Initial Screen Interview
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Congrats! Your resume managed to get you introduced to companies and you now need to demonstrate your worth through rounds of interviews. The human resource (HR) department has contacted you for an initial screening.
The initial screening is a fact-finding mission for the HR department to weed out undesirable candidates and spot any potential red flags, so that the hiring manager has a top notch applicant pool. If you have the skills and qualifications for the job, and are able to convey interest and fit for the position, you will most likely be invited for a standard interview.
You will often be briefed on the history of the company, and it's mission, along with any impending changes that are related to the job position. You will likely be introduced to the purpose of the department, along with a more detailed description of the job.
Take notes during the interview, especially if there are particular areas that you want to follow up on. If you are on a phone interview, explain that you are taking notes so that the silence would not be misunderstood.
You will be asked about your work experience (in reverse chronological order) and relevant education. Be prepared to talk about your position and duties, and the reasons for leaving a company.
Tips for acing the interview
Choose a time that is suitable for you.
Reschedule if you are unable to make the initial time, and suggest two alternatives.
Set aside at least 30 minutes when you would not be interrupted, and be prepared in case the interview goes overtime.
Ensure that you have no distractions (turn off your phone, get off Facebook).
Plan to arrive 15 minutes before the interview
Review the job description.
Understand the position that you are applying for, so that you can articulate why you are a perfect fit, and how your experiences match their employment needs.
Link your qualities to the characteristics that they are looking for.
Review your resume
Identify the relevant areas that you want to highlight. If necessary, send an updated resume and request them to use it instead.
Be prepared to emphasize any work / project / experience that is relevant.
If you are unable to hear or understand, ask them to repeat the question.
Ensure that you are answering the question that they are asking.
If they repeat the question after you gave a lengthy answer, that is a sign that you misunderstood their intention. If you are still uncertain, clarify.
It is better to be honest and explain any mitigating scenarios, instead of trying to fudge the details.
Furthermore, you can be fired for lying during your interview.
Be enthusiastic and lively
They are looking for people who are excited about the job and the company. A lack of interest would work against you, especially in comparison to other candidates.
For phone or video interviews, you often need to be more lively in order for the emotions to be conveyed through the wire.
Be prepared. Practice beforehand
Rehearse answers to typical questions, so that you know what to say. However, do not be overly rehearsed.
Address any concerns that they might have.
Prepare a list of questions that demonstrates your interest in the position.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Walk me through your resume.
- Tell me more about your experience in ...
- How did your use of [skill] impact your performance in ...
- What other jobs are you applying for?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
Company / Job position
- Why are you interested in this position [company]?
- What makes you a good candidate?
- What do you know about [company]?
- Tell me something about yourself that is not listed on your resume.
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Who is your strongest influence?
- Tell me about your biggest failure.
At the end of the interview
- What questions do you have for me?
- Are there any aspects that you feel we have not covered in detail?