Let’s say you applied for a job in an IT firm, and you got a call up for a panel interview the day after – Great! The not-so-great part is preparing for it and answering the interview questions well.
The truth is, even if you’ve got a strong tech background and good grades, but still struggle with common interview questions, your chances of getting a job aren’t good.
NOTE: A panel interview is an interview with more than one interviewer. It often consists of two to five people, from your potential supervisor, an HR rep, the manager, and two other decision-makers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Prepare For A Panel Interview?
When preparing for a panel interview, it’s wise to have a general sense of what to expect so you can adjust your responses. You need to do your research about the company and analyze the job description. This way, you’ll have a sense of their mission, vision, and goals, and anticipate likely interview questions.
Also, you have to prepare and organize your experiences and stories, develop the meaningful question you would like to ask, before practicing it. As you may know, when hiring for a tech position (it could be a lead role, an assistant, or even for an entry-level position), most IT hiring managers are not only looking for someone who has at least a medium technical and leadership background. They are also looking for someone who knows how to answer the panel’s interview question.
How Many Questions Should I Ask in a Panel Interview?
The number of questions depends on your interview stage. If it’s a zoom interview, there would be less time, hence fewer questions than an in-person setting. That said, if possible, ask at most five questions.
Aside from the number of questions you can ask, you should also know the type of questions you’re asking. Ten thoughtful queries that show interest in the job is better than asking three questions that don’t align with the job role or the workplace. Before you ask any question, make sure it shows your level of interest in the job.
What Should I Do After An IT Panel Interview?
After an IT panel interview, it’s ideal and crucial that you follow up within 24-hours with a thank-you email or note to the panelist present at the interview.
Sending a thank-you letter is a wise strategy that reiterates your interest in the position to the panel. Make sure your thank-you note is concise and well written. Be sure you get the interviewers’ name correctly.
Common Questions Asked During An IT Panel Interview Process
Before you can master answering IT panel interview questions, you must be familiar with the common interview questions to ace. Here are nine common IT manager interview questions:
Tell me about yourself
The IT hiring panel wants to know something about yourself that sits in line with their organization. It could be your qualifications, what led you to the job, and generally why you think you’ll be a good fit. If possible, highlight facts that cannot be seen in your CV or Resume. Read about Resume Writing Tips.
Interviewers usually know what you’ve accomplished through your documents. What they don’t know is how you see and present yourself. Remember to keep your answer concise and direct.
How would you describe yourself?
The IT hiring manager wants to know what makes you the best person for this job. Start by describing the qualities that make you stand out, your strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics that can help you do well in that role.
Tell me about a tech project you’ve done.
An IT hiring manager wants to understand your attitude towards problem-solving, especially your ability to identify, handle and solve it.
You can use the STAR method. Describe the situation (S) and the task (T) you need to solve. Following that, tell them what action (A) you took to achieve it and the result (R) that came out of it.
Can you explain an IT concept in simple terms?
Hiring managers also want to test your communication skills with non-tech people. Your response will show how you present ideas to people who work with you. Avoid unclear acronyms and lingos, and include an example of a time you needed to tackle a complicated technical project or idea.
How do you keep your technology skills current?
IT hiring managers usually assess how current your tech skills are, as It helps them understand how enthusiastic you are when it comes to developing yourself personally and professionally. A typical tech pro will read books, blogs, forums and take online courses. Other times, join hackathons and take on some personal tech projects.
What are the qualities of a successful project leader?
This question determines how well you can shoulder responsibilities, especially while delivering projects. So, you need to provide answers that relate to leadership skills such as organization, motivation, positivity, delegation, and communication.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
Burnout is a common issue in IT. Have a good relaxation strategy at hand. This act shows them you have good coping mechanism and can manage stress healthily.
Why are you interested in this job or Why do you want to work for us?
Interviewers want to know if you understand the job purpose, their firm’s core values, mission, and vision. This part of the interview is where you state your passion for the IT industry in line with the job description and the organization’s values.
Do you have any questions?
This question is vital because it allows you to explore unaddressed topics about the role. If you have no questions about the job, you can ask the IT manager about their own experiences with the company and gain tips on doing well if hired. This act shows the interviewer you’re serious about the role.
Tips On How To Answer Panel Interview Questions
Now that you know some common interview questions, here are five tips that’ll help you ace the interview while answering the questions.
Keep it professional: Focus on your professional skills and abilities. You don’t need to talk about your personal life, family, or hobbies except when asked. Also, don’t bring up irrelevant questions that aren’t in line with the job role.
Don’t be quick to answer interview questions: Allow the hiring manager to complete the question and listen to each word well. Some interview questions start like other questions, take time to listen, think and compose your thoughts so you can respond well. Do not wander off the point, instead give a concise answer that covers all vital areas of the questions.
Give examples of your past job experiences: Use examples of how you handled past related situations to win the heart of your hiring manager. While using samples of your past job experience, make sure to include hard and soft skills that helped you solve a problem or add. Repeat these skills 2-3 times while answering the question. This way, the hiring manager will see that you have the needed skills to do the job well.
Use the right tech words: The words you use in answering job interview questions will convey an impression that you are a pro in the IT field to the hiring manager. And if you’re not a pro (yet), go through the job description and pick out the tech keywords used. Master and use these power words in your responses, and you’re good to go.
Use correct body language: Your body language shows the hiring manager that you’re interested in the job, the company, and them in particular. Non verbal communication skills include maintaining eye contact, smiling, and leaning in as your interviewer speaks. These affect the tone in your voice and make you come across as open, honest, and interested in both the interviewer and the job.
Try to stay calm: Interviews can be distressing, so get there on time, take a deep breath before you begin, and do your best to stay calm.
Use this guide to prepare for your interview by making them your own and tailoring your responses to fit your experience, the job, and the company. Also, try to sneak in your extraordinary skills in your responses because it is essential to leave the interviewer with a lasting impression.
Now that you know these tips, you’re well prepared for your upcoming interview. Before you go, make sure to have a handkerchief to dry up those sweaty palms before shaking the panelist’s hands. And if it’s over a zoom call, don’t forget to keep smiling.
All the best!