Landing an interview, especially when search has gone on longer than you had hoped or planned for, is certainly exciting. Months of hard work, dozens of applications, and tireless networking meetings have now paid off, you’ve gotten “the call”. Understanding how to navigate the interviewing process is essential in making it through all the steps along the way to eventually get the offer. Here are some insights about each step to keep in mind as you step into the process so to avoid any missteps.
#1 – the prescreening call
These calls often come to you seemingly out of the blue and can be received while you are in the grocery store or even sitting down to dinner. Be sure to take the call and get to a place where you can have a quiet conversation, even if you have to pull over while driving. Remember that if you ask to call them back, you may lose your chance, as they will continue to call other applicants in the meantime to schedule them for interviews.
Prescreening interviews are typically made by recruiters, either internal or external. On occasion a hiring manager makes the call. That being said be sure to ask the person calling what their role is.
Prescreening interviews are short, typically 15-30 minutes. They go very quickly meaning you will have to keep your answers concise.
The goal of the prescreen is to simply and quickly determine if you as an applicant meet the minimum qualifications to move forward to an in person interview. That being said you can expect a lot of questions rooted in clarifying your experience and background. Remember the interviewer is on the other end of the phone holding the job description and your resume looking for answers that check the “must have” boxes.
You can also expect to be asked 2 key questions. Why are you looking and what do you expect to make? Do not dodge or dance around these answers. Applicants who are evasive in answering these questions more times than not do not move forward in the process.
Rarely will you be given a chance to ask a lot of questions of them, remember this is a short and quick exchange. If you do get an opportunity, at least ask what is next in the process. Avoid getting into the nitty-gritty in this step.
Next month I will address the next step in the interview, the in person interview. But to summarize the prescreen it is important to remember it will go quickly so will need to be concise and be sure to answer the questions as directly as possible so to make as easy as possible for them to determine you have the basic qualifications to do the job.