VidCruiter Logo
panel interview guide hero mobile

How to successfully plan and conduct a panel interview

Panel interviews are when two or more people interview a single job candidate at the same time. They are one of the most effective ways to interview and can be designed to test for any type of candidate selection criteria. When paired with structured interview methods, panel interviews introduce diverse perspectives, improve candidate experience, minimize bias, and improve the quality of your hires. 

Read on to explore best practices for planning and conducting panel interviews from the employer’s perspective and learn ways candidates can prepare to be interviewed by a panel.

What is a panel interview?

The common panel interview definition refers to when multiple panelists interview a single candidate simultaneously. Interview panelists may include potential supervisors, coworkers, subordinates, HR staff, and other decision-makers. Subject matter experts may be included to add additional perspective on the candidate’s knowledge or credentials. Panel interviews improve efficiency by bringing people related to the role together to hear the same questions and answers in real-time.

It is important to distinguish the panel interview meaning from the group interview, where multiple candidates are interviewed at the same time. Group interviews are often used to screen a large number of people at one time in a high-volume hiring situation, and are helpful for assessing interpersonal dynamics and other soft skills. Group interviews only have one interviewer, whereas panel interviews allow for multiple evaluation perspectives.

Panel interviews are standard in many industries, including health care, higher education, government, and corporations. Regardless of the industry or role, panel interviews can be incorporated into any hiring process, and they are strongly recommended in situations where the cost of making a poor hiring decision is significant.

When paired with a structured interview methodology, panel interviews can help your organization mitigate bias in the hiring process and confidently select the strongest candidate for the job.

What is a structured panel interview?

Structured panel interviews bring together two tested interview tools: structured interview methodology, as outlined by the Office of Personnel Management, and panel interviews.

What are one-on-one interviews used for?

One-on-interviews can be a valuable part of your hiring process, alongside panel interviews. Here are four things one-on-one interviews are ideal for:

  • Conducting a skills assessment with a subject matter expert.
  • Qualifying applicants between the screening and panel interview selection steps in complex hiring processes.
  • Creating a shortlist of the top candidates. It’s more efficient to panel interview shortlisted candidates in order to identify who to hire.
  • Screening! Doing a panel interview on pre-screened candidates would be much more resource intensive.
One-on-one interviews

Structured vs. unstructured interviews

The main difference between structured and unstructured interviews is standardization. Structured interviews follow a consistent process, whereas unstructured interviews are dynamic and spontaneous.

In unstructured interviews, the questions may vary among the interviewees. They are flexible by nature and rely on spontaneity during the panel interview. The evaluation after the interview is also much more informal — think jot notes.

Structured interviews typically follow an interview guide that is based on a job analysis. The panel interview guide includes the questions and probing questions to ask, the evaluation framework, the number of interviews, the sequence of interviews, who the interview panelists are, the length of the interview, and what assessments or skills tests will be required. Everything should be documented for compliance.

While structured interviews may seem like a lot of work, the familiar professional structure improves candidate experience, minimizes bias, and results in choosing the most qualified candidate for the job.

Most hiring processes in North America, according to Interview Genie, lie somewhere in the spectrum between fully structured and unstructured but tend to favor an unstructured, informal format.

To improve your organization’s hiring efficiency, adding structured panel interviews to your strategy is a great place to start.

Panel interviews pros and cons

Structured panel interviews offer many advantages — but don’t take our word for it — a 2019 Bowling Green State University report on structured interviews summarizes the benefits well:

Quote icon

“There is ample evidence that interviews are more reliable, valid, and fair when interviewers prepare questions ahead of time and base them on a job analysis, ask more sophisticated questions (e.g., past-oriented or situational), ask the same questions to all applicants, in the same order, and without prompts, use a panel of interviewers, and rate each response using anchored rating scales.”

Nicolas Roulin

Personnel Assessment and Decisions, vol. 5, no. 2

Structured panel interviews offer the following advantages:

Improved objectivity

The human mind makes shortcuts and assumptions to speed up decision-making. Bias is an unfortunate byproduct of our intellect. Biases are something we can’t control (because they’re unconscious) but we can be aware of them and take action against them. While bias can’t be removed from the hiring process entirely, structured interviewing can help address the impact of bias on hiring decisions

In an individual interview, according to Harvard Business Review, it’s much easier for unconscious bias to seep into the process, whether in the questions asked or the impressions shared.

Identity characteristics such as age, gender identity, race, weight, sexuality, or religion may come out if a candidate shares those personal traits during an interview. If an interviewer has conscious or unconscious biases, it may shape their candidate evaluation.

By having a diverse panel of interviewers participating in the interviews, the risk of bias having any significant impact dissipates significantly. Having people from various backgrounds, identities, and positions on an interview panel will give each candidate a more balanced overall assessment.

Predicts performance

Research conducted by McGill University shows that structured interviews improve accuracy and objectivity, making them a strong indicator of successful job performance. Structured interviews have the highest predictive validity (Journal of Applied Psychology) when compared to other tested interview tools like work sample tests or empirical biodata.

Consistency and depth

Structured panel interviews maintain a high level of control and consistency over every aspect of the process. In a well-design panel interview process, there should be no variability other than the candidate’s answers. This means the same interview panelist asks the candidate the same questions, in the same order, with the same probing questions, and the same amount of time allotted to each interview. The experience is the same for every candidate, so everyone can be treated equally, and interviewers can focus on evaluating their responses.

In panel interviews, you can be sure candidates have an opportunity to share their perspectives and answer questions that really matter. When it comes time to assess the pool of interviewees, this consistency adds an invaluable component to the decision-making.

Having many experiences, roles, and perspectives on the interview panel makes you more likely to have more thorough questioning. Each member will bring their experiences and expectations for the position to the process. As a result, the panel asks better questions.

Have consistency and depth with your structured panel interviews

Standardized, deliberate processes

Developing processes for panel interviews, then consistently applying them, creates a standardized approach to hiring that has multiple dividends. It ensures that people come into the organization with similar hiring processes. It also allows for employees, over time, to become familiar with the hiring process and develop discipline and consistency in their approach, whether they are leading a panel or a member.

The structured panel interview process is designed to help hiring teams and managers make better decisions about candidates.

Increased organizational efficiency

Once it’s all laid out, structured panel interviews follow an interview guide, so they take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. The only thing that changes is the candidate’s responses. By removing the variability, you can create familiarity and achieve higher efficiency for the process itself. Once the panel interviewers have the process dialed in, they can start focusing on what questions or elements are the best predictors of strong candidates.

In addition to being able to optimize the process, interview panelists hear the same questions and answers at the same time. The result is a process that collects more ratings and data points from a single interview session than you would in a one-on-one interview.

Increased candidate efficiency

Panel interviews can replace multiple one-on-one interview steps, saving the candidate time and trips to your workplace (or virtual sessions).

Panel interviews allow candidates to see the dynamics between some of their coworkers and organizational leaders and gauge reactions from multiple perspectives.

Assessment of team dynamics

A panel interview is very different from day-to-day work within an organization. However, it is still an excellent way to gain insights into how candidates hold themselves in a group setting.

Roles often require the ability to communicate and work as a team. Employees must interact with colleagues across titles, positions, and power dynamics. A panel interview can show how well a candidate performs in such scenarios and provide a better sense of how they work in groups and read the room.

Preview the job and culture

During interviews, interviewers often discuss the job and the corporate culture, providing candidates with insights and overviews of both the work and the workplace. Candidates can gain insights from multiple perspectives, including people outside the department they are interviewing for.

The lead interviewer can talk about the brand, and panelists should all prepare to share their perspectives on the company culture or what they enjoy about working at the company, as it’s a common question for job seekers to ask in panel interviews. At the same time, this allows panelists to see how candidates respond to hearing about the company and brand. Are they impressed? Surprised? Curious?

Legal defensibility

Structured panel interviews make it much easier to maintain interview compliance, especially when done digitally. Well-documented and followed processes help reduce the risk of damaging legal actions and discrimination complaints. Keep all your interview information secure, and maintain accurate candidate evaluation records as evidence that you conducted a fair hiring process. Implementing structured panel interviews is part of supporting hiring managers, as their main jobs do not typically require them to have expertise in best practices for interviewing. 

Even if it’s an unstructured panel interview, there is a lower potential of a candidate making an allegation against an individual since multiple people are present, as sometimes happens when all interviews are one-on-ones.

Maintain interview compliance with structured panel interviews

Addressing common concerns about panel interviews

A 2002 article in Public Personnel Management said, “after over 50 years of research, the panel interview remains an important yet controversial tool for personnel selection.” Like any interview method, along with the pros, there are some cons. Awareness of common pitfalls and how to address them head-on is key to minimizing the potential downsides of conducting panel interviews.

Concern #1: Panel interviews tend to waste more time than they save

Time and productivity are top of mind for every recruiter. As mentioned in the section above, structured panel interviews do increase organizational efficiency, but there’s a necessary investment of time upfront. This will be outlined in the next section

There’s also the simple fact that if five people each spend an hour participating in a panel interview, that is five hours compared to one hour. If it were a one-on-one interview, it would be one hour spent by one person in the organization.

Is this wasted time? Certainly not. It’s a valuable and justifiable investment based on the benefits. Panel interviews save the organization and the candidate time by creating efficiency.

The more panelists you add, the more schedules you have to work around to book interviews. Panels with more than five members could significantly slow down the process.

Concern #2: Panel interviews can be intimidating for the candidate

Imagine sitting by yourself with anywhere from two to eight people observing you from across a table. Even just imagining it is enough to give some people sweaty palms. Interviews, in general, are stressful for applicants. Being empathetic and considerate of the interviewee’s feelings, especially if you’re hiring for an entry-level position, is crucial.

Do not turn a panel interview into a stress test for the candidate. If you want to see how they handle pressure, panel interviews are rarely the most accurate way to assess how they’d use their skills in a stressful job-specific situation.

Tips to make the interview less stressful for the applicant:

  • Let candidates know it’s a panel interview in advance, so there are no surprises.
  • Set a friendly, welcoming tone at the top of the interview to put them at ease.
  • Provide them with the interview panelists’ names so they can do their research.

Concern #3: Panel interviews can lead to groupthink

Some say panel interviews don’t work because they can lead to groupthink and other forms of bias rather than introducing multiple perspectives. While this can be true, you can take action to stop this from happening.

Limit sidebar conversations:

Ask panelists to withhold from chatting about feedback during the panel interview. If you are doing a virtual panel interview, apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams chat should be closed during the interview so you can stay focused on the task at hand. It can be distracting for the panelists and potentially the candidate if they can tell you are occupied.

Have each panelist evaluate the candidate individually:

Ask each interviewer to rate the candidate’s answer before moving on to the next question. If you use rating software, set your system so panelists have to submit their assessments before closing the video interview window.

How to develop panel interview questions and process

An effective process starts with effective planning. The hiring manager, often in partnership with an HR staff member, is responsible for defining the parameters of the position being hired for. Once the need for a panel interview has been identified, the next step is doing a job analysis. 

The analysis provides key position knowledge, outlined here by SHRM, and informs who should be on the panel, their roles, the interview format, the panel interview questions, the interview logistics, and more. Putting in the work to create a structured interview process (that includes a panel interview) will give you the best chances of hiring once and hiring well.

Conduct a job analysis

A job analysis informs everything, which is why it’s the first step. Consider using a position analysis questionnaire, like this one from the University Of Texas, or the critical incident technique to collect information about the role. The purpose of doing this is to determine what behaviors and characteristics contribute to the success or demise of performance so that you can build your candidate selection criteria around the findings.

Once you understand the responsibilities and determine the competencies, skills, certifications, and attributes you’re looking for, you can write the job description, select the panel interview questions, and design the interview process.

Competencies are the “how” of a job

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, competencies are “a measurable pattern of knowledge skills, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics that an individual needs to perform work roles.”

Search the type of job you’re looking to hire for in the O*NET OnLine database to find examples of competencies for specific roles.

Job competencies

Develop interview format and plan

The interview format sets the tone and drives outcomes for the entire process.

Based on the job analysis, you need to determine:

  • How many interviews need to be conducted
  • The types of interviews and what order they go in
  • Who are the interview panelists
  • What skills assessments need to be done

Structured panel interviews are useful and relevant for the majority of interview processes, but some stages may be best served by other formats, like screening interviews or skills assessments.

With a clearly defined process, you can ensure that panelists and candidates understand what is happening, when, and why. This step is also when you determine how to conduct the interview(s).

Are you opting for in-person or video interviewing? Are you offering different options?
Will there be multiple panels during a day-long interview?
Are you doing a single panel that involves a large group of interviewers?
Will all the interviews occur in one day or over a few days to prevent interview fatigue?
Are there other components to the visit, such as a facilities tour or a discussion with HR about benefits and timing?

Determine panel composition

A critical task is determining how many people and who serves on the interview panel. Diversity – in all forms – is essential. In some cases, corporate policies may indicate who should be present for specific panels. The job analysis can also add specific criteria to interview panel members. All of this should be considered to compose diverse interview panels.
Consider the following factors when putting together your panel:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Cognitive diversity
  • Values
  • Personality
  • Seniority with the organization
  • Tenure with the organization
  • Total work experience
  • Education and training

In addition, consider the positions of people on the interview panel. Usually, the direct supervisor, or a designee, leads the panel. You could also include others who will engage with the successful candidate as peers or direct reports. Staff in other departments who would interact with them regularly should also be considered.

When selecting panelists, determine if they are willing, able to follow instructions, available, mindful, and reliable. If panelists don’t want to be there or don’t show up, that’s not beneficial for your process or the candidate.

Within a panel interview, these are the roles that need to be considered.

Lead interviewer

This is the hiring manager or their designee. They are responsible for greeting candidates, explaining the structure, and ensuring that the candidate is clear on expectations and the process.


Some panels use an experienced and trained facilitator in the structured panel process. The facilitator may not be the most senior person on the panel. They are there to ensure a good flow to the interview, and that no panel member dominates the conversation.

Consistency and Compliance Monitor

This role is crucial to ensure that all candidates get treated equitably and that the panel complies with guidelines and legal obligations throughout the process. The monitor may play a role in panel training, explaining what to ask and how to respond to specific question types.

Records Keeper

The records keeper ensures that all records from the interview (but not the evaluations) are managed, maintained, collected, stored, and coordinated. These records may include resumes, job applications, interview schedules, and panel meeting agendas.

Subject Matter Expert

Many panels have members with a particular expertise or niche role in the organization that is salient to the position. These members bring their perspectives and insights to the questions and candidate answers.

Job competencies

Develop panel interview questions

Once you’ve made the list of competencies, you can work on developing your questions. In panel interviews, you want people with multiple points of view asking questions related to the core competencies identified in the job analysis. The purpose of panel interviews, generally speaking, is to find candidates who the panel could realistically work with. The only way to find the right person is to be precise and ask the right questions.

There are several types of panel interview questions to consider.


Competency-based panel interview questions aim to evaluate candidates’ strengths and weaknesses and see how they pair up with the critical competencies required for the role.

Competency-based questions are good to ask in panel interviews because they allow the panel to identify early on if candidates have leadership potential or demonstrate values that align with your company values. They are also effective at evaluating traits like teamwork, decision-making, and communication.

Sample questions include:

  • Describe a time when you had to compromise to work more effectively with a coworker.
  • Describe a time when you received negative feedback and how you responded.
  • What is a challenging decision you’ve made at work? Why was it challenging for you, and how did you decide?

Behavioral-based panel interview questions focus on past experiences and situations. It’s important to ask behavioral-based questions in panel interviews because they can be a good way to assess how candidates hold themselves in a professional environment, handle difficult interpersonal situations, and respond to stress.

Here are some sample behavioral-based questions:

  • How do you prioritize tasks?
  • Can you describe a time you chose to act contrary to company policy and why? What were the consequences of that decision and how did you handle it?
  • Can you share a time that you were confronted by a customer unhappy with a product or service? What did you do?

Situational panel interview questions explore how candidates will react to situations they may face in the future. These questions are as close to a job simulation as you can get, so it would be good for the subject matter expert on the panel to ask this. Be prepared for the candidate to have clarifying questions so they can provide a more accurate hypothetical answer.

Here are some situational question examples:

  • How would you communicate unpleasant news to your team?
  • What would you do if a solution you have developed was rejected by your supervisor or team?
  • You are assigned to work on an important project with a team member known to be difficult. How would you handle the situation?

Determine question order

To develop an effective panel interview process, you must create a logical sequence for asking questions.

Here is a sample sequence to consider:

  • Broad questions, which provide introductory information, such as why they are interested in the position
  • Position-based questions that focus on skills and competencies
  • Technical questions that explore details about the specific job and its requirements
  • Behavioral-based questions that address possible scenarios and situations
  • Candidate questions that allow applicants to ask questions of the panel members

Establishing an evaluation method

For too long, search committees have been asked which candidates they “liked best” or “were good fits for the job.” Those processes invite the influence of bias and do not allow for a disciplined evaluation. The following evaluation methods make evaluations easier and more consistent, provide a way to standardize feedback, and ensure the applicant has the knowledge, skills, and competencies you’re looking for.

Here are a few of the best evaluation methods for structured panel interviews:

Likert scale

On a five-point scale, one might be considered poor, and five considered excellent. For each competency, panelists score the candidate’s answers.

Identify the competency you’re measuring for and provide incremental descriptions of each competency level.

Competency: Proactive customer service

Applies the competency in the most difficult situations and is a resource and advisor for others

5 Rating

Applies the competency in extremely difficult situations with little or no guidance

4 Rating

Applies the competency in the most difficult situations with minimal guidance

3 Rating

Applies the competency in some difficult situations with frequent guidance

2 Rating

Applies the competency in the most basic form but requires extensive guidance

1 Rating
Forced ranking

Forced ranking is probably the most controversial evaluation process. It is most commonly used when evaluating candidates in highly-competitive situations, like when hiring for C-suite positions or selecting someone to receive a high-value scholarship.

There are a few ways forced ranking can be done in an interview setting. Interview panelists can rank candidates in relative comparison to each other for each question, which forces interviewers to ask themselves, “how was Mary’s answer compared to Navpreet and Patrick’s?” Then, all the comparisons are combined to see who ranked highest for the most answers.

Another option is forced distribution, where an appraisal doesn’t compare people against each other but gives candidates ratings like excellent, good, or needs improvement based on their answers. A set number of applicants must fall into each category, and the person who lands in the excellent category is the frontrunner.

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)

BARSs allow evaluators to grade applicants on past or future behavior. It defines what actions constitute effective and ineffective performance related to a specific situation, which is why BARSs are more accurate (produce less variance between raters) than a straight numerical one-to-five scale, according to an ETS Research Report.

A BARS can be used for almost any role, but it’s often used in industries with high-volume environments where a common service level is generally understood.

By knowing what can lead to success and failure, you can compare how an individual performed in past scenarios or will perform in future work situations against specific examples. From there, interviewers grade the candidate’s answers against well-defined behaviors discovered in the job analysis that have been ranked.

Let’s say you’re hiring for a customer service role, and you’re evaluating how an applicant has, or might, handle a difficult customer. Here’s an example of what that five-point BARS could look like:

Competency: Proactive customer service

Exceeds acceptable levels of performance (outstanding)

Listens to why they are upset. Apologizes and addresses the customer’s pain point. Remains calm regardless of what the person says or does. Continues serving the customer. Only calls the manager over if necessary.

5 Rating

Apologizes. Remains calm unless directly provoked. Continues serving the customer. Only calls the manager over if necessary.

4 Rating

Meets acceptable levels of performance (satisfactory)

Doesn’t show outward expressions of impatience. Continues serving the customer. Only calls the manager over if necessary.

3 Rating

Shows outward expressions of impatience. Does not apologize. Calls manager over to handle the situation.

2 Rating

Fails to meet acceptable levels of performance (unsatisfactory)

Shows several outward expressions of impatience. (sighs, rolls eyes, crosses arms, smirks, or laughs). Does not apologize. Talks back to the customer or takes a hostile tone. Withholds customer service.

1 Rating
Behavioral observation scale (BOS)

A BOS is a behavior-based measure used in situational interviews or job simulations to evaluate performance. The panelist uses one or more scales to evaluate to what degree the applicant demonstrated the desired behaviors.

For example, a panelist would choose from the following options for how frequently an applicant demonstrated a behavior:

Competency: Proactive customer service

Almost always

5 Rating


4 Rating


3 Rating


2 Rating

Almost never

1 Rating

Ideally, panelists would conduct their evaluation during the interview. For all evaluation methods, as described in this study by McMaster University, predictive validity is highest if ratings are completed immediately after each question and before starting the next. Keep interviewer evaluations as independent as possible, and ensure interview panelists submit their scorecards or rating grids immediately after the panel ends.

If your evaluation process is captured on paper or still done in unsecured documents, consider switching to a digital platform. Rating software can not only help structure your process, but also it’s the best way to capture and securely store candidate evaluations and remain in compliance. Having a digital record of your process can serve as proof of an equitable process.

Candidate having a positive candidate experience

Ensure consistency in the interview logistics/environment

Two often-overlooked elements of planning an interview process are the logistics and structure.

Ensuring consistency within the interview environment ensures fairness and equity for all candidates. Consider, for example, the room used for the interview if it’s in person. Whenever possible, use the same space and the same seating placements.

For virtual panel interviews, panelists can turn on the blurring effect or keep their background consistent for every candidate. Make sure all the panelists test their video settings before the interview. Constant, distracting background sounds or visual cues can impact some candidates.

If one panelist talks far more or less than others, that can change the dynamic of the interview. That’s why monitoring talk times is important to ensure no single panelist dominates the conversation. The conversation should focus on the candidate’s answers, not on what the panelists think or have to say.

Be strategic and consistent with the time and day of the week you plan your panel interviews. This approach helps ensure panelists have a familiar routine and candidates interview under similar conditions.

Have contingencies developed for unexpected events, like an unexpected absence by a panel member, a Wi-Fi outage (for digital interviews), a snow day, or a fire alarm during the panel interview. Again, the key is to create nearly identical interview conditions for each candidate.

If you follow all these steps, your interview plan should have:

  • Job analysis
  • Job description
  • Candidate selection criteria
  • Interview guide
  • Interview panelists selected who are ready to be trained

Training your team to conduct structured panel interviews

Preparing the interview team for the process is vital. Meeting before the start of the interviews to get aligned on the structure, desired outcomes, schedules, roles, and expectations will make the interviews much smoother.


Your pre-interview preparations ensure everyone is on the same page. It will include a discussion about the competencies and the interview format itself. It may include information about the number of candidates and the time commitment involved.

Reviewing how it works and why is essential if participants are new to the structured panel interview approach.

Panelists should then review the following:

  • Job description and job posting details, including the key duties of the role
  • Definitions of the competencies and the desired behaviors
  • What questions each panelist will ask
    • In some cases, panelists get asked to develop recommended questions after the preliminary meeting
  • The interview schedule and question sequence
  • Roles of the panelists themselves
  • The evaluations or rubrics to be used and how to determine appropriate ratings
  • The processes that will be in place after each interview concludes, including when evaluation forms are due

Panelists may need guidance on how to maintain consistency in their evaluations to understand how their ratings will be reviewed and monitored. They may also need training on how to keep the amount of speaking time amongst the panelists consistent. HR staff may be the most effective in providing this information, though experienced hiring managers or lead facilitators may also take on this role.

What the panelists discuss in the pre-interview meetings is often compiled into an interview guide. It can be a digital workflow built into a platform, or a printed document.

Whether your team is hybrid, remote, or in the office, you should use HR technology solutions to ensure compliance and turn insights into opportunities to improve your process. If you still use video conferencing software to conduct interviews, consider upgrading to an interview-specific platform. Find a vendor that offers custom workflows and in-platform interview guides to help your company stay compliant. 

If your team is already using a hiring platform, the task will be training everyone on the panel so they understand how the platform works and how to fill out and submit evaluations. 

Another pre-interview obligation is to prepare each candidate with information about the process, time commitments, and, if possible, panelists. Again, it’s crucial that candidate prep also be done consistently and each candidate receives the same information in advance.

Structured panel interviews pre-interview preparations

During the panel interview

Things can sometimes go wrong despite the best preparations. Have a plan, so you know how to address these issues in the moment.

Here are a few of the most common interview snafus and how to handle them:

Poorly prepared panelists or candidates

Applicants who haven’t researched the organization and reviewed the role in depth can leave a poor impression. For poorly prepared panelists, this may mean the lead needs to intervene and provide context. For ill-prepared candidates, there may need to be more explanation given about an organization or role.

Time domination

When panelists begin to monologue, it can be difficult to reel them in. It may be best to wait for a break and ask panelists to keep introductions or follow-up remarks to a minimum. You might need to tell overly detailed candidates that there are many questions and that while the details are appreciated, answers do not need to be as comprehensive.

Intimidating candidates

Panelists who opt to throw their weight around or cut the candidate off can be problematic. Sometimes the lead interviewer may need to reassure a candidate they believe has become unnerved to help them regain composure.

Talking badly about past job holders

This line of conversation is never acceptable, but it happens. While it may be awkward to reprimand a colleague during the interview, it may be necessary to remind people to maintain confidentiality and not discuss past or present coworkers.


The most important post-interview task is ensuring all ratings get completed. Evaluations can be done live during the panel interview or scheduled right after the interview ends. Even once the candidate has left, the panelists shouldn’t launch into a conversation about their thoughts or start having sidebar chats on Slack or Teams. Remind panelists to withhold their thoughts until the evaluations are completed, submitted, and tallied.

It’s important to consider a broader evaluation of the process once all interviews conclude. A debrief can help you understand what went well and what could be improved. Such feedback can help fine-tune future interview processes.

Consider having individual conversations with panelists to discuss their involvement and how they can improve.


Panel interviews can create the opportunity for a more objective hiring process. When combined with a structured interview methodology, panel interviews can increase the quality of hires and minimize the impacts of bias.

Panel interviews are a best-practice approach to candidate evaluation. They can offer insight into future success, reduce legal liability and ensure that all participants gain a deeper understanding of candidate experience and competencies.

By using the approaches and practices in this guide, employers can better understand how to build structured panel interviews that result in higher predictive validity and greater efficiency and efficacy.

The Modern Guide to Structured Interviewing: Ebook

The Modern Guide to Structured Interviewing

Get your free copy of VidCruiter’s comprehensive white paper about structured interviewing. This practical guide:

  • Shows you how you can use technology to optimize your hiring
  • Teaches you how to develop and conduct a structured interview process

By providing email address, you agree to receive updates from Vidcruiter.
Read our Privacy Policy.