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What’s the Difference Between a Team Interview and a Panel Interview?

You’ve done all the ground work and secured a job interview. You’ve gotten through a significant part of the job search process by coming this far. As you gather more information about your upcoming interview, you find out that you won’t be interviewed by just one person. Instead, you’re facing an interview process with multiple people from the company. If this is the case, here are some differences in two types of multiple-person interviews, the panel interview and the team interview.

Team interviews assess your fit.

Companies use this type of interview to introduce you to some of the people you may be working with. They do this so they can witness firsthand how you may fit in with the team atmosphere already in place. Anytime you add a new person to the mix, the dynamic of a team changes. So, they’ll ask you questions and observe how you interact to see if they like the energy you bring to the group.

You’ll meet with one group in a team interview.

Again, in a team interview, you’ll meet with just one group of people from the department. For example, if you’re interviewing for an accounting specialist position, you may have another accountant on staff or two in the interview with you. In addition, you may have your potential manager, the administrative assistant for the department, or another role like a bookkeeper as part of the interview process. Whatever the setup, it’s likely each person will ask you a question or two.

A panel interview includes people from multiple departments.

Unlike the group of people present for a team interview, the panel interview could have people from all parts of the company. You could still have someone from your department present like your future boss or a colleague, but another manager or team member from another part of the company, or a member of human resources may also be there. It can be a little overwhelming facing numerous people with potentially different agendas, so a trick is to quickly memorize each of their names and titles so you can connect with each interviewer personally.

A panel interview is for higher positions.

You’re more likely to encounter a panel position if you’re interviewing for a leadership position within the company. The reason for this is when someone holds a more influential role, the company wants to know multiple people and departments are giving their thumbs up to this person. A manager is more likely to make an impact across several departments, so that’s also why it’s important they meet various people during the interview. It also allows all of these people to form a consensus that the person they are interviewing is right for the job.

Regardless if you have a panel or team interview ahead of you, you can prepare for them in similar ways. Make sure to thoroughly research the company and the departments represented to know who you may be talking to. Understand if the company culture is right for you. Think about the team atmosphere that is best for you and observe if that’s what the company has to offer. And relax and try to just have a conversation with everyone present because interviewing with several people at a time can be intimidating.


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