Updated June 8, 2023
A screening interview is part of the job selection process used by potential employers and recruiters to evaluate an applicant’s suitability to fill a vacancy in an organization. A screening interview is a brief question-and-answer session conducted informally.
Screening interviews narrow down the potential job applicants, thereby increasing the efficiency of the formal interview process and making it productive and less time-consuming. A screening interview can take place over the phone or face-to-face with a recruiter or a member of the consultancy’s or hiring company’s talent acquisition team.
The process typically clarifies the information on the applicant’s resume or CV. The duration of a screening interview can range from ten to thirty minutes.
It is a behavioral interview conducted by just one person. It is common for recruiters to filter candidates over a screening interview as it is the quickest way to ascertain their qualifications and skill set, according to the required job profile.
A screening interview is a dicey situation because there might be various possibilities that an applicant might:
- Not have the required experience, however, might possess the required skill set, knowledge, and expertise, or
- Have experience more than what’s needed but is not a people person, or
- Possess all the prerequisites but needs to be more flexible to enter and adapt to a new environment.
Sure, it’s an introductory conversation about the company, but the recruiter’s main goal is to sort through numerous applicants on paper. In this cut-throat competition, it’s crucial to get through this round. Hence, a screening interview plays the role of a filter, removing the ones who do not fulfill the criteria for further selection. It’s never certain who might go further because sometimes, after the screening interview, the interviewers tend to bend the rules that might prove helpful for the organization, thus giving them the best candidates.
How to Ace A Screening Interview?
1. Be Professional and Sincere
You should not forget that a screening interview is the first step towards your formal interview in the organization, further leading to the job. The job applicant must take the screening as seriously as any other traditional interview, even if it’s an informal session. It can be a make-it-or-break-it situation as it gives the recruiter an idea about your personality.
Thus, it becomes very important to be enthusiastic and professional from the first interview rather than being ignorant just because it’s informal.
2. Showcase your Best Personality
The job applicant must ensure that they exhibit the best qualities from the very beginning of the interview session, not exaggerating the traits or over-expressing them because that might give an image of an over-confident person.
Express yourself in a manner that describes your achievements and analytical skills, proving you as an asset to the company. This is a “first impression,” and you do not want to drop the ball here.
3. Review the Job Profile
It is crucial to review the job profile you are applying for. A screening interview is a process of identifying if you are suitable for a particular job position. A screening interview might be an informal step; however, it may make you lose a great opportunity. Hence, it is significant for you to assess yourself beforehand for the role and responsibilities of the job you are applying for.
It’s always better to expect the unexpected and always prepare because that might make you look less confident.
4. Build Rapport
The screening interview can be a positive experience if you are good at communicating with anyone and everyone by keeping a balance in your words. As the screening interview is an informal session, it helps you make a good impression on the in-house HR or hiring company’s recruiter if you possess good communication skills, and an intelligent sense of humor, thus, making your way to the next round.
Follow the 3 Cs: Crisp, Concise, and Clear. Correct use of words and proper framing of sentences is the key. Playing with the words leaves a positive impression, exhibiting your ability to convey the message. The interviewer is smart enough to gauge this quality, helping you clear this round of screening and making you eligible for the next games.
5. Appropriate Communication
Communication is an exchange of ideas, thoughts, and knowledge, where the sender and the recipient of the message must be on the same page regarding understanding or perception. Communication is, thus, a two-way process that does not only involve conveying the statement by the sender but also an acknowledgment of the same by the recipient.
- Listen to the screening interview must-know questions. Ask and clarify if there is any doubt.
- Answer clearly. Your answer has to be understood.
- Don’t be too brief. Lack of information (particularly about any specific subjects) can mean leaving something out. Do not hide any important aspect, but do not start narrating a story.
- Be alert. Don’t ignore anything. If you missed a bit, it’d be out of your answers, too.
- Body Language expresses what words can’t.
- Equilibrium between thought Thought-Process and Speech. Maintaining a balance between what you think and speak and how your body responds is an art only a few can master.
6. Take Control
The basic idea of a screening interview is to assess the applicant if they are fit for the organization. It’s always better to take control of the interview as soon as you enter the room.
- Greet the interviewer with a warm smile, displaying your confidence.
- Basic etiquette, for example, asking the interviewer if you can have a seat or how he is doing and responding positively to the same (if asked).
- Sound intelligent and enthusiastic; even if you have waited for your turn for a long time, appear energized and energized.
- Explain the reason for selecting this job, giving the recruiter an idea of your clear thought process.
- Play smart. The recruiters tend to ask about your expectations from the organization, especially regarding salary. Never answer this question with a specific number. Rather give a smart answer that kills two birds with one stone by expressing a “Yes” towards a higher salary or overall income and appreciating the organization’s image.
7. Prepare Yourself
- Resume: The key factor is to design a resume that highlights strengths rather than incompetence, achievements rather than inconsistencies (if any), etc. The interviewer might probe you to evaluate if there are any lies in the resume.
- Transparency: No matter what the medium of the interview is, viz., phone screening interviews, face-to-face interviews in the hiring company, or on Skype, the more transparent you are about yourself, the better it is, thus revealing your reliability and trustworthiness. Remember, your voice, facial expressions, and intonations have a fundamental role to play. If you try to be over-smart, the interviewer can determine the change in your voice, phrases, etc.
- Rehearse: Practice your responses before the interview, asking a friend to help you conduct a mock interview. Make them play the employer’s role and offer feedback in areas of improvement. Keep track of yourself to analyze your responses and nonverbal cues like eye contact and body language. You may realize that you tend to behave in a manner that signals to employers that you’re uncomfortable or bored; for example, you might fidget, unknowingly cross your arms, lose eye contact, etc. The more you rehearse, the more you move towards perfection, and you’ll be able to convey more professionalism and poise when you talk to the interviewer.
- SWOT Analysis: SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
A screening interview is designed specifically to filter applicants. A screening interview means sorting to disqualify candidates using more detailed examinations of the resumes successively. Be professional to earn the respect you deserve and the chance to proceed further in the hiring process.
The interviewers might usually be focused on something other than evaluating or judging your traits or thought processes. They validate your expertise, qualification, skill set, and track record.
- Job Interview Skills Training Program
- Mainframe testing interview questions
- Salesforce Developer Interview Questions
- Salesforce Interview Questions