Screening Interviews

In most companies, before a candidate can be seriously considered for employment with the company, he must be carefully screened by one or more members of the company. Screening interviews can take place on the phone, in person, or both.

The screening interview is the most basic interview type you can imagine. The goal is to decide whether you would be a good fit for the company, based on your skills and your personality. For this reason, making a good and lasting impression during the interview is a necessary first step to getting hired.

Though the telephone interview can certainly count as a screening interview, a screening interview can also happen face-to-face. As the telephone can be a rather informal means of communication, the interviewer may want to screen you in person so she can get a look at you and see how you interact with other people.

Screening interviews, for the most part, take place with a company recruiter or human resources professional. These are people who deal with hiring and firing people for a living. While this person may not know about the particular job for which you are applying, it is he who will be the initial driving force behind whether or not your candidacy gets pushed forward.

A screening interview will most likely be your first face-to-face encounter with an employee of a prospective company and is probably the most important of all the interviews. Passing this interview is the only way you can be considered for employment later on. Also, in passing this interview, you will have triumphed over much of the competition.


The best time to schedule your interview is 10 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Avoid Monday (too busy) and Friday (your interviewer may be thinking about the weekend).

Because the point of the screening interview is to establish yourself as a strong candidate, it is very important that you use this time to provide evidence of your skills and really use your experience to your advantage. You want the interviewer to walk away from the interview thinking there are very few candidates who are more qualified than you are. From the screening interview, you will move on to one or more of the interview types described in the following pages.

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