Screening Interview: Everything You Need To Know

A screening interview is an excellent opportunity to stand out from the crowd and impress the interviewer. You can emphasize your genuine interest in a position, as well as your excitement for a company and the value you could bring to a position, even in a brief phone interview.

Preparing for a screening interview successfully takes time and research. In this article, we’ll go over some questions you should be prepared to answer during the screening interview, as well as some preparation advice.

What is a Screening Interview?

A screening interview is a step in the recruiting process during which a recruiter assesses a job applicant’s suitability for a position and determines whether to add their name to a shortlist of candidates for hire. When applying for a job, this is usually the first interview an applicant will have.

Employers use this interviewing method to distinguish eligible candidates from unsuitable prospects. It entails a brief discussion in which simple questions are asked to assess a candidate’s qualifications in relation to essential job requirements. This interview is significant for several reasons, including:

It enables a candidate to get the recruiter’s attention: This is likely to be your first significant engagement with an employer representative, so take advantage of the opportunity to impress the recruiter with your communication skills, responses to interview questions, appearance, body language, and professionalism.

It allows a candidate to learn more about the role and the company: A recruiter will usually tell an applicant a little about the job opportunity and the firm during the screening interview, so this can be a wonderful method to get an insider’s perspective on the job you’re applying for and the organization.

It’s an opportunity to show that you’re the right person for the job: The recruiter uses a screening interview to see if a candidate meets the job’s basic standards, therefore this is your time to show that you meet or surpass their expectations.

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What to Expect During a Screening Interview

During a screening interview, you can expect to hear:

Timing: You might expect a screening interview after applying for a job. This is the first step in the recruiting process. It’s likely to happen after you’ve submitted your job application but before you’re called in for an in-depth interview with the hiring manager, for example.

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Setting: This event could take place in several different settings. For example, you could be interviewed over the phone, through video conference, in a face-to-face meeting at the employer’s location, or in a casual setting.

Duration: When compared to the second and third interviews done later in the employment process, this recruitment event normally contains a relatively brief meeting.

Interview questions: When compared to the second and third interviews done later in the employment process, this recruitment event normally contains a relatively brief meeting.

Interviewer: Unlike the interviews that take place during the later stages of a process of recruitment, you’re likely to be interviewed by a junior representative of the hiring manager who does not have the power to choose to hire you. However, remember that your interviewer’s decision on your performance matters because the hiring manager will use it to decide whether or not to move your application forward to the next round.

Common Screening Interview Questions

Here are several questions you should be prepared to answer in a screening interview:

  • What qualities do you seek in a job?
  • Tell me about your background?
  • What prompted you to leave your most recent position?
  • What are your present responsibilities at work?
  • What drew you to this role in the first place?
  • What kind of remuneration are you seeking?
  • Which management style do you prefer?
  • If you were chosen for this position, when would you be able to start working?
  • So far, what has been your proudest achievement?
  • What are your advantages? What are some of your flaws?
  • In five years, where do you see yourself?
  • What methods do you use to deal with stress?
  • What drives you to succeed at work?
  • What makes you so special that we should recruit you?
  • Do you have any queries about this position in particular?

How to Prepare for a Successful Screening Interview

To prepare for a screening interview, follow the procedures below:  

1. Research the Company and Position  

Learning about the company and the job you’re hoping to get might provide you with the information you need to succeed at this event. To get the information you require, consult the job description, company publications such as the website, press releases, social media accounts, and employee reviews.  

2. Develop Answers for Generic Interview Questions  

During screening interviews, most recruiters ask certain questions. Prepare for them ahead of time by conducting research, preparing your responses, and revising them to eliminate any grammatical, flow, or syntax mistakes. A few examples of screening interview questions are as follows:  

  • Tell me about your background.
  • Why are you interested in working here?
  • Describe your work experience.
  • What kind of leadership style do you prefer?
  • What type of company culture do you prefer?
  • How much do you expect to be paid?
  • When will you be able to begin?
  • Can you commute to work if necessary?
  • Is it possible for you to move if necessary?  
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3. Develop Answers to Job-specific Questions  

Prepare for questions that pertain directly to the position you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a teaching position, for example, you might be asked about your bachelor’s degree or experience teaching a specific type of student, such as those with disabilities, to see if your qualifications fit the employer’s fundamental expectations. 

You’re unlikely to be asked any technical or behavioral questions. Use the job description to identify the most important qualifications in terms of education, skills, and industry experience, and make a list of how to respond to questions in these areas.  

4. Optimize your Answer Delivery  

Practice your answer delivery before the interview to impress the interviewer. To increase your confidence, replies, and the impact you create on the recruiter at the event, talk to yourself in front of a mirror or role-play with a trusted friend in advance.  

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5. Present yourself Professionally at the Event

The screening interview, regardless of where it takes place in the employment process, is a crucial step. To show your professionalism, take the following steps:  

Dress correctly under industry norms and corporate culture if you’re meeting in person or over video chat.

If the interview is over the phone, greet the interviewer, keep the conversation going, then end the interview according to standard phone etiquette.  

If you’re interviewing for the job through video chat from home, provide an appropriate background for your conversation that reflects your professionalism while also avoiding distracting the interviewer. A clean wall, for example, is an appropriate video background. Distracting surroundings, such as children playing, debris, or dogs, should be avoided at your end of the conversation.

If you’re meeting at the company or in a casual setting, schedule your time to arrive ten minutes early so you can begin the interview on the recruiter’s timetable.

If you’re being interviewed by video, make sure your internet connection and devices are up to date before the meeting so there are no problems during the interview.  

What to Do during your Screening Interview

Here are a few pointers to help you succeed in the interview:  

Find a quiet location  

Set up at least 30 minutes, assuming the screening interview will be conducted over the phone, to chat with the interviewer in a quiet setting without distractions.  

Be enthusiastic  

Make an effort to establish a rapport with the interviewer. Express your interest in the company and inquire about the timeline and next steps. If you don’t already have it, request the interviewer’s email address so you may follow up.  

Smile as you speak  

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When you’re talking about your work, when you’re asking questions, or when you’re expressing your passion for the organization, you should smile. The difference in tone will be discernible to the interviewer, and it can have a significant impact on how enthusiastic you sound about the employment.  

Be straightforward  

Make it as simple as possible for the interviewer to obtain the information they require. Directly respond to questions by being direct and to the point.  

End on a positive note  

Thank the interviewer for the opportunity to discuss the position and end the call on a positive tone. “Thank you very much for taking the time to call,” you could say. I loved what I heard about the position and the firm, and I am convinced that I would be a good fit for it. I’d like to meet you in person and go over the possibility in further detail. “What’s the next step?” says the narrator.  

What to Do After your Screening Interview?

Following are some basic strategies for making the wait easier and increasing the chances of a callback following the screening interview:  

Send a thank-you note  

Within 24 hours of the interview, send a thank-you email or handwritten note. Reiterate your interest in the post and express your gratitude for the opportunity to interview for it.  

Follow instructions  

Follow whatever directions you were provided, such as following up via email. If you didn’t get a chance to ask about the following steps during the interview, do so in your follow-up email.  

Be patient  

Be aware that your thank-you note may go unnoticed, especially if the organization is evaluating a big number of individuals. One week after the interview, and then again after two weeks, follow up.  

Begin preparing for a second interview  

You never know when you’ll be called in for another round of interviews, so be prepared to show up at any time. More research is needed to locate information on company milestones, award-winning projects, or new initiatives that isn’t readily available on the company’s website and that you can incorporate into the interview.  


Take the time to prepare for your screening interview if you want to succeed. Keep in mind that your interviewer is probably talking to a lot of people for this job.  

Keep in mind that your goal is to advance to the next round of interviews.  



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