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The Complete Guide to Ace Panel Interviews

Posted on 
February 26, 2022
|
by 
Team Interview Kickstart

Even experienced engineers can get nervous during panel interviews. These interviews usually involve you appearing in front of a panel of three or more interviewers who will primarily evaluate your responses to behavioral and situational questions.

Panel interviews, which take place during on-site interviews, are an important part of the FAANG hiring process. Given the high level of competition, panel interviews can be crucial in swaying hiring decisions in your favor. 

You can tackle difficult panel interview questions and land your dream job by following some expert panel interview advice. If you're wondering how to prepare for a panel interview and what panel interview tips to use, this article will tell you everything you need to know.

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready!

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Let’s go ahead and look at how to prepare for a panel interview. We’ll also focus on some panel interview tips and help you understand commonly asked panel interview questions and answers.

Here’s what we’ll discuss in this article:

  • Why Do Companies Have Panel Interviews?
  • Common Panel Interview Questions and Answers
  • Sample Panel Interview Questions for Practice
  • What Questions Should You Ask in a Panel Interview?
  • How to Perform Well in Your Panel Interview
  • FAQs on Panel Interview Preparation

Why Do Companies Have Panel Interviews?

Companies conduct panel interviews as an interviewing tactic for a bunch of reasons. However, the main reason is to allow different company stakeholders to make a common hiring decision after careful, collective evaluation.

Panel interviews are largely responsible for making good hiring decisions, mostly because multiple senior members come together to assess candidates. Here’s why companies prefer panel interviews:

  1. To see your reaction in a stressful environment.
  2. To see your ability to build rapport with the panel members
  3. To observe your responses to rapid-fire questions
  4. To see how you respond to questions from different panel members.

Common Panel Interview Questions and Answers

Before we look at some noteworthy panel interview tips, we’ll look at some commonly-asked panel interview questions along with sample answers. 

Recruiters in panel interviews typically ask behavioral and situational interview questions. These questions can be tricky to answer if you’re not prepared enough. Specifically, practicing responses to commonly asked panel interview questions should be an essential element of your prep strategy.  

Let’s go ahead and look at some popular panel interview questions along with sample answers. 

Panel Interview Questions Asked at Top Companies

Panel interview questions that you can expect at FAANG+ interviews are majorly based on the company’s culture, workplace situations, and career goals. 

  1. Tell us briefly about yourself.
  2. How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
  3. Why do you want to work for this company?
  4. Tell us about the most challenging project that you worked on.
  5. Why should we hire you for this position?

How to Answer Panel Interview Interview Questions

Here’s are some sample answers to help you prepare for panel interview questions.

Q1. Tell us briefly about yourself

This is one of the most commonly asked panel interview questions. Answering this question correctly is key to making a great impression with panel members. Let’s look at a sample answer to give you an idea of how best to answer this question.

“I’ve been working as a software developer for four years now. My journey in development has been exciting and stimulating. As a backend developer, I’ve been involved in scalable coding applications and managing server requirements for the application. 

Backend development is a collaborative process and involves getting inputs from multiple stakeholders. I’ve understood that Teamwork and feedback implementation are key areas to succeed in this role. With the professional and personal values that I’ve been able to absorb through my role, I feel I’d be a great value-addition to this organization.”  

Recommended Reading: How to Pitch Yourself as a Must-Hire at a FAANG Interview

Q2. How do you handle conflict in the workplace?

Handling workplace conflicts is an important interpersonal skill. Recruiters often like to ask this question at panel interviews. Let’s go ahead and look at a sample answer for this important panel interview question. 

Backend development involves taking inputs and opinions from multiple stakeholders. When there are multiple stakeholders, there can be many different perspectives, which can sometimes lead to conflict from my personal experience. 

“The best way to resolve conflicts in the workplace is through dialogue. Everybody’s opinions must be respected when working as a team. This also builds strong bonds and improves individual ownership amongst team players. Talking it out when disagreements arise is key to resolving workplace conflicts.“

Q3. Why do you want to work for this company?

This is another crucial panel interview question often asked at big companies. Companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Netflix, among others, ask almost every candidate this question at panel interviews. Let’s look at a sample answer to this popular panel interview question. 

“I’m keen to work at Google because of its incredible culture and stimulating work environment. I’ve really been fascinated by the magnitude of projects that Google has undertaken and how every single project has had a deep impact on mankind’s interaction with technology. 

Google’s inclusive company culture that deeply values excellence, integrity, and hard work, resonates deeply with me. I believe this opportunity can be transformative as far as my career is concerned and the impact I can create.”   

Recommended Reading: How to Answer the “Why Microsoft?” Interview Question

Q4. Tell us about the most challenging project you’ve worked on in the past? What did you learn from it?

The type of projects you’ve worked on in the past can be decisive in influencing a hiring decision in your favor. While answering this popular panel interview question, clearly elucidating what the project entailed and how you performed your duties are key things to consider. Let’s go ahead and look at a sample answer to this panel interview question.  

“In my previous company, I was designated as an important stakeholder for a backend project that involved scaling up our business application. The responsibilities were immense. From collaborating with multiple teams to constantly giving updates to important stakeholders and making tons for reports, not to forget the innumerable lines of code involved, the project was significantly challenging right from the start. 

I knew that I had to take it upon myself and really put in the hours to deliver the required results. There were days when I worked overtime to get things done. Although it did take a bit of a toll on me, the result was phenomenal, with the project receiving great praise and appreciation from the client, seniors, and coworkers alike.”  

Recommended Reading: How to List Projects on a Software Engineer Resume

Q5. Why Should We hire you?

This again is one of the most common panel interview questions asked at FAANG+ interviews. Answering this question crisply and succinctly is important to swing the hiring decision in your favor. Here’s a sample answer to give you direction on how to answer this question. 

I’ve been a backend developer for four years now, and I’ve been extremely enthusiastic ever since I worked on my first backend project. I’ve been able to collaborate closely with multiple stakeholders, understand their inputs and perspectives, and make every attempt to include critical pointers in my work. 

“I bring passion, hard work, integrity, ownership, and enthusiasm to whatever I do. I’m someone who’d do whatever it takes to completely fulfill the responsibilities tied to my role. If I’m given the opportunity, I’m certain of giving my best every day and working tirelessly towards the company’s goals and my personal goals too.”

Sample Panel Interview Questions for Practice

Panel interviews are often based on behavioral questions. In FAANG panel interviews, knowing how to answer behavioral interview questions effectively is extremely important. For senior developer positions, even systems design interviews can be panel interviews with three or more interviewers. 

Let’s look at panel interview questions on systems design and behavioral psychology. Remember to adopt the panel interview tips to ace these rounds at technical interviews.

  1. Tell us about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker over a work-related issue.
  2. How do you keep unnecessary distractions at bay during work?
  3. How do you manage stressful situations in your personal and professional life?
  4. What is your idea of a good work-life balance?
  5. Tell us about a time when you failed to meet the deadline for a project.
  6. Why should we hire you?
  7. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  8. Why did you want to switch jobs?

The above panel interview questions and answers will give you an idea about what to expect at panel interviews.

Recommended Reading: 9 Behavioral Questions for Your Next Big Interview

What Questions Should You Ask in a Panel Interview?

Asking the right questions is as important as answering panel interview questions correctly. Let’s look at some panel interview questions to ask in a panel interview. 

  • What are the next steps involved in the process?
  • Has your role changed since you joined the organization?
  • What has been your biggest victory working in this organization?
  • What would success in this role look like in 90 days?
  • What are some things that can make a person successful in this role?

How to Perform Well in Your Panel Interview

In this section, we’ll look at some noteworthy Panel interview tips to help you ace your next panel interviews.

  • Make eye contact while interacting with the panel members and smile often. This is one of the most crucial panel interview tips to make a good impression with the panel members.
  • Practice answers to behavioral interview questions, as panel interviews usually happen during the behavioral round of on-site interviews.
  • Use the STAR method to answer panel interview questions. STAR stands for - Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Using the STAR method while answering panel interview questions is one of the most crucial panel interview tips. By doing so, you give interviewers sufficient clarity while answering the question.
  • Pause for a few moments before you begin answering any panel members' questions. Especially during rapid-fire rounds, pause for a second before you answer.
  • Prepare specifically for panel interviews by spending at least a week understanding how top companies conduct these interviews. This is a critical panel interview tip that a lot of candidates ignore.
  • Ask recruiters the right questions at the end of the interview. This is one of the most important panel interview tips to keep in mind.

Adopting these tips will help with your panel interview preparation by telling you exactly how to prepare for panel interviews.

Recommended Reading: 10 Tips for Radical Interview Preparation

FAQs on Panel Interviews

Q1. What are panel interviews?

Panel interviews are interviews that generally have three or more interviewers conducting the interview.  

Q2. What things should you keep in mind while giving panel interviews?

While giving panel interviews, make sure to - i) address all the panel members ii) smile when you respond iii) pause for a second or two before you speak iv) have questions for the panel members. 

Q3. What is the main purpose of panel interviews?

The main purpose of panel interviews is to have key decision-makers of the organization make a collective hiring decision. This allows the candidate to be evaluated by multiple interviewers. When important stakeholders make a collective decision, it usually tends to positively impact the organization.  

Q4. What questions should you not ask panel members during a panel interview?

You shouldn’t ask panel members these questions: i) what is the compensation associated with this role? ii) Does this role offer me enough flexibility? iii) Are my work hours fixed?

Q5. What are the best questions to ask panel members during a panel interview?

Some good questions to ask panel members include - i) What is your role in the organization? ii) Has your role changed since you first joined this organization? iii) Does this role permit a good work-life balance? iv) What is your favorite part about working in this company?

Up for Your Next Technical Interview

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At Interview Kickstart, we’ve trained over 10,000 engineers to land lucrative offers at the biggest tech companies. Our instructors, who are FAANG hiring managers, know what it takes to nail tough tech interviews at top technology companies.

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