Based on insights into who is really getting the job (plus exactly how they do it), this podcast is a new and simple approach to job interview preparation. Each episode is only five minutes long. This way, you can make progress even if you only have a couple of minutes. It contains one specific topic, gives you the relevant background and a clear and simple, step-by-step approach to help you prepare the perfect answers.
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Employers use screening calls to decide whether or not it’s worth moving the applicant forward to the next stage of the hiring process. In this episode, I share a simple, five-step approach to help you ace that first call.
Hi and welcome to today’s episode, which is about preparing for screening interviews. These interviews, which usually don’t last longer than 15-30 minutes, are often conducted by one of the company’s recruiters, who want to assess whether or not it’s worth moving the applicant forward to the next stage of the hiring process. And, apart from positioning yourself as the right candidate, you will have the chance to ask smart questions that can help you determine if the job is right for you and provide valuable information that can save you time when preparing for the next round of interviews. So, let me share a simple, 5-step approach to help you ace that first call. If you want to dive deeper into any of these steps, tune in to my previous episodes.
Step 1: Your understanding of the role
Make sure you can summarize what the position is about and the results that the successful candidate will deliver in it. There are 3 reasons for this step being so important: first, it will enable you to focus on the most relevant things when answering questions during the screening interview; second, the recruiter might ask you what your understanding of the role is, and having an answer prepared can save you a lot of nerves during the call and, finally, it will enable you to ask the right questions. So, re-read the job description and summarize the role in 3-4 sentences.
Step 2: Your motivation
The recruiter will likely ask you why you are interested in the position. They want to make sure you are genuinely motivated to join their organization and have the right expectations towards the role. A good answer covers why it would make you proud to join the company, why it is an excellent cultural fit and why it is the right position for you. For example, a candidate applying to a company specializing in healthcare technology might say, “There are a couple of reasons why I want to work here. One is your track record of improving healthcare with innovative technology. I want to make an impact with my work, and, as part of your team, I could help solve some of the biggest healthcare problems. Also, I like that diversity is one of your core values. Working in a diverse environment inspires me and helps me broaden my horizons. Having worked in 5 different countries, I’m convinced I can add new perspectives to your team, and I like the role because I can contribute with my project management skills and 10+ years of industry experience. At the same time, with the additional responsibilities and the technology-focus of the role, it feels like a great next career step for me.”
Step 3: Your background
Be prepared to give a summary of your background and what you do at your current job. Your focus should be on what is most important for the role you are interviewing for, which you already identified in step 1. For example, let’s say you applied as an HR manager at a smaller company offering customer support services. In that case, a good answer could be, “I have 8 years of HR experience from companies such as X and Y. As an HR assistant, I facilitated various HR processes. For example, I improved the onboarding process, which resulted in a 30% increase in the new hire satisfaction score. After my promotion to HR specialist, I focused on employee development. One of my main responsibilities was setting up an entirely new leadership program for senior managers, which 95% of the 75 participants rated as highly valuable. Currently, I am an HR business partner for the customer service unit at company X. I have been responsible for a re-organization and for establishing new HR processes, and the unit’s Employee Net Promoter Score is now the highest in the entire company; also, as a result of the new performance management system I introduced, customer satisfaction has improved by 25%.”
Step 4: Prepare for uncomfortable questions
The recruiter wants to identify potential red flags as early in the recruitment process as possible. Therefore, if you, for example, have changed jobs often, are applying for this position after just recently starting in your current role or have gaps in your resume, you should be prepared to answer potential questions addressing these points.
Step 5: Your questions
As mentioned before, the recruitment process is not a one-way street, so take the chance to ask questions. At the end of the screening interview, you should have a clear understanding of the position to make an informed decision as to whether or not you still are interested in it. So, ask about any aspect that might be important to you, such as whom you would report to, the size of the team or the types of projects you would work on. If not clearly stated in the job description, you could also ask what the 2-3 most important results are that a successful person in this position would deliver, which can help you focus on the right things in the following interviews. And to understand the next steps in the recruitment process, you could ask when they plan to fill the position, whom you would have the next interview with and if there are any specific areas you should prepare for, such as a case interview, behavioral interview questions or any types of tests.
TheThese were the 5-steps to preparing for a screening call. Thanks for listening, and I hope this was helpful to you.