Acing the Pre-Screening Job Interview

Many employers today perform what are called pre-screening interviews with job candidates. These often are shorter phone or even video chats with applicants to see if it’s worth both the recruiter’s and applicant’s time to bring the candidate in for a longer interview.

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They are becoming the norm, and if you are a job candidate, you should expect to experience one during your employment search at some point.

Take a look below for a few tips on how to make the most of them. Probably the most important thing to know about pre-screening interviews is that you should treat them like any other interview and prepare accordingly.

  1. Do your research

This is basic, common-sense advice that job candidates hear over and over. And yet, some still don’t take the time to research the company they supposedly want to work for. Not doing your homework is a fast way to eliminate yourself from consideration.

If you want to give a compelling answer to the question of why you want the job, you need to know what the job entails, and so you need to study the job description. You need to know basic information about the company, such as when it started, its locations, and mission statement. To impress the interviewer, you can incorporate your knowledge of the company into your answers.

You also should learn as much as you can about the person who will be interviewing you. This is much easier to do now with social media sites such as LinkedIn. Find out about the person’s background – where they were educated, places they worked, what their interests are. This may help you to establish a rapport with the interviewer.

  1. Be ready to talk about salary

The pre-screening interview also presents an opportunity for the interviewer to find out early if you and the company are in the same ballpark with salary. This will save a lot of time and effort if there is an insurmountable gap between you and the company as far as salary expectations.

Again, a little research here will help. Before you begin throwing around figures, you should first find out what jobs like the one you want pay. There are a number of different places you can go to find this information, such as Glassdoor.

You also should provide the interviewer with a salary range, not a definite number.

  1. Show enthusiasm

You need to let the interviewer know how much you want the job, and one way to do so is by showing enthusiasm. You do this by the tone of your voice and the words you use. If you are doing a video interview, you show enthusiasm by the look on your face and the gestures you make.

  1. Put it all together

You have to be able to sell yourself, to show how your skills and experience make you the perfect person for the job. The interviewer is trying to get a sense of who you are and why the job makes sense for you, and you need to help him or her do that.

It helps to practice your pitch in advance with a friend or colleague so it is polished and persuasive.

  1. Have questions

At the end of every interview, the recruiter or hiring manager usually asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” If you want the job, you will have questions. If you don’t, it will look like you aren’t really interested in the position. And you should have questions that show you are thinking about how you can excel in the position. An example would be what skills are needed to be successful in the job, how they measure performance, how the job will evolve in the coming months, and challenges the company is facing.

Then, once you hear the answer, you say something about how X skill you have or experience because of X project fits with the employer’s needs.

  1. Follow up

During the interview you should get contact information from the interviewer and find out what the next steps are. Finally, be sure to send a thank you email.

If you haven’t done so recently, take a look at Helpmates’ current job opportunities. If one or more interests you, follow the application directions. You’re also welcome to contact the branch nearest you to register with us.

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