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Know What to Say on a Job Interview

Screening Interview

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Companies use screening tools to ensure that candidates meet minimum qualification requirements.

For example, computer programs are among the tools that companies use to weed out unqualified candidates. That is why you need a scannable resume. See the Resume and Letter Center for help in creating one.

Sometimes human professionals are among the screening tools too. Interviewers who conduct screening interviews are typically skilled in determining up front whether or not there is anything about you that might disqualify you for the job.

Screening interviews typically do not attempt to determine if you are the best fit for the job. Instead they attempt to determine whether or not you are generally a good match for the job. (Subsequent interviews will determine if you are the best fit.) It is for this reason that human screeners tend to "dig for dirt" during screening interviews.

For example, interviewers conducting screening interviews might question gaps in your employment history or pieces of information that seem to be inconsistent. They might also want to know from the outset whether you will be too expensive for the company salary-wise.

Tips for maintaining your confidence during a screening interview are listed below.

  • Highlight your accomplishments and qualifications.
  • Get into the straightforward groove. Personality is not as important to the screener as verifying your qualifications. Answer questions directly and succinctly. Save your winning personality for the person making hiring decisions!
  • Be tactful about addressing salary requirements. Give a range and try to avoid giving specifics by replying, "I would be willing to consider your best offer" or "Money is not everything."
  • If the interview is conducted by phone, it is helpful to have note cards with your vital information sitting next to the phone. That way, whether the interviewer catches you sleeping or vacuuming the floor, you will be able to switch gears quickly.

Send a thank you note to each of your screening interviewers.

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For sample interview questions and tips for navigating other interview types not listed above (such as technical interviews), start at Interviews.

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Know What to Say on a Job Interview
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