It can seem a little daunting to go into a panel interview, where several people from different roles and departments are quizzing you to discover if your skills and experience match the position. As a candidate, you’ll do a lot better if you take the time to learn a little bit more about each of the people you’ll be speaking with. Doing the research ahead of time will allow you to tailor your answers to each individual’s area of concern. It also helps you deal with nervousness, since you can humanize the panel members by getting to know them better before you meet face to face.
Source # 1: The Company Website
Take the time to learn about the company in general, and then drill down into each of the departments that you’ll be interacting with. Some of this may be available on the company website. Check out the People or Team page to read the profiles of each panel interviewer. But don’t stop there: check out the Media page to read press releases and see if any of your interviewers are quoted or referenced.
Source # 2: Google It!
Now that you know where the interviewers fit in within the company structure, you can Google them to see what comes up. Do a search for John Smith at Nationwide Insurance, for example, to see what you find. You may find photos of your interviewer representing the company at business or charity events, or articles in the news where they’ve been quoted.
Source #3: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the obvious choice for information, and it’s even more useful if you dig deep and look for things you have in common with your panel interviewers. Look through each section of their profiles to see what groups they belong to, what articles they like, and what kinds of things they share. People often You can find nuggets of information here that will set you above the crowd when you show you’ve really researched their company.
Source #4: Social Media
It can be worthwhile to look through public profiles that your interviewers have published, just to get to know them a little better. Facebook profiles, Pinterest pages or Instagram profiles can be interesting ways to identify culture fit, to see if the people at the company are the type of people you’d like to spend time with. Knowing a little bit about the people you’ll be meeting can help you converse intelligently about things that are important to them. For example, they may post something that says they hate the New York Times, so you wouldn’t want to go into the interview quoting that newspaper. Remember, the interview is a two-way street, and it’s in your best interest to know as much as possible about your potential future coworkers, so you can make a good decision when it comes to accepting the position.
If doing all this research seems a little like spying to you, remember that anything that appears on the internet is publicly available information, and your interviewer is likely to know that it’s out there. You might find some personal information about their families, hobbies and favorite sports teams. Obviously you won’t want to bring up these things in the interview, but it can help you feel more comfortable about knowing the whole person that you’re meeting, instead of going in blind. Making a connection with each person as an individual will be so much easier when you’ve learned about them in advance. Putting a face with a name before you get there will help you remember each person’s name and role in the company, and to talk intelligently about things that matter to them. So next time you go in for a panel interview, do your research, and you’ll be sure to impress.