Call centers conduct one-on-one interviews of job candidates as a standard process. Panel interviews can be effective as a supplement. While the two are similar, a panel interview can draw out candidate qualities that a one-on-one interview may not. The 5 steps for a successful panel interview follow:
Step 1. Prepare for the Panel Interviews.
- Select two to three interviewers who will pose questions to five to eight candidates during the same session.
- Create the list of questions that will be posed to the candidates. These questions should be designed to create dialogue within the group. See Tip 3 for examples.
- Determine which interviewer will take on the role of scribe.
- The scribe records the most notable comments during the interview. This is important later, when your team discusses and evaluates the candidates and their answers following the panel interview.
- Each interviewer can still take notes to record their own impressions during the session as each may perceive comments in a different way.
Step 2. Make Introductions.
- At the start of the panel interview, explain the agenda to the candidates, since the format may be new to the participants.
- Introduce the interviewers. Explain the positions, titles and roles that the interviewers hold within the company.
- Give a brief introduction of the company and the positions for which you are hiring.
- Have the candidates state their name and ask them to identify their best attribute in front of the group as a way to break the ice.
Step 3. Conduct the Interview.
- Each interviewer should take turns asking the candidate questions.
- Pose open-ended questions to create group discussions, such as:
- When I say Customer Service, what comes to mind?
- How would your last supervisor describe you in three words?
- Was there a policy at your previous job that you did not agree with? How did you handle that?
Step 4. Wind Down the Session.
- Give the candidates an opportunity to ask questions.
- Explain the follow-up process and timing.
- Thank the candidates for their contributions.
Step 5. Select Candidates.
- Interviewers should meet to discuss selections and placement of the candidates.
- Here are some questions that we discuss when placing candidates:
- Are there certain candidates that fit perfectly in certain areas of your business?
- Is there any candidate who stands out from the rest?
- How will each candidate fit in with the company culture?
- How are the communication skills of each of the candidates?
- What is the participation level of each of the candidates?
- Did the candidates listen to the interviewers and other candidates as they spoke?
Panel or group interviews can give contact center managers another tool to supplement their accounts with exceptional Brand Specialists. They give interviewers the opportunity to see candidates functioning in a group or team setting, which is the likely environment for their work. These are the steps for the framework of panel interview best practices.