Panel Interviews

If there's one truly divisive aspect of the hiring process, it's the panel interview. Some companies swear by it, claiming that this stressful test is a good way to test a candidate's mettle. Other companies decry it as nothing more than an ineffective and off-putting leftover from the HR manuals in your grandfather's attic.

Interestingly enough, the opponents of the panel interview have recently become much more vocal than the supporters, and today more and more companies are turning away from what some have called the "firing squad" interview format. Here are some reasons why many businesses are abandoning the panel interview.

Panels Can Compromise Candidate Responses

Panel interviews can be incredibly stressful for candidates, much more so than one-on-one conversations. This added burden tends to affect their behavior, making them appear to be much less confident and competent than they really are. The panel-style interview can be intimidating to candidates, especially if questions are asked rapidly with minimal opportunity for the candidate to ask his or her own questions. This may result in the candidate not performing at his or her full potential, causing the company to miss out on a candidate that may actually be qualified. You will get much more honest answers when candidates are relaxed.

Group Thinking Isn't Clear Thinking

As the saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth. This is especially true of job interviews. When you've got multiple hiring managers providing input, it's far too easy to end up ignoring the best candidate and settling instead on the one candidate that everyone agrees upon. People interpret information differently. While one interviewer may receive a candidate's response positively, another might perceive the response as a red flag.

To add to the problem, panel interviews rarely end up being fair assessments. More often than not, one interviewer dominates the questioning. This leads to a one-sided interview, and a clouded impression of the candidate is the result.

Panel Interviews Don't Endear You to Candidates

Interviews are a two-way street. While they help you determine whether a not a candidate is a good fit for your company, they also help that candidate determine if your company is a good fit for his or her career. Panel interviews are not conducive for building rapport between the interviewers and the candidate.

Two's Company Anything More is a Crowd

Although there are many opinions on why panel interviews aren't as effective as other interview formats, many HR professionals seem to agree on the best alternative. Rather than interviewing by panel, stick to a two-person team instead. That way you have another person to provide perspective on your opinion. By keeping your team small, you can learn more about candidates while simultaneously giving them a better impression of who you are and what you do. So if you're looking to hire a new employee for your business, it might be a good idea to put the panel interview to rest.

SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at sesco@sescomgt.com.