How to keep your cool and ace a panel interview

Of all the steps involved in your quest to find a job, the job interview is likely the most stressful. What could be more unnerving than sitting in front of a stranger grilling you about your qualifications? Answer: a bunch of strangers grilling you. That’s more or less what happens during a panel interview (also called a board interview), when several employees from a company come together as a group to audition a candidate.

Typically formal and organized, this interview format is often used in academia and government or for high-level executives. Occasionally, you’ll encounter a panel interview for other positions in a company.

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Difficult interview questions and the answers to get you hired

If you feel like the job interview process is a interview-questions-1024x576complex combination of mind games that are intended to leave you clueless as to how to answer interview questions, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Time is of the essence; employers want to hire someone yesterday. As such, they’re not into playing games. The typical interview questions they ask are designed to cut to the chase and give you the best chance to sell yourself to them.

Your challenge as a job seeker, therefore, is to anticipate tough interview questions and knock your answers out of the park.

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How to nail the most awkward kind of interview: the lunch date

Ah, the lunch interview—an audition that two-businessmen-shaking-hands-at-lunch-meeting-493585563-57717b175f9b585875c2d789combines the stress of a job interview with the awkwardness of a first date. To ace it, you’ll need to make a professional impression in a casual environment. That’s no easy feat.

“Hiring managers typically do lunch interviews because they want to see your personality come out and see how you behave in a casual setting,” says Amy Wolfgang, CEO at Austin, Texas-based Wolfgang Career Coaching.

But as the interviewee, you need to be strategic in your approach. “There’s a temptation to let down your guard and let it become a social event, but it’s still a job interview,” says Carole Martin, job interview coach and author of Boost Your Interview IQ.

The good news: “If a hiring manager is going to expense a meal for you, the person is seriously interested in hiring you,” says Martin.

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5 questions you should never ask during a job interview

You may be camera ready with job-interview-basic-preparationa spiffy job-interview outfit and your resume (15 drafts later, phew) and cover letter in hand, but now it’s time for the hardest part: preparing what will come out of your mouth.

On paper, you could be the perfect candidate, but your interview is what will make or break your chances of landing a job offer. The key is to ask the right questions and “always think about how you’re being perceived,” says Courtney Templin, president of JB Training Solutions, a Chicago-based career development firm.

To help you out, Monster compiled a list of questions you should never (ever!) ask a hiring manager­—and what you should be asking instead.

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Land an out-of-town job early in your career

Having trouble finding a dream job fish-jumping-out-of-bowl-change2in your zip code? Why limit your job search to just one town? If you’re a recent grad, chances are you’re still young, with nothing much to tie you down. You have the flexibility to pick up and go, which isn’t so easy when you get older and start to settle down.

Plus, “if you’re willing to relocate, you cast a wider net and have more jobs to choose from,” says Philadelphia career coach Mindy Thomas.

Granted, this won’t be a cakewalk. Many employers are hesitant to hire out-of-town job seekers, since there are a number of expenses involved—and some simply don’t have enough money in their recruiting budget to pay to fly candidates in for interviews, let alone subsidize relocation costs (a rare offer for entry-level hires). But if you show prospective employers you’re worth a second look (and are willing to forfeit relocation expenses), you could find yourself at a new gig in a city you’d never even considered.

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How to Ace the New Job Interview

Planning your next big career move? 141001_FT_JobInterviewGet ­
going. Job openings climbed to 4.7 million in June, the highest level since 2001, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And in a recent survey by Challenger Gray ­& Christmas, 77% of hiring managers reported trouble filling slots because of a talent shortage.

To succeed in this sunnier market, though, you need a firm grasp on today’s hiring process, one that may be far different from what you faced the last time you hit the circuit. For starters, businesses are going slow, spending an average of 23 days to fill a slot in 2013, vs. 12 days in 2010, according to employer review website Glassdoor. And many are replacing antiquated hiring methods with more offbeat ways to vet job seekers.

“Companies are finding traditional job interviews aren’t identifying the high-quality candidates they need,” says Parker McKenna of the Society for Human Resource Management. Numerous academic studies have unearthed flaws in the process. A 2013 one co-written by psychologist Jason Dana at the Yale School of Management found that many hiring managers are mistakenly overconfident in their ability to assess how well a candidate will perform through a one-on-one interview. To get an edge on your competition, you should prepare for four types of tests.

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