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Panel Interview Fears

Have you ever had a panel interview? It’s one of those job interviews where you show up and instead of one person interviewing you, three do. Or, if you’re really lucky, five or six will. I’m not talking about a situation where you have one interview after another. I’m talking about a single interview where you’re facing off with multiple people at a time around a single table.

If you interview people, you should know that panel interviews are scary for the candidate. I’ve seen this at all levels, from right out of college to senior executives. Very rarely are people comfortable with this kind of interview format. If your goal is to be welcoming, avoid this interview setup if you can. Or, provide as much information to the candidate ahead of time so they can prepare.

If you’re the candidate, you should know that the company doesn’t intend to scare you. They have probably scheduled you for a panel interview because it takes less time. They can interview you all at once. Also, a panel interview is not a place where you’ll find yourself attacked by the panelists.

In your mind, you may picture an adversarial meeting at work. It’s you versus a team of people when something goes wrong. But, that should not be the case in a panel interview. You don’t yet work at the company and should be welcoming and kind.

In a panel interview, it’s very likely that each person will have one or two predetermined questions they will ask you. And, it’s also possible that not everyone in the room is excited to be there. They may also be nervous. Or, they may be doing the hiring manager a favor by participating in the panel.

Before you have a panel interview, ask the human resources recruiter for an agenda of the people you’ll be talking to. Use that agenda to research each person, so you’ll be prepared in advance. During the interview, stay calm and be friendly. Treat each person equally and with respect. Be sure to shake the hand of everyone you meet.

Afterward, send each person a thank you email. Don’t send one mass email. Send a separate email for each individual person. If you can, customize each email to reflect something that aligns to the person’s background or something they honed in on during your interview. But, keep it positive. Don’t use the emails to apologize. Thank the person for their time and keep going. If you’re feeling especially interested in a role, take the time to also send a hand written thank you note to every person. If you do this, you’ll very likely be the only candidate who did – and it will make you stand out in a good way.

Remember: every interview is practice for the next one. And, you don’t have to answer every question perfectly to get a job offer.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Hiring by Consensus

The job market is the best it has been in 50 years. You’ve heard that on the news. And, companies are struggling to find good candidates. There aren’t as many people available for work as there used to be. In other words, because the market is doing well, companies are hiring more. Because companies are hiring more, job seekers have more options.

The ironic thing is, when a company finds a great candidate that they want to hire, they’re still interviewing that candidate like it’s 2001. The company is putting the candidate through the paces, assuming they’re in control. One of the ways they do this is by hiring by consensus.

In the ‘good old days’ of job seeking, you might have three interviews. The first would be a phone screen with human resources. Then, you would have a phone interview with the hiring manager. Last, you would come in person and meet the hiring manager and a few others in a panel interview.

For many jobs, the days of a straight forward interview process are gone. Many hiring managers haven’t hired new employees in so long that they’re nervous to make the wrong choice. They don’t want it to be their fault if the candidate doesn’t work out.

So, what does the hiring manager do? Unfortunately, they force the candidate to meet everyone they can create a calendar invitation for. Recently, I have seen many, many job openings where the job seeker is interviewed ten to fifteen times for one job. They are interviewed by the boss, HR, the boss’ boss, the boss’ peers, the job seeker’s peers, the job seeker’s future employees, and sometimes even the person who left the job.

Fifteen job interviews doesn’t result in someone unearthing some important piece of information about a candidate. It is a way for the hiring manager to cover themselves in case the person doesn’t work out.

If you are a job seeker and you find yourself being asked to interview repeatedly for one job, you have a decision to make. You can refuse to do so many interviews. If you do this, you can rest assured that you will not receive a job offer. It doesn’t matter that the company is being both unreasonable and disrespectful of your time. It’s their process. If you want to play ball, it has to be by their rules. So, if you do want the job, you’ll have to go through the process.

But, I would take note of this disturbing trend. If you find yourself interviewing with a boss who is putting you through this experience, it is very likely a reflection on them. They may be a weak leader who is unwilling to accept responsibility for their own actions. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person and you may even want to take the job. But, if you find yourself being hired by consensus, pay attention.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Would you hire you?

When it comes to being interviewed, there are a few rules that must not be broken. You must show up on time, every time. You must be prepared. You must look nice. You should have studied the job description. You should have learned about the company – inside and out. You should have extra copies of your resume. You need business cards. After the interview, you must send thank you notes.

As a job seeker, if you break any of these rules, you’re out. Showing up ten minutes late for an interview is a likely death sentence in the world of interviewing. It’s game over. You just cannot break these rules.

However, on the flip side, we don’t ask for the same level of preparation or commitment from the interviewer. It may be because the interviewer is essentially the buyer. The job seeker is simply what’s up for purchase. Job seekers are like a sweater, and almost disposable. As a hiring manager, we want to try a few sweaters on and see which one seems to fit. We don’t have to think about how the sweater’s feelings.

I have seen countless interviews where the interviewer is fifteen, twenty, thirty, and over sixty minutes late. There is an expectation that if the job seeker wants the job, they will be waiting patiently when the interviewer arrives. The interviewer holds the cards. The question becomes, “Do you want the job or not?”

Not only does the interviewer often arrive late – they are also often unprepared. They come without a copy of the job seeker’s resume. In fact, they haven’t read it. They may not even be sure which job the candidate is interviewing for.

So, let me ask you – if the tables were reversed, would you hire someone who was late and unprepared? Would you hire someone who didn’t know what they were interviewing for? Me either.

One of the biggest topics in the hiring world this year is ghosting. Candidates are skipping interviews. They aren’t showing up on their first day. They’re disappearing without a word.

I’m sure there are many reasons ghosting is happening. But, I have to wonder if the unequal relationship presented during the hiring process has anything to do with it.

It goes back to treating others the way you want to be treated. When you’re interviewing a candidate, take the time to think – if the candidate treated me the way I’m treating them, would I hire them?

This rule also applies to questions asked during the interview. So often, I have observed the interviewer ask the candidate rude and demeaning questions. They sometimes take on an adversarial tone. How would you feel if the candidate spoke to you in this way? Would they be your first choice?

Although it is sometimes less clear, a candidate is (and should be) evaluating the company just as much as the company is evaluating them.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

190 | Software Engineering Interviews | Sam Gavis-Hughson, Byte by Byte

Episode 190 is live! This week, we talk with Sam Gavis-Hughson in New York City.

Sam is an interview coach at his company, Byte by Byte, that specializes in helping software engineers excel at technical interviews.

On today’s episode, Sam shares:

  • What is the hardest part about interviewing for a computer programming job
  • How to prepare for a coding interview
  • How important it is to be up to date on technology lingo

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Sam’s work, check out his company website at byte-by-byte.com or his book Dynamic Programming for Interviews

Thank YOU for listening! If you’ve enjoyed the show today, don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts! When you subscribe, it helps to make the show easier for other job seekers to find the show!

189 | Get That Job! | Thea Kelley, Interview Coach and Author

Episode 189 is live!

This week, we talk with Thea Kelley in San Francisco, California.

Thea is an Interview Coach, and author of the book Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview.

On today’s episode, Thea shares:

  • What makes up a good elevator pitch when we are asked about ourselves
  • How to handle inappropriate or illegal questions
  • What to know regarding body language and attire

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Thea’s work, you can find her book on Amazon: Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview.

Thank YOU for listening! If you’ve enjoyed the show today, don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts! When you subscribe, it helps to make the show easier for other job seekers to find the show!

What will you be relocating when you move?

When it comes to job interviews, there are certain questions that are off limits. Not only are they a faux pas, they are against the law.

One illegal question is around a person’s family status. Employers are not allowed to ask a candidate if they are married. They are also not allowed to ask whether or not the person has children.

The reasons behind these rules are simple. There’s room for unequal treatment between those with children and spouses and those without. Honestly, the judgement can go both ways. One employer may prefer someone with no children who is (in theory) able to work long hours. Another employer may prefer someone with children because it (in theory) indicates that the person is stable and unlikely to switch jobs quickly. Someone with a house and kids has to put food on the table, even when they’re unhappy.

Most people know these questions aren’t allowed. But, many employers ask anyway. So, how can an employer manage to ask such an obviously illegal question? Well, it’s easier than you might think.

Very often, they work it into a question about relocation. The question should be, “Are you willing to relocate to our city for this opportunity?” The answer should be, “Yes, I am willing to relocate to your city.” The creative version of this question is, “When it comes to relocation, what do you need to relocate? Will you be relocating with a spouse and children?”

Sneaky, right?

Phrased in this way, the question almost sounds necessary. But, why? Why does it matter if someone has to relocate their children? It doesn’t. Perhaps this may impact when the person is available to relocate. But, if this is a concern, the new question might be, “Are you available to relocate by July 15th?” This answers the employer’s question without stepping over the line.

Sometimes, an employer will justify this question by saying they’re trying to get to know the candidate better. Maybe they are. But, there’s also a possibility that the answer to the question (whatever it is) may create some level of bias against the candidate.

This is why this question is not allowed – to prevent bias and to keep the playing field level. Whether or not a person has children or a spouse, the most important thing is that they show up on time and that they do a great job. People can succeed or fail at this, regardless of their family status.

If you’re a hiring manager, take note. Your candidates do notice when you ask illegal questions. Just because they answer them doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention.

If you’re a job seeker, you’re not alone. These questions are asked more than anyone would like to admit. There isn’t a perfect answer to uncomfortable questions. But, pay attention to the way you felt when you were asked. It may be an indication of what’s ahead.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach