Outnumbered in an interview? We’ve got your back

Job interviews are nerve-racking – that’s a no brainer right? But what about when you find out you’ll be facing three or more interviewers? For some, the prospect of this can be unnerving, and it’s understandable that candidates feel outnumbered.

Principle Consultant at Good People HR, Kristine Tuazon, says that previously only candidates applying for senior roles would be subjected to multiple interviewers, but now it’s much more common, as employers want to ensure all employees are a good fit for the team and organisation as a whole.

It’s no longer just about a candidate’s past experience and skill set. Various interviewers are also assessing longevity, and seeing if they’re passionate and aligned to the goals of the organisation.

So, knowing that you might have to face multiple interviewers in a future job interview, here are three important pieces of information to consider:

  1. The size of the panel. Unsurprisingly, the reason the number of interviewers varies is that there are different people involved in the recruitment process. Tuazon says that on average it’s about three, but it can occasionally get up to five. “Sometimes a psychologist is included, or if it’s a financial role, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) might be involved. But three is pretty standard,” she says. Irrespective of the size, it’s important to engage and address the whole panel, not focus on a single person. This can be achieved by using open body language, and making eye contact with each interviewer throughout the discussion.
  2. The role of each interviewer. When faced with multiple interviewers, it’s important to understand that each person has different duties, and are there to assess the various skills and qualities you possess. Tuazon uses the example of an accountant, and says that a candidate, having got through several rounds of interviews, could eventually be faced with, “the CEO, who is there for strategy, the HR person, who is there to assess personality and behaviour, and then there’d be your prospective direct manager.” Tuazon says that the direct manager is there to answer questions about the role, such as ‘tell me a bit more about the team?’ or ‘how do you expect me to perform in the first 30, 60 and 90 days of the role?’. “At this stage, you’re planting the seeds of trust,” she continues. “You’re showing you’ve researched the company, and are asking about things like the culture, team and success metrics.”
  3. That you’re there for good reason. It’s important for candidates to know that they’re being interviewed by multiple people because the employer and company want you there. “You’re there because you’ve made the top few people,” says Tuazon. “It’s where the self-worth and self-esteem part really kicks in. You need to say to yourself, ‘I’m supposed to be here!’ That’s one thing that we really encourage all candidates to remember.”

Tuazon closes by saying that often the interviewers are nervous too, so it’s important to believe in yourself and show them your worth. “I firmly believe that there are two main things that rule a candidate out; self-doubt and lack of preparation,” she says. So get confident, get prepared, and go wow those interviewers.

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