A screening interview is often one of the first of a number of interactions with a potential employer. Companies use these short telephone interviews to learn more about candidates before committing to an in-person job interview.

From a company’s perspective, screening interviews are used to narrow the candidate pool and eliminate people from contention. From a candidate’s perspective, it is your opportunity to interest the hiring companies.

Unfortunately for you, often all it takes is one slip up and you could lose your chance for an interview. To help you avoid being eliminated, our HR consultants put together a list of things you should never say during a screening interview:

1. Who is this?

Uttering these words is a quick way to take yourself out of contention. You should know who is calling, especially since you book the interview time. Also, avoid asking which job they are calling to discuss. It communicates a lack of interest in the position.

2. Sorry, I can’t hear you

Always choose a location that is quiet. You know the call is happening, so make sure you are ready to take the call and in a location free of background noise.

3. Sorry, I missed your call

Never be late for the call. Be ready to answer when they call. They may not call back. And if they do, you should have a really good reason why you missed the first call.

4. How much does the job pay?

A screening interview is not the time to bring up salary and benefits. It is too early in the interview process to discuss these topics. Hold off until the in-person interview to talk about these topics. Often, if the company is interested, they will bring it up.

5. Please hold

It’s never a good idea to put the interviewer on hold. Don’t put them on hold because someone else is calling. They should be your important call.

6. Don’t be long-winded

Keep your answers short and to the point. Screening interviews are not meant to be exhaustive. The more you talk, the more reasons you could give the interviewer to eliminate you from consideration for an in-person interview.

More Job Search Advice from HR Consultants

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Felicia Smith

Felicia is the manager of human capital solutions at AugmentHR. With over six years of recruitment experience coupled with multi-faceted HR roles, Felicia is an expert in matching people with the right role and environment. She has worked in many different industries, including investment banking, HR consulting firms, medical, and commercial. Understanding people is one of her strengths, and she has recruited at every level, from directors, project managers, and engineers to operators and general labourers. Her ability to network and develop relationships has been a key tool to her success. With approximately two years of experience managing people and creating a positive work environment, Felicia’s diverse skill set makes her a well-rounded individual. Her business education and background help her identify different business needs and human capital solutions.

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