In the modern era of recruitment, it simply isn’t enough to go through one interview to find the perfect candidate. Many companies conduct multiple-stage interviews (or screening interviews) to help whittle down their pool of candidates.
But what exactly is a screening interview?
A screening interview is a brief interview to determine if you meet the threshold for a position. It is designed to determine if you match the job requirements, possess the required experience, if your salary expectations align with the wages the company is offering, and much more.
In a screening interview, a recruiter will ask about your employment and education history, personal life and hobbies. They do this to determine if you will fit the business culture.
Screening interviews can happen over the phone, via video calls or in person. Regardless of the setting, it is crucial to treat every screening interview with the same respect.
Screening interviews are an essential part of any recruitment process, and it is vital to take them seriously if you want your dream role. If you struggle to big yourself up, answer questions efficiently or show off your gigantic personality, worry no longer.
Let AvA-V’s Ruby Explain The Dos and Don’ts of Interviews.
Research, Research, Research
You would put time and effort into preparing for a face-to-face interview, wouldn’t you?
Why should it be any different here?
If you know you have a screening interview scheduled, you should spend the time leading up to it conducting thorough research to aid your preparations. Too many people make the mistake of winging a first-stage interview, and we want to help you avoid making the same mistake.
Firstly, you need to analyse the job description. Truly understanding what role you are applying for, the role responsibilities, the proposed salary, and the working hours will go a long way when answering those role-specific screening questions.
Once you understand what type of role you have applied for, you can begin researching the company. Try to find answers to the following question:
- What industry do they work in?
- What products/services do they offer?
- How long have they been in business?
- What are their values, goals and morals?
You will find answers to these questions on the company’s website and social media profiles. If you can understand the company and what they’re looking for, you can use your experience and personality as selling points in the screening process.
HINT – An employer will love it if you demonstrate your research by mentioning a recent company event or milestone. It will show them you’re serious about this opportunity.
Big Yourself Up In Your Screening Interview
Now that you understand the company and role you have applied for, it is time to put your knowledge into practice.
The most important thing that any candidate can have in an interview is confidence. Being proud of your achievements and assured of your skills will show a potential employer that you’re hiring material.
Some people naturally show more confidence and personality than others, and we understand it can be hard to talk positively about yourself. Here is an article by Indeed that will help you sell yourself in an interview.
You must be confident in your experience and abilities when applying for roles. You must take this internal belief and project it to the recruiter conducting your screening interview.
As well as presenting your qualifications and experience, it is vital that you show off your personality.
At AvA-V, we ask all candidates questions about their personal life. Questions such as: What do you like to do at weekends? What makes you unique? What does a typical evening look like for you?
These questions help us understand you as a person and whether you’d fit in nicely with the rest of the business.
These questions can help you to shine and allow you to highlight why you should be hired. Preparing some answers about yourself will go a long way in your screening process!
Remember your Manners
Understanding how to big yourself up goes hand in hand with being polite and using manners during your screening interview.
Employers will understand your manners before you say your first word via punctuality and appearance.
Punctuality sets the tone for the rest of the interview. Arriving 5-10 minutes before the agreed time shows an interview that you are organised, dedicated and serious about your application. If you are late for an interview, you should apologise and let the recruiter know you will be there ASAP.
Combine your punctuality with the correct tire. Dressing well will again show the recruiter you are serious about the opportunity.
Some companies have a dress code that everybody in the business adheres to, information that you may be able to find online. You should dress in general smart attire if you cannot find the company dress code anywhere. Shirts and ties, tops or dresses are your best bet if you are unsure what to wear to a screening interview.
Now that you’ve made a strong first impression, you must maintain your manners throughout the conversation.
Small talk is a fantastic way to get the ball rolling. You don’t need to dive into business as soon as the interview starts; you can first engage the recruiter by exchanging pleasantries.
Other key points to consider:
- Make eye contact
- Speak clearly
- Listen and digest questions before answering
- Thank the interviewer
Each of these tips will help you engage with the interviewer throughout the screening interview and, if followed correctly, will help you stick as a memorable candidate at the front of the mind.
You may have done your research, dressed smartly, arrived on time and exchanged pleasantries with the recruiter, but you now need to understand how to digest and convey information to aid your success.
Make your points concise and avoid waffling – You only have a limited time to make a strong impression in the screening process. According to The Undercover Recruiter, a third of employers know whether to hire a candidate within the first 90 seconds of an interview. Communicating your most important points and pitching yourself as the perfect candidate is vital to stand a chance.
Stay positive – When discussing any topic or answering a tricky question, it is crucial you remember to focus on the positives. If asked about stumbling blocks or pain points, use this as an opportunity to spin the question and discuss times you overcame obstacles with a clever and unique solution.
Lean into the pauses – With lots of screenings taking place via phone or zoom, you may encounter some technical issues or awkward silence whilst you wait for a response. Don’t be panicked by silence: let the conversation breathe. You should also leave a beat or two after each question to ensure that they’ve finished speaking. It is also okay to ask an interviewer to repeat themselves if you didn’t hear or don’t quite understand a question.
Do a practice run – A reported 92% of candidates say that mock interviews are must-haves before the real deal. Setting up a trial interview before your screening session can help ease nerves and relax you for when the real thing comes. Asking a friend or family member to lend you half an hour to run through some questions can provide you with a significant advantage over your fellow applicants.
Smash your Screening Interview with the Help of AvA-V
Screening interviews allow candidates to introduce themselves in a welcoming and isolated environment.
If you’ve recently applied for a new role, it is highly likely that you’ll have to go through an initial round of screening before you can think about progressing to the next round.
Don’t be scared by this prospect – it could be the catalyst to your success!
Hopefully, the tips and tricks discussed throughout this blog will go a long way to helping you secure your dream role.
If you’re looking for a new role, try using these tips for one of our open vacancies.
At AvA-V, we pride ourselves on a fair and thorough screening process. We treat all candidates fairly and give everybody the same opportunity to present themselves in the best possible light. You will stand out as a great candidate to a recruiter if you give the interview your all.