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How to Outperform in a Panel Interview Without Breaking a Sweat

How to Outperform in a Panel Interview Without Breaking a Sweat

Job interviews are often daunting. The idea of having to sell yourself, your skills and experience and your personality to another person through a series of questions and answers, is not easy. But they aren’t supposed to be easy. The point of an interview is for an organization to try and find out if you would be a good fit for the role you are interviewing for, and for the company as a whole, and they only have a limited amount of time to try and find out this information.

Panel interviews can be even more intimidating, because instead of being interviewed one to one, you are being interviewed by two or more people. Organizations are using panel interviews more often now because they save time and they put even more pressure on the candidate. Although panel interviews are never going to be easy and not nerve-wracking, they are often not as bad as you think. In fact, a panel interview could mean that you will only be interviewed once, rather than being interviewed separately by each person on the panel.

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Here are some tips that will make a panel interview easier so you can ease some pressure, be more confident and be able to show the interviewers exactly why you would be perfect for the role:

1. Prepare yourself so well that you can predict what they would say

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    As with most things in life, preparation is important. An interview is like a test, and you wouldn’t take a test without studying and preparing for it, right?

    • Find out who is interviewing you and what their positions are in the company. Knowing who will be interviewing you makes things a little less daunting. It could also help you to know what type of question each interviewer is likely to ask you.
    • Research the company and role. Make sure you know what the company does, what their services and products are, their competitors, their achievements and awards. Find out exactly what they are looking for in a candidate and what the role actually entails.
    • Practice interview questions. There are always standard interview questions you will have to answer. Research the questions you’re likely to be asked and make sure you have an answer in mind for them. Think of examples of situations where you have used the skills or experience required for the role. Also, remember that there could be some curveball questions you can’t exactly prepare for, but expecting them will be helpful.
    • Prepare your own questions. At the end of the interview you usually get asked whether you have any questions of your own. It’s good to have a few questions because it shows that you are actually interested in the company and the position, and that you have done your research. While researching the company, note down two or three questions you haven’t been able to find the answers to.
    • Research the journey to the place of the interview, the transport and traffic conditions and always plan to arrive early. It’s infinitely better to arrive too early than to arrive late.

    2. Engage with the panel skilfully

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      During the interview, it can be difficult to know where to look because there are several people you are speaking to. You need to make sure you are engaging with all the interviewers.

      • First impressions count. Make eye contact when you greet each interviewer. Smile and give them a sturdy handshake.
      • It’s tricky to remember people’s names when you first meet them, especially when you are nervous. But try to remember the names of the interviewers. Doing research beforehand on who is interviewing you will help with this.
      • Be careful not to exclude anyone. During questions and answers, make eye contact with whoever is asking you a question, but when giving your answers, make sure you address the whole panel.

      3. Beware of your tone and delivery

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        Remember that during an interview, what you say is not the only thing the interviewer will pay attention to. During a panel interview you will have several people paying attention to your overall attitude and body language.

        • Be positive and optimistic. You want to highlight your skills and experience and demonstrate why you would be great for the role. However, be careful not to sound arrogant and over confident no matter how well you think the interview is going.
        • Try to relax. Take deep breaths. Drink some water if you feel your mouth getting dry. Don’t fidget. Don’t fold your arms over your chest or sit in other closed off positions. Remember to smile.
        • Think about your tone and delivery. No one wants to listen to someone who sounds bored or tired or uninterested. But at the same time, while showing enthusiasm, be clear and keep a good pace when speaking.

        Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via kbrs.ca

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        Sheena Vincent

        Freelance Writer

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        Last Updated on December 10, 2019

        7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

        7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

        Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

        But do you know what motivates your people?

        It’s simple:

        • Is their work stimulating?
        • Does it challenge them?
        • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
        • Do you encourage creativity?
        • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
        • Do you praise them?
        • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
        • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
        • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

        Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

        In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

        Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

        These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

        1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

        You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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        But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

        If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

        Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

        2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

        There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

        In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

        So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

        Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

        • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
        • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
        • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
        • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

        So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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        3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

        Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

        When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

        Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

        So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

        4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

        Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

        Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

        Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

        Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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        5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

        Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

        Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

        A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

        Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

        If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

        6. Monitor Their Workload

        Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

        What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

        • Red means they’re fully loaded.
        • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
        • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

        I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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        If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

        And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

        7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

        Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

        So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

        The Bottom Line

        A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

        Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

        More to Motivate Your Team

        Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

        Reference

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