All about Screening Interviews

A job interview has several rounds before you finally get the job. One of them is the screening interview. A screening interview is not that hard to pass once you thoroughly practice the FAQ’s.

Let’s find out more about screening interviews and what to say to recruiters during a screening call.

What is a screening interview

A screening interview is a shorter version of a job interview that is conducted to determine if a candidate is qualified for a position.

A screening interview takes place mostly over phone or video calls now a days and basic interview questions are asked about qualifications, work history, etc. On basis this, a candidate is then sent forward to the main job interview rounds.

Common Screening interview questions & how to answer them

Here are a few common questions asked during a recruiter screening call. The questions will be more personal and less technical.

Tell me about yourself

A frequently asked HR interview question, you need to know what to say to recruiters when asked Tell me about Yourself.

First of all only highlight the relevant aspects of your academic and professional career, don’t over stretch it. Be specific and to point. Go through your resume thoroughly and make a list of things you think is relevant to the job. Make a common pattern in which you say all these and do additions or deletions accordingly.

The point of this is to give an honest answer which is relevant and concise.

Why did you leave / why are you leaving the current Job?

Since every recruiter wants to hire a candidate who will be sticking around for the long term, you will find this question recurring in interviews.

It’s best to point out something that you found attractive in the job description or about the profile. You can also give answers such as you’re looking to relocate, or that you want to make yourself feel more challenged to grow, etc.

But DO NOT cite money, office politics, or anything that can be considered bad-mouthing your company while answering.

What is your greatest strength and weakness?

A recruiter asks questions like these to understand how well a candidate knows him/herself.

It is important to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses as it helps you to grow not only in your personal sphere but also in your professional sphere.

So, go through the job description posted and make a list of the skills they want and tally it with yours. The mission is to highlight strengths relevant to the job requirement.

By the way, when citing your greatest weakness keep it simple, something that you know can be fixed by a plan of action.

How do you handle stress, pressure and targets?

Stress, pressure and targets are a given in every job and therefore becomes an important task to know how to not let it hinder your work.

Recruiters ask this to understand how a candidate handles work stress for a flawless performance. You don’t want to come off as a person who crumbles under stress and pressure since it will leave a poor impression on the recruiter.

You can tell them that you will analyze the situation or the task at hand and make a suitable actionable plan, which will be executed, monitored and reviewed periodically till the Results have been achieved.  

What motivates you?

This common HR question is asked to get an idea about what gets you excited.

Now, how you answer this will give the recruiter a clear understanding of your work style, your personality, and whether or not you will be a fit in the organization.

So be frank and tell them if it the work culture or the pleasure of doing the work etc. Whatever it maybe , be positive and say it with confidence.

Why should we hire you?

Remember, recruiters prefer to hire candidates with the ability to solve a problem and help in building the brand more.

Your job is to present yourself as the best candidate. So, when answering this try matching your qualifications to the requirements of the job role and how these qualities will play out. This answer requires you to exude confidence, so make sure to practice your answer.

Also, remember you don’t want the recruiter to think that you are too full of yourself.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

This question is used to test a candidate’s determination towards the job role, your career graph, and how it aligns with the company’s goals. As stated before, recruiters prefer candidates who will be staying with the organization for the long-term.

This makes it all the more necessary for a candidate to not only study the job description thoroughly but also understand the organization’s culture and values. Without knowing these crucial factors, it will be difficult for you to come up with an answer that is relevant to the recruiter

What are your salary expectations?

As much as the recruiter finds you a suitable fit for the job, they would also love to know that they can afford you too.

Do make sure to not sound solely focussed on the remuneration when answering this question in a screening interview. Instead, before answering the question, ask about the responsibilities you need to shoulder, their expectations from you, etc. and then answer.

This will project that you are not solely focused on the salary, but also care about the requirements. Also, based on the responsibilities and the company’s expectations you can quote your numbers without sounding unrealistic.

Screening Interview tips

Now that the common screening interview questions taken care of, here are a few factors to consider on how to talk to recruiters.

Read the job description

The first thing to do before even applying for a job application is to read the job description.

The job description is the answer key to all your queries. In these job descriptions, recruiters highlight the skill sets they prioritize in a candidate.

So, going through the job description will help you assess if you are suitable for the position and can help you to frame your answers in case you lack any of the skills.

Research about the company

It’s because you will be spending almost 9 hours of 5-6 days in your office.

Hence, make it a top priority to dig up more about the company by reading reviews of the employees on third party sites. Make a list of pros and cons about the company’s work culture, its values and check if it aligns with yours since the last thing you would want is to feel stuck in a company.

Always be attentive to the questions

Given that a screening interview is a short introduction interview, you will need to pay extra attention to what the recruiter is asking and answer in a straightforward, concise yet polite way.

Whether it is a telephone screening interview or a video interview be optimistic, your objective is to take yourself forward into the next round of a job interview.

So, even if you face a setback, answer in a manner that can help you take yourself ahead.

Practice makes perfection

The best way to show your confidence in a screening interview, or for that matter any job interview, is by practicing how to answer the interview questions.

If possible, Do send a thank you email after the interview.

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