Thursday, November 15, 2012


This will be a post about Screening Interviews.  At the bottom, please feel free to comment about your experiences with this kind of interview.


To start things off, let’s take a minute to discuss screening interviews.  These are those initial job interviews that an applicant for a position takes.  The screening interview is sometimes through a phone discussion with a Recruiter, or other times it is a brief person-to-person interview at a job fair or open house.  The purpose of these interviews is to determine initial eligibility.  My brother-in-law once used the humorous term “Sanity Check” to describe these kinds of interviews.  You want to make sure the person you are bringing in is reasonably capable and might be a decent fit for the job.  You can weed out those candidates that are not qualified.

Prior to starting the Screening Interview process, you should prepare a set list of questions that you will ask of every candidate.  For legal purposes, it is important to stick to the questions and not to stray too far.  In the event of a future lawsuit by a prospective employee, it is helpful to be able to show that you asked them the same questions you asked of every other candidate.  This should be a mix of about 30% closed-ended questions and 70% open-ended questions.

Also prior to the interview, be sure to have a developed screening criterion prepared.  Typically, a recruiter ought to be able to review the job position description and have a list of key phrases and qualities that they are looking for.  This will provide you with a guide when determining who to hire later.  You will also want to prepare an introduction and closing for the interview, to ensure all aspects of the interview are ready.

During the Screening Interview - Document, document, document.  

You will only have a few minutes with each candidate.  It is important to take good notes as these will help in deciding who to bring back for a full Employment Interview later.  After conducting a brief introduction of yourself and the company, it is time to present a general overview of the open position; this will help the candidate self-select whether a position is a fit for them.  Next, ask the candidate some questions.  Ask a few closed-ended questions first to verify a candidate’s information and to loosen the candidate up.  You can then ask the open-ended questions, which should represent the bulk of the interview.  Finally, see if the candidate has any questions and then close out the interview.

After the Screening Interviews have been completed, you will be able to use the notes that you took to compare candidates to the list of key phrases and qualities.  Those that do not meet the established criteria will not move on to the next stage of the applicant interview process.

Here is a quick checklist that you can use in determining who to bring back:

·         Did the candidate appear to understand what job they applied for?
·         Have they expressed interest in the job?
·         Did the candidate appear to possess many of the qualifications for the job?
·         Did the candidate provide reasonable answers to questions which would help determine if further interest is warranted?
·         Is there consistency between the information on the candidates resume and what the candidate is saying in the interview?

If you have a large number of qualified applicants and only a limited number of positions available, with the aid of the hiring manager, the company may need to screen further selecting the best matches for Employment Interviews.

So this is intended as the first in a series of posts about the various types of interviews that an HR Professional may have the opportunity to use.  I hope you found this first one interesting and informative.  Please feel free to comment about your experiences with different kinds of interviews.

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