When a candidate gets the opportunity to interview with more than one member of the hiring team at once, this is called a panel interview (as they speak with a panel of interviewers). For candidates, this can be a benefit as they get to meet with more members of the team in a shorter time frame, which means they spend less time scheduling and attending interviews. For interviewers, this means that they get to work together to learn more about a candidate and can benefit from each other's viewpoints and experience.
In order to maximize the effectiveness of our panel interviews, we observe the following guidelines:
Panel interviews are best done by video call. In-person panel interviews can be intimidating because you sit across from a group of people. Video calls are easier to keep conversational.
Start with an explanation and introductions. Walk the candidate through the interview, roughly how long each stage will take. Introduce yourselves briefly, then ask the candidate to do the same.
No difficult or "trick" questions. Panel interviews are conversations, not tests. If the candidate needs to prepare for the interview or will be put on the spot with a question designed to test their knowledge, they should have the opportunity to do that with a smaller audience. Panel interviews work best when they are oriented around questions about a candidate's experience, history, and opinions.
Interviewers, be prepared. Have a list of sample questions ready to draw from to keep the conversation moving. Know when it is your turn to ask questions. Communicate in Slack or similar if you need to make adjustments. Turn off notifications or any other distractions so you can stay focused. Taking turns asking questions is not an excuse to multi-task.
The goal is to get to know the candidate. Because panel interviews are so conversational, it's really easy for interviewers to spend time talking to each other instead of the candidate. Be diligent about keeping the focus on the candidate and give them the space to be the star in the interview.