What's the Better Interview Style; Panel Interviews or One to One?

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Clients, automotive recruitment, guidance and advice...

There are many different approaches to the interview process from the telephone interview to the increasingly popular video interview, assessment centres to the traditional one to one method. All interview styles have their pros and cons but what’s important is that as the hirer, you choose a method that will give you sufficient and relevant information to base your decision on.

Here we compare two of the most common styles of interviews used by our clients. We’ll address the positives and negatives of each in the hope we can help you make an informed decision about which will work best for you.

Panel Interview

A panel interview is a great way for businesses to get the opinion of multiple people before making a hiring decision. This can be particularly important when recruiting for senior roles such as a General Sales Manager, a Dealer Accountant or a Dealer Principal.

Choosing the right people to sit on the panel is important for example if you’re recruiting for a Sales Manager it would be best to have a diverse mix of people on the Panel who would regularly be interacting with this person such as the Service Manager, Dealer Principal and perhaps a member of the Sales Team to get their perspective.

The logistics around a panel interview can be tricky because they often require key people from the business to attend at the same time so you’ll need to plan ahead and consider people’s schedules and commitments. The most efficient way of carrying out multiple panel interviews is to do them all in the same day, this way your panel will only have to take one day away from their duties and you’ll be able to make a judgement shortly after.

It’s also important that the interview has structure because you risk interviewers interrupting each other without it and you won’t get the best from the candidate. This can easily be organised by planning ahead and allocating a set number of questions to each interviewer.

One-to-one Interview

Individual, face to face interviews may be the most traditional approach but they are a highly efficient way to get to know the person you may be hiring.

Interviewing one-to-one usually means the candidate will relax into it rather than feel over whelmed by a panel of interviewers. You can build rapport more easily and really hone in on their body language as well as their verbal responses, all of which will help you in your decision.

Another benefit is that you can delve deeper than in a panel interview because you’ll have more time to ask questions. If you want them to expand on an answer or have any queries about their CV, a one-to-one interview allows you to really explore these things.

This style of interview relies heavily on the competence and opinion of one person, the interviewer. As an employer you need to have complete confidence that this person will make the right decision for the business completely free of bias.

Both styles have positive and negative aspects but with the right preparation and structure in place both can result in you making the best hiring decision for your organisation.

For advice on a range of recruitment topics visit our blog and if you’re a hiring manager looking for tailored recruitment advice or support then get in touch with our team of specialist Automotive Recruitment executives today!