Group Interviews vs. Panel Interviews — Which is Better?

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Posted by: David Garcia

Topics: Human Resources, Recruitment

The interview process can be a long and complicated ordeal. Managing several schedules, narrowing down pertinent questions, and keeping it all engaging are constant thoughts on a hiring manager's mind.

Luckily, there are a few options to make interviewing more straightforward and practical: group interviews and panel interviews. Both interview styles have pros and cons and fit particular situations better than others.

This article will break down everything you need to know about group and panel interviews and set you up for success.
Find your new hire with ease, by using one of these tried and true tactics.

What is a Group Interview?

Think of a group interview as a conversation. A single interviewer acts as a moderator, and several candidates answer the questions together.

This group atmosphere offers the chance to see how potential hires act when surrounded by their peers. Do you value those who collaborate and build off others' ideas? Or are you after someone who always makes sure their point gets across? — You will discover those attributes right away.

A group interview also saves on labor and time for your HR department. Instead of giving ten candidates ten minutes each, you can interview five people in just fifteen minutes.

This style is a common first-round technique to get a sense of your talent pool and quickly parse out the 'maybes' from the 'nos.'

Pros

  • Potential to organize a group activity or team problem-solving
  • Candidates feel less individual pressure
  • Encourages competition and camaraderie

Cons

  • It can be challenging to coordinate
  • Introverted personalities may get lost in the conversation
  • Loud voices may dominate too much

What is a Panel Interview?

A panel situation flips how many people are on each side of the table. Two or more representatives from the company will simultaneously sit down with one candidate.

Panels are ideal for removing any personal biases, as each panel member can keep the rest in check. The goal is to measure each panel member's thoughts to find a genuinely objective take on the candidate.

Panels are almost always a very professional setting. Less of a natural conversation, this is a chance to hear how the candidate can articulate themselves when asked specific and challenging questions from those in charge.

You will discover your candidate's demeanor towards authority as well as their ability to think quickly and respond with poise.

Pros

  • More time to jot down notes and follow-up questions
  • It opens up the ability to see how the candidate works with higher-ups
  • A more comprehensive range of questions can be asked

Cons

  • It can be stressful to sit across from an intimidating panel
  • Disagreement among the board can cause confusion

Group Interviews vs. Panel Interviews: When To Use Them?

Each of these methods can help narrow down your choices for your new employee. But some situations warrant one style over another.

So, which should you use?

When To Use Group Interviews?

If your company is under a tight deadline to fill an open position, you can maximize the number of people seen using this method.

Conduct several group interviews, see who stands out, then bring them in for a one-on-one session to dive deeper.
Should you have several openings for the same position, it can be valuable to see how potential team members work with each other.

Consider offering up a challenge the group can work on together. For example: designing an app, writing and proofing an article, or anything relevant to the position.

Those who work well together during the interview will work well together once on the job!

Let the conversation flow freely, don't interrupt a train of thought, even from the loudest person in the room. People often show their true colors when they don’t feel pressure to stop talking. Allowing for uninhibited conversation reveals who has the bright ideas and who just likes the sound of their own voice.

When To Use Panel Interviews?

The panel interview is a common technique that many organizations reserve for the final round of questioning. This moment is when executives sit down with a candidate and ask big questions.

A panel can also be helpful when the interviewer is still learning the ropes and needs an extra hand from someone more experienced.

Also, consider the psychological aspects of an interview from the candidate's perspective. Multiple people asking probing questions is intimidating and challenging to handle. Make sure to think about what would put you at ease in an intense interview situation.

Which One is Better, Group Interview or Panel Interview?

This question gets asked all the time, but there is no clear-cut answer as you may have guessed by now.

Which method works best for you simply depends on your needs.

A panel interview is perfect for providing the definitive answer on a candidate you're already interested in. A group interview is the ideal starting place when you aren't exactly sure what you're after.

Don't assume group interviews and panel interviews are interchangeable. You'll find yourself against a wall if you conduct a panel interview for the initial meeting or have a group interview as the final round.

Practice both methods in your hiring system, and you'll be amazed how much faster you find your new start teammate!

Conclusion

No matter what style of interview you choose, you will have to run a background check on your candidate at some point in the process.

Use ScoutLogic and make the background check the most straightforward part of your hiring process!

When you work with ScoutLogic, you work one-on-one with one of our background check experts. They'll be with you every step of the way, updating you on every completed check and answering any questions that pop up.

Spend your time on the interview, let ScoutLogic handle the background check.

Get your free assessment today!

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