I stumbled onto your website and wow it has been extremely informative and I
am looking forward to utilizing the information I learned in your tutorials in my
upcoming interviews. I do have a question that I hope you can help me with.
My question is: When being interviewed by a panel of people would it be appropriate
at the beginning of the interview to write down the names of all of the panel
members involved in the interview so proper spelling and inclusion on thank-you notes is assured or should I ask the receptionist or secretary after the interview
for the proper spelling of all panelists? Thank you for your time.
The Career Doctor responds:
I think there is no wrong or right answer here. I think the most important part is getting
every member of the panel’s name and title correct so that you can write individual
thank-you notes to each member.
That said I think the ideal scenario would be to actually get the names of the panel
before the interview — if possible. Since you know it’s going to be a panel of people you
must have a contact at the company. I would ask that person for each person’s name
(and spelling of their names) and title. This information would be helpful to you in addition
to the thank-you notes; by having their names you can kind of practice responding to them.
If the panel composition is not set before the time of your interview I would use some
sort of memory aid even jotting down people’s names but I don’t think I would interrupt
the flow of the interview to ask for the correct spelling of their names. I might ask for
business cards. And yes I would follow-up with the department assistant or company
receptionist about the correct spelling of names of the panel members.
I’m horrible at remembering names in pressure situations like interviews but if you can
master that skill it really adds a very positive dimension to panel interviews when you
can respond to people by using their names.
Finally remember to look at each person on the panel as you respond to questions
so that each one feels equally important. Smile make good eye contact be confident
project your voice and try not to be intimidated by the panel. The best panel interviews
are ones that seem more like discussions than a grilling or inquisition.
Brush up on your interviewing skills by going to the
Guide to Job Interviewing
section of Quintessential Careers.