are job panel interviews your idea of a living nightmare? The pressure of multiple senior company executives who are analysing your every answer, the sudden curve ball question from the mysterious figure who hasn’t spoken but suddenly swings your attention his way; it can all be a bit overwhelming.
The Guardian has noted the advice of Steven Kirkpatrick, former chief executive of national recruitment company Cordant Recruitment. “The golden rule of a panel interview is to engage with the whole panel, not just one specific member of the group,”
Body language is also a key thing to consider in these panel situations “When sitting down, maintain an open, positive and engaged body position. Don’t fidget, sit up straight and lean slightly forward in your chair,” Kirkpatrick advises.
Appearing confident is also essential if you’re nervous, “Lift your chin up, puff out your chest and stretch your arms up in front of you” – this is the advice social psychologist Amy Cuddy offers nervous interviewees as quoted by The Guardian.
“First impression traits are the most critical. A manager can read you the moment you walk in the door,” says Kathy Harris, managing director of Harris Allied. “From the way you stand to the grip of your first handshake, presenting yourself as a confident professional is key.”
It’s also best to take your time to prepare. Consider the questions you might be asked in an interview, some will be job specific and others will be competency based. Have your answers ready and try to remain calm enough to remember them.
Thinking about the most likely questions you could be asked will also help. As well as questions related to your industry, there are also more generic questions you can expect to be asked, like “where do you see yourself in five years?” and “why do you want to work here?” (The Guardian)
The Guardian also recommends a study of mindfulness in order to calm those interview nerves.
“Studies have also shown that mindfulness – a meditation practice that increases engagement with the present moment – allows for a clearer understanding of how our thoughts and emotions can impact us. Learning this simple but effective technique could potentially change your career.”
The Guardian is running a series of live chats with experts that concern interview technique and combatting nerves.
If you’re worried about maintaining a professional appeal in a high pressure situation, these talks might be an important step towards mastering those fears.