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What is the right number of people for an interview panel?

While there is no “correct” answer to this question, there are several practical reasons that indicate three members is the appropriate size for most interview panels.

A three-member panel is big enough to bring people with different backgrounds and perspectives to the table, but small enough that finding times when everyone is available is not a scheduling nightmare. Candidates may find large interview panels intimidating, something that makes creating an environment conducive to effective interviewing difficult. Having an odd number of panel members may be useful on those rare (and hopefully avoidable) occasions when your choice between candidates comes down to a vote.

There are other factors to consider when deciding who to invite to be part of an interview panel, no matter how large or small it is. Who needs to be on the panel? What will each panel member contribute to the process? Avoid inviting people to join who have little to contribute but are there only for political reasons. Unless someone brings useful knowledge or skills to the process, they should not be part of the interview panel.

Everyone who is part of an interview panel should be available from early in the planning process until the decision is made. At a minimum, all members must attend every interview if they are to participate in the decision about who to hire.

The creation and role of interview panels is one of the topics explored during Nelson Scott’s Interview Right to Hire Right workshops.


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A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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