Final Panel Interviews

Once you have been told you are attending a final interview process (often called a ‘final panel’ process), there are various things to think about and be aware of. Luke Judd, Partner at GatenbySanderson, has these tips.

Do get feedback from the lead consultant about your longlist interview, and also use them to gain insights into the client and the issues.

Do some additional research – talk to contacts who may know the client; find out who you are meeting (see below).

Do gain a good understanding of what to expect at final panel. This can vary hugely between clients and sectors, but by and large you may be asked to do some or all of the following:

  • Additional psychometric or ability tests (ie personality profiles, numerical or verbal reasoning tests, in tray exercises, leadership judgement indicators, etc.). These can often be done ‘on line’ in advance.
  • Meeting your potential line manager in a ‘one to one’.
  • Meeting colleagues or staff (could be the same tier, or tiers below).
  • Meeting external partners or stakeholders.
  • Meeting service users (particularly prevalent for senior children’s services or adult services roles).
  • ‘Informal’ lunch or dinner with colleagues and/or partners (often a buffet).
  • A presentation – the topic is usually but not always given to you well in advance. However, sometimes you have a short amount of time to prepare.
  • Final panel interview with an appointment committee (for Local Government appointments, these are often elected Members).

A final panel process for senior and executive jobs can often be spread over two days, with panels and meetings on day one, followed by the formal and final interview on day two. Occasionally, there will be a cut off at the end of day one, and not all candidates will go through to day two.

It is a two way process, so do try to find out more about the role and the organisation. Ask the right questions (but don’t ask questions for the sake of it, particularly at the end of a long interview).

The organisation will be keen to test your understanding of them, plus your ‘fit’ with them – so be prepared to explore issues of culture, management style, motivations, ambitions, etc.

Keep up your energy and focus, particularly during a long day with numerous panels or meetings! 

Be aware that you are always ‘on show’, even during a buffet lunch which seems informal.

For final interview, find out who is on the panel, and ideally find out how long the interview is and how many questions you are due to be asked. (This will help you get a sense of how long your answers should be.)  Ask if the panel members are likely to ask ‘follow ups’, or whether you get one shot at the answer.

A GatenbySanderson consultant may or may not be present during a final process. If they are there, use them for on-going feedback and information.

If you would like to learn more about how GatenbySanderson can help you, contact us on Leeds 0113 205 6071, London 020 7426 3960 or Birmingham 0121 644 5700.