Interview Types: The Screening Interview

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Interview Types: The Screening Interview

By: Elizabeth Moffat
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There’s no There’s no shortage of interview formats or styles that can throw even the most experienced interviewee off their game, but if you familiarize yourself with as many of these as possible, you’ll be less likely to show up unprepared. Which is why this series is here, so you can become familiar with the multitude of interview styles you could face.

Screening Interviews

Many large companies use their HR department to pre screen potential candidates. You might receive a phone call from an HR representative looking to have a short conversation with you to determine if you’d “fit” with the organization. While some people think that this step is not as important as a formal interview, don’t forget: Not only do you need to impress here to get through to the next round, but even if you don’t get one particular job, you want the HR rep to remember you (in a good way) when the next opening comes along.

The Good

  • These interviews are fairly casual and you aren’t expected to be completely prepared – but it is a bonus.
  • You can gain a glimpse into the company’s values and what it’s like working there.
  •  A good first impression can result in a solid contact within the organization.

The Bad

  • These interviews are often conducted over the phone, which many people struggle with.
  • If you’re caught off guard by an unexpected call you may not show off your best qualities.
  • The HR rep will likely make up their mind within the first two minutes.

The Helpful

  • Don’t get caught off guard – keep your resume and portfolio within easy reach so you can refer to them.
  • Keep copies of recent job descriptions for positions you’ve applied for. Jot down notes about the company that you can reference on the call.
  • If you’re in a distracting environment don’t hesitate to ask the caller to hold on for a minute while you find a quiet room.
  • Be yourself, not who you think they’re looking for.
  • Smile when you talk, it may feel silly, but it will change your inflection.
  • As the conversation wraps up, ensure that you understand the next step of the hiring process.

Potential Questions

  • What interests you about this job?
  • What is it about our company that appeals to you?
  • Can you describe your last job?

Prepare with more practice questions by visiting the Interview Question Database.

Continue reading our full series of interview type tips or visit the All About Interviews section of the OLC.

Posted on April 23, 2012