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Today’s Question: Occasionally, job seekers will go through peer interviews during the hiring process. These interviews can be a little intimidating. We’re all used to talking with hiring managers and recruiters, but being interviewed by our potential colleagues? That can be weird! What tips do you have to help job seekers ace their peer interviews?
1. Get Your Peers to Do the Talking
I’ve consulted on hundreds of hires, and I have to say that peer interviews are often the easiest to ace. The secret is taking control of the interview and asking the panel about what they feel it takes to be successful in the job, what they’d like to see in a coworker. Get them talking. And make sure that each person has a chance to speak. The more they talk, the higher they will rate you. Then of course, when you’re answering their questions, use the
information you’ve gathered to frame your remarks.
— Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates
2. Find Out How You Can Help the Team
Treat each person as the expert in the area they work in and learn how you can help. People want to work with people who want to help. People don’t want to work with people who tell them what to do or come across as superior.
— Michelle Merritt, Merrfeld Resumes and Coaching
3. Treat It Like a Regular Interview
My advice for job seekers in acing peer interviews is to remember that the people interviewing them are just as important as the hiring manager. They will often be respected and trusted members of the hiring manager’s team. Therefore, their opinions of you will be valuable in the decision-making process.
So treat this interview like any other interview. Be prepared and try to build a rapport with these peers. It may well be important to the hiring manager to see if you’ll both get on.
Also, use this interview as an opportunity to learn more about the role and company. You’ll often get a more honest opinion from a peer.
— Jonathan Burston, Interview Expert Academy
4. Build Camaraderie With Your Interviewers
You might be working with the interviewers in the future, so you may as well start becoming friends.
In addition to answering the typical interview questions, you should try to find something in common that you can talk about with your interviewers/future peers. This allows you to create a sense of camaraderie that will guide the rest of the interview and make it flow naturally. This connection will also help you gain the support of your interviewers, who may have a significant say in your getting your job.
— AJ Saleem, Suprex Learning
5. Come Prepared to Ask Questions
Peer interviews can be an amazing opportunity. Sure, the hiring manager knows the job description, but the person who will be sitting in the chair next to yours knows what the job really entails.
My advice to job seekers is to think from the point of view of their potential peers when answering questions. They want to know you’ll be able to pull your own weight and add value to the team, so let them know how your skills will complement theirs.
Another important tip is to come prepared to ask them questions. Remember that you are interviewing them, too! Find out
how your job will support theirs, ask what kinds of things you’ll be doing together, and ask what they think the position’s biggest challenge is. They can give you insights into the company culture, work/life balance, and how the coffee in the break room is. Open-ended questions are always best.
My go-to question in a peer interview is: “How long have you worked here and what makes you stay?” You may be surprised just what kind of responses you’ll get.
— Meghann Isgan, One Click
6. Don’t Get Competitive
You are expected to share your work highlights, but monitor your tone and wording to ensure you are not sharing these highlights in a way that can be perceived as competitive or comparative. It’s an interview, not a competition.
— Angelina Darrisaw, C-Suite Coach
7. Get Input From Everyone
Ask specific questions of an interviewer, and then re-ask the question of another interviewer or in a different way to gather as many nuggets about the organization as possible.
For example, to find out about company culture, you may ask one interviewer, “How frequently does the team participate in social activities together?” Then, you can ask another interview, “Does the company sponsor team outings and volunteer events?”
— Karen Walser, Adecco Staffing