An HR screening call is one of the first things you can expect when you get a callback. It is an interview tactic that is increasingly used by hiring companies. They use it to narrow the list of candidates to a manageable number.

It’s also your opportunity to prove that you are a worthy candidate for an in-person job interview.

What Is an HR Screening Call?

As outlined in Working with Grace: Top Tips for Pre-Screen Interview Success:

“Pre-screen interviews are usually conducted by the organization’s Human Resources (HR) representatives or recruiters to narrow down applicants in the candidate selection process, saving the hiring managers time while learning more about the qualified candidates prior to the actual in-person interview.”

They are not a formality, and they are to be taken seriously. Here are some things you can expect during your HR screening call:

1. Elimination questions

The goal of a phone interview is to eliminate unqualified candidates. So, expect to get a series of qualifying questions about your skills and experience, and expectations for the job. Be succinct and answer honestly. Remember that every job is not an ideal fit.

2. Background questions

There is a good chance you will be asked to tell the interviewer about you. This is your chance to give them your best summary of your skills, experience, and why you would be a good candidate for an interview. Make sure not to ramble. Get to the point. You only have a limited amount of time.

3. Organization and job expectation questions

Many companies ask questions about the company to see if you have done your homework. So, make sure you have reviewed the company website and job description thoroughly. You will likely also be asked about salary expectations. Do your homework and ask for a number that is consistent with other professionals with your skill set and experience.

4. Tips to be successful on an HR screening call

Here are some tips to help you master your next phone interview:

  • Make sure you have a professional voicemail – you never know when a hiring company may call
  • Always answer the phone in a professional manner
  • Express gratitude for the call
  • Take the call in a quiet location
  • Have your resume and notes about the company in front of you for reference
  • Be an active listener to show engagement
  • Ask about next steps at the conclusion of the call

Remember, the goal of screening calls is not to get the job, but to secure a job interview. Learn more about the job search process by reading:

12 Common Behavioural HR Interview Questions

How to Read Between the Lines When Searching Job Postings

How to Spot a Bad Company Culture Straight from Your Interview

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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