Get More From Candidates by Opening Up Interviews

Job interviews have traditionally been one-on-one affairs—you and a candidate for employment (or advancement). But more and more organizations have discovered the advantages of panel interviews: The candidate meets with a group of managers, employees, or other interested parties to answer questions and discuss the job under consideration.
Here are some benefits:

• Atmosphere. A one-on-one interview can feel like an interrogation, a tense and uncomfortable experience. A group interview tends to feel more relaxed and open, like a conversation. You’ll have a better opportunity to see how candidates genuinely respond to situations, and you’ll be able to see how they interact with different people, not just you.

• Time. A committee interview between a candidate and three people takes a lot less time than scheduling and conducting three separate interviews with three different decision-makers. More people can get to know more candidates in a shorter time.

• Attention. A single interviewer may miss an important answer or a subtle bit of body language. With more people listening to the candidate and observing his or her reactions, you’ll get a more complete view of the person.

• Better answers. Interviewers can follow up a candidate’s answers with questions from a different point of view, eliciting more revealing information. This makes it less likely that you’ll make a crucial decision based on a single answer. There’s also less chance of confusion or misunderstanding, because follow-up questions should clarify what the candidate means to say.

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