Leading an Interview Panel

It is becoming much more common to use panels to interview candidates for university jobs. Having more than one interviewer can help provide a more well rounded view of the candidate, as it is hard for one person to notice everything.

Before your panel interviews any candidates, provide each member with a copy of the job profile and describe for them your ideal candidate. What is the working environment like? What are the working styles of other people in the same work area? What is the supervisory style like? Do you need someone who is able to work under tight supervision, or would you prefer someone who shows lots of initiative and would be comfortable working without much direction?

Explain the interview process to the other members of the panels. Who will introduce the candidate? Who will ask the first question? Can members of the panel ask probing questions to get more information about the candidate’s answer? Who will be the timekeeper? How will the candidates be rated?

Make sure the panel members are comfortable. Provide water, coffee and other refreshments, especially if the panel is going to sit for more than two hours. Provide pens and writing paper, and copies of all the candidate resumes, applications and other material completed by the applicant in the course of the assessment process.

After each candidate, listen to what your other panel members have to say. In one panel, a female interviewer noted that the candidate never made eye contact with any of the women in the room. Another panelist noted that the candidate frequently intruded in other people’s body space.

By having a diverse group of people sit on an interview panel, you get a well rounded picture of your candidate and his/her suitability for the position.

Dindy Robinson is Director of Compensation at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.

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