How to survive a panel interview when you don’t know the panelists and you’re hungry

“This girl looks familiar, I wonder if she worked at chipotle?”

The other day I was invited to take part in a panel interview for a post-grad job that I applied for. Obviously I accepted, but I was a little bit concerned about the panel format, so I took to google for some answers.

The Muse – This is a great blog that has all sorts of advice regarding your job search including networking, interviewing, applying, etc. This particular article helped me out a lot about knowing what to expect with a panel interview.– I always think people who use Monster are one step above circling classifieds in the newspaper. I don’t know why. It’s a great resource and I found this article to be really informative when it came down to it. Not to mention, there were many other links to other articles about interview prep and sample questions.

Forbes– Ahh, good old Forbes magazine! Whenever I read it I immediately feel 10000% more sophisticated than I actually am. I stumbled onto this article which was written from the point of view of a mentor giving their mentee advice. The author gave 7 solid pieces of advice and I may or may not have used all of them during this panel.


One of the main pieces of advice was to know who will be interviewing you; but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to know. It really put a damper on preparing because I couldn’t do research into the interviewers backgrounds, or think of specific questions that they would ask. Instead, I focused on preparing answers to the questions that come up in all interviews, “Why here?” “What is your biggest weakness?” “What is your biggest strength?” “Why should we hire you over all the other candidates?” “Qdoba or Chipotle?”

Luckily, it was about a 40 minute car ride to my interview so I took the time to turn off the radio and talk my answers out loud. I find that I sound perfectly intelligent and concise in my head, but when I speak it sounds like one of the Kardashians. I find that talking my answers out loud really helps me slow down, answer concisely, enunciate my words, and makes me sound prepared and professional. I highly recommend to everybody!

By the time I got to the interview I realized a few things: (1) I was STARVING. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and this interview was at 1:40; (2) My shirt was still a little wrinkled-chic; and (3) this wasn’t the same building that I had a previous interview in and I didn’t know where to go.

Thankfully, I always get to an interview 30 minutes early and then hang outside in my car until about 20 minutes before, giving myself enough time to go through security (if they have it), use the bathroom, change my shoes, and go over my resume/application. Unfortunately for me, this building was actually 2 buildings connected by a series of elevators, so with ten minutes left, I had to run (quickly walk, security looks at running inside suspiciously!), all the way to one end of the building, take the elevators up, run down another side and then take more elevators. I got to the office with 5 minutes remaining and no longer starving because thankfully my appetite goes away when I’m anxious.

Forty minutes later, I walked out of that interview convinced all the people in there thought I was a giant dumbass. All I wanted to do was go home, get out of the suit, and eat lunch, which I did. At the rate I ate, I’m pretty sure I also ate second lunch and dinner, but I was sad and had candy so how else was I going to feel better? The sweet smell of chocolate and desperation must have been smelled all the way at my interview because I was invited back to second round next week!

Also, to add to the good news: pictures for graduation are being taken next week as well, on the day of my interview. I’m going to look so good people won’t recognize me.

I’ll update when I finish my second interview. Fingers crossed!


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