From the course:
Ultimate Job Interview Masterclass: Secret sauce, Practical guideline and a Powerful framework
Today, we will see the HR screening interview: what to expect here and how to crack it. Let’s get started.
Purpose of the HR screening interview
First, let’s look at the purpose of an HR screening interview. It is about understanding if you are a good match for this company. If you are not a very good match for this company and the company invites you to the next steps of the job interview, it will cost them more money and cost them more time. That’s why HR takes a screening interview to understand if you are a good match for this company.
Are you a good cultural match or a good cultural fit for this company? Where are you coming from? What’s your background? Will you be able to work with the company and existing team members? Do you fit culturally? They will try to understand that part. HR people are very experienced and take a lot of interviews; after talking with you for a couple of minutes, they will be able to tell if you will fit culturally in this company or not.
Then they will also try to understand if you have the right skillset. So the qualities they want for this job, do you really have those skills for this position? They’ll try to understand that. They have already read your CV, and they thought that it might be that you are a good match for the next steps. But they will try to understand you. They will try to speak with you, and they will try to really see if you are a good match.
And they will also try to see if you’re motivated well-enough for this company or for this project. For example, if you are very skilled, you’re a perfect cultural match for the team. Still, maybe you are not that motivated for this company and this project. Then what would happen after joining the company? You will leave the company after a couple of months. In that case, the company has to find a new employee, which will cost them a lot of time and money. That’s why they would try to understand if you are highly motivated.
Steps of the HR screening interview
Now, let’s look at the steps of the HR screening interview.
HR emails/calls to schedule the interview date
At first, the HR will email or call you to schedule an interview date.
- They will give you some probable dates in the email or on the phone.
What I do is I try to accept the earliest possible date because in that case, I can start the interview much quicker. I’m in the pipeline much quicker, and I can get the feedback quicker. I always try to take the earliest possible date. But if you think that it’s a challenging recording interview and you need some time in that case, try to take it later. Otherwise, I will try to take the earliest date possible.
- Then another important tip is, always keep your phone open.
If you are outside of the country, you may also consider enabling your roaming. Why? I have a friend who applied for a job in Germany. Then he went to the USA for some vacation trips. Fortunately, he turned on his roaming at that time, and he got a call from HR, where he applied for a job before going on vacation. So that’s very handy because if you turn off your phone or if you are roaming outside of the country and there’s no roaming turned on, what will happen? HR will try to reach you, and they will fail. So always try to be available.
- And the last tip here is that when you receive a phone call, talk politely.
Some people just receive the call, and they talk very harshly. They say, “Hey! Hello, who are you?” Don’t talk like that. Talk very politely. You can tell your name at first, e.g.
Hello, I'm Junaed speaking, and just wait, and they will tell you who they are.So speak politely with a soft, nice voice.
Phone/ Video call with HR
Then the next thing is the phone or video call with HR as you have scheduled the date. Now they will call you. It can be a Skype call, or it could be a phone call.
- The first question comes in mind, how should you dress if it is a video call?
- So the dress-up depends on the position, the country, the company culture you are being interviewed for.
- I’m a software engineer. I wear a very casual dress. In the winter, I wear only hoodies. I wear only a shirt in the summertime, maybe a white shirt or a blue collared shirt, but no fancy multicolored dress.
- If you’re interviewing for a sales or marketing position, you might want to wear a cold or much nicer dress.
- So, you should decide based on your position. But always wearing a coat is not a bad option, even if you are being interviewed for a software engineering position.
- And it also depends on the country which you are interviewing for. For example, if my interview is in Germany, I just wear a shirt or a hoodie, which is totally fine. But maybe in some other countries, they will expect you to wear a coat. So it depends on the country. It depends on the position. So think about that.
- The duration is usually 30 minutes, but it depends. Sometimes it goes longer; sometimes, it goes shorter.
- And one more tip is always to keep a pen and paper with you to take some notes because they will tell you about the team size and the working hours. And they might give some valuable information you will need in the next step of the interview, e.g. which skills are most important for this position, what type of candidate they are looking for, etc. So keep a pen and paper with you and take some notes. And you can also write on your computer. It depends on you, but the main point is to take notes.
HR describes the job:
The next step is that HR will describe the job to you.
- Usually, the first question they will ask you is, “Tell me about yourself.” In my other videos, I have shown how to tell about yourself, what mistakes to avoid, and templates for freshers and experienced. I have also shown how I tell about myself in detail in my course. Some people only tell their name and so on. That’s a very big mistake. In short, you should tell me about yourself in a way so that HR understands that you are the perfect match for this position. So prepare well for telling me about yourself and see my other videos.
Some important questions:
And then the next step will be some discussion, on your skill and so on.
For experienced candidates
One of the must questions for the experienced candidates is, why do you want to leave your current company? So get prepared for this.
- Maybe you are looking for growth opportunities with more challenges.
- Never blame your current company or blame your current colleagues.
- Don’t tell that, the project is very bad. I don’t like the project. I don’t like those colleagues. Never, ever tell something like that.
One very important question for the fresher is: “Tell me about a project or the most challenging problem you have solved in your university.”
- You should be prepared to tell one or two projects of your university and what challenges you have there. Some people think that, oh, in the university, I did some little projects, but it doesn’t matter. The interviewer knows that you are a fresher. You are coming from the university, and you did some small projects. But what did you learn from there?
You can tell that,
- I learned how to find solutions. I searched a lot on the internet. I read a lot of solution approaches, and I found which one was the best.
- I learned how to work in a team.
- I learned how to give presentations in front of others.
- I learned how to talk with clients (in my case my teacher gave the project, so he was my client) and take requirements.”
- In real life, customers will give the requirement. In my reference, my teacher gave me requirements.
- I brought new ideas to the project. I read a lot of books. I use these types of technologies.
Suppose you are being interviewed for marketing or sales or management; in that case, you can tell that, I arranged this workshop and that workshop. I organized this seminar. I worked as a volunteer. A lot of things you can tell, and tell the challenges you faced.
- E.g., it was not that easy to organize because the time was very short. But you learned how to manage deadlines and how to finish the task within the deadline. This example will help you during the interview because you will have a lot of time pressure with deadlines in real life. And that’s also an excellent example of what you learned and some challenges you faced.
Then they will ask about your expected salary. It’s a tricky question, but why does HR ask this question?
- They ask to understand if your salary range is within their budget. For example, suppose the budget is a maximum of 50k, and you are asking for 80k. In that case, HR will understand that there’s no point in moving forward because that will cost both of your time. That’s why sometimes HR asks for the salary range.
- You can also ask what’s the salary range for this job. If they tell you the salary range and it doesn’t match your expectations, then moving to the next steps will waste your time. But, you can still want to move to the next steps if you have no other option in your hand, and you will get an experience of an interview.
- But how do you answer if they ask about your salary expectation? My tip is, don’t tell your expected salary. Don’t give a fixed number. But suppose you already know their range, it is a famous company, and you searched on glassdoor, and you already know about their salary. You can tell that, the standard salary you offer is okay for me. I searched in the glassdoor for the ranges of payment. Or maybe some friends are working there, and you can tell that, Hey, I searched on the internet, and I found the salary range that works for me. But if you don’t know, you can ask, “What is your salary range?” Most of the time, they will tell you their salary range.
- But sometimes they don’t tell you their salary range and they put pressure on you. They say, you tell us how much you expect. Our salary range varies a lot, blah, blah. If they give that kind of pressure, then you provide a range. The tip is don’t give an exact digit during the phone screening. Give the range that my expectation is 50k to 80k. Give a big range so that at the end of the interview, if you like the company, and if they want to hire you, then you can have the possibility to negotiate. So don’t give a fixed digit at this early stage. Give a range for the salary.
More tips for the HR Screening interview
Now we will see some more tips for the screening interview.
Throughout the screening interview, show that you are highly motivated. Your voice tone matters. Talk with a voice tone that sounds very motivating. And also, throughout the interview, mention that you are very excited to work for this company. You are very excited to work on this project. It sounds like a very challenging project, and you are very motivated.
Also, tell them that you are an excellent team player. You can tell that you worked with many people in the university, and you bonded with some team working there, or you’re currently working with many people. You are a pretty good team player. You help people. You help colleagues, and you communicate with colleagues exceptionally well.
Also show that you are a very quick learner. So you can also mention the university. If you’re a fresher, you can tell that you learned a lot of things in a very short time in the university because you’ve had a lot of coursework. You had a lot of projects, and in a very short time, you had to deliver a lot of things, the exams, the projects, and so on, and some may be volunteer activities. And you know how to tackle that. And you are a very quick learner. In your job, if you’re working now, you can also tell that you learn very quickly. You have learned different technologies and things, and you can learn very quickly.
Also show that you are an excellent problem solver. You can take extra steps to solve the problem of the business. You should also explain that you have a problem-solving attitude.
I hope these tips will help you. Have a nice day.
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