Passing Screening Interviews: What to Expect & How to Prepare

May 20, 2024

Screening interviews are often the first hurdle that job seekers face when applying for a new position.

And in an increasingly digital, remote-work setting, screening interviews are becoming a more common way for employers and hiring managers to take a quick pulse on potential candidates before diving into the full interview process.

What is a screening interview?

A screening interview is usually conducted by a Human Resources representative or someone from the hiring department and is designed to weed out unqualified candidates.

Candidates who ace their screening interview usually move on to the next round of face-to-face interviews with the main decision-makers. Those who don’t may not get that opportunity.

What to expect during a screening interview

Screening interviews tend to be shorter than traditional interviews, lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour.

During a screening interview, you can expect the interviewer to ask questions about your qualifications, experience, and goals.

The interviewer will also use this time to gauge your interest in the position and get a sense of your fit for the company.

How to pass a screening interview:

1. Research the company before a screening interview

The first step to nailing a screening interview is to do your research on the company.

You should have a solid understanding of the company’s mission, values, and goals before you even step into the interview room.

Not only will this help you answer questions more confidently, but it will also show the interviewer that you’re truly interested in the company and the position.

2. Research the position before a screening interview

In addition to researching the company, you should also take the time to learn as much as you can about the specific position you’re applying for.

Screening interviews are usually conducted by someone who isn’t familiar with all the details of the job, so it’s up to you to make sure they understand why you’re a good fit

3. Practice answers to common interview questions

While there are no guaranteed questions, there are a few screening interview staples that you can expect to be asked.

Some examples of common screening questions include:

Tell me about yourself.

Why are you interested in this position?

What are your qualifications for this role?

What are your career aspirations?

Why did you leave your last job?

You should have well-thought-out answers to these questions before you even step into the interview room or take the call.

4. Practice answers to job-specific interview questions

In addition to common interview questions, you can also expect the interviewer to ask job-specific questions.
To prepare for these types of questions, you should review the job description and research the company’s culture beforehand.

By doing this, you’ll be able to anticipate what kinds of questions the interviewer might ask and have well-thought-out answers ready.

5. Dress professionally for a screening interview

Just because a screening interview is usually conducted over the phone or via video doesn’t mean you can show up in your PJs.

You should dress professionally for a screening interview, just as you would for any other job interview.

This sends the message that you’re taking the interview seriously and that you’re interested in demonstrating a level of respect for the interviewer’s time and professionalism in the role.

More screening interview tips

Have your greetings prepared for your screening interview

Arrive 10 minutes early for an in-person screening interview

Choose a professional background for your screening interview

End your screening interview on a positive note

Send a thank you follow-up email after your screening interview

Conquering a screening interview

While they can seem informal and more relaxed, nailing a screening interview is just as important as any other phase of the interview process.

At the end of the day, acing a preliminary interview like this comes down to being prepared.

By doing your research on the company and position, practicing answers to common and job-specific questions, dressing professionally, and following up after the interview, you’ll increase your chances of making it to the next round of interviews and ultimately, landing the job.