Interviews are the pivotal and often nerve-racking part of a job search. You’ve accomplished a lot in making it past a resume review, but still have much to achieve in presenting yourself in an interview as well as optimizing what you’re able to learn about the firm, opportunity, team, and culture during this time. When interviewing, many firms will often have you participate in a panel or group interview during the process where you will be interviewed by a few members of the team at once. While this can be unfamiliar and seem daunting, utilize some of the following insights to help you best command interviews with multiple team members.
- Preparation - Like any interview, it is important to be well prepared. Candidates should have a thorough understanding of the opportunity that they are interviewing for, by having researched the firm, team, and specifically, the people that will be conducting the interview, if known. Linkedin in addition to the firm’s website is a great tool to utilize when preparing for interviews as it allows you to gain a better understanding of a firm, and gives you a snapshot of the team and their stories and experiences.
- Questions - Asking questions is an excellent indicator that you are well prepared as well as curious and invested in the process. As you research, develop a few thoughtful questions to ask during your interview that will help you gain a better sense of the opportunity, give you insight on the team and/or culture, or that inquire about your applicability to the opportunity based on experience, growth, or other factors.
- Presentation - Confidence is key! Walk confidently into the interview room and introduce yourself individually to each of the panelists. Simple body language indicators such as strong posture and eye contact can communicate your level of interest in an opportunity. Ensure that you tell your story assuredly and answer any questions thoroughly. Make sure to vary your eye contact and rotate evenly with each of the panelists even if only one is doing the majority of the talking.
- Gathering Information - The goal of the interview is for the firm to be able to get to know you, your story, experiences, and abilities. It is just as important for you to be seeking the same information from the team members that you interview with. During the interview, it will be helpful to show initiative with your curiosity and recordkeeping.
- Taking Notes - Interviewing with multiple people at once can be an overwhelming amount of information to digest and retain. During the interview, jot notes of specific topics of interest, important things to know, and areas that you may have questions about and/or want to research more. Taking notes is an intentional way to display your commitment to learning and remembering the information that you gain in the interview. Notes that you take during the interview can help you keep track of who you met, what you spoke about and give you specific topics of conversation to include in your follow-up. Also, make sure you ask at least two questions. If you do not ask questions, the panel interviewers will think you weren’t listening and/or you are not interested.
- Developing Professional Camaraderie - Be yourself! The ultimate goal of the interview aside from you and the firm getting to know each other is connection. Your ability to connect with and relate to the interviewers will help them imagine you as a team member as well as someone who would potentially service their clients. While remaining professional, remember to be relatable and realistic.
- Next Steps - When the interview is coming to a close, ensure that you know your direct point of contact. While it is important to follow up with each person to thank them for their time spent with you, you specifically want to know who will be corresponding with you on the next steps as well as who any additional questions may be directed to.
Commanding a panel interview starts with preparation and confidence and concludes with follow-through. It is imperative to understand all there is to gain from multiple perspectives within a prospective firm, and how this can be helpful for yourself and the firm in deciding if the opportunity is a good fit for you.
If you are entering the financial planning profession or seeking the perfect fit with a top-tier financial planning firm, submit your resume here or peruse our openings for entry-level planners. We are here to help you any way we can so you can secure your dream job!