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Getting Past the Screen Interview

The first in a series of types of job interviews.

This is the first in a series of types of interviews. The first we will discuss is a screen interview, which is different from a phone interview. 

This type of interview is often unexpected and is conducted by somebody who was hired to “Screen You Out." They have a list of questions that they ask in an attempt to get the number of resumes from about 10 down to three or four. These lucky three or four will be extended in the process. The other six or seven, let’s just say it’s not their lucky day.

The screener will often ask if this is a good time. Guys, if it’s not say so! Do not take the call with the kids yelling in the background or the dog barking. If you're sitting on the beach and you have radios going off, chances are, it’s not a good time.

I had a client that no matter where or when, it was never a good time. He would always make arrangements to call the company or person back. During those 15 to 25 minutes, he would pull up the company on his computer and be fully prepared to talk about the position.

The screener is looking for information provided to screen you out.  Questions like, did you graduate from college? Did you work here or there? Why did you leave? They are looking to see if your resume is in order. My advice here is not to sell this person. The screener, unlike a phone interview, is only interested in getting through this stack of resumes as quickly as possible. Always be polite and answer the question. Keep your answers short. If they want more, they will ask. The home run with this exercise is a real interview; an interview either by phone or in person. Next week, we will address the phone interview and how that differs from the screen interview.

Brian Coughlin has lived in Norton most of his life and graduated from Norton High School. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in management from the University of Massachusetts and a Master of Science degree in management from Lesley University. He is a human resource consultant and has been operating his own business for six years. Check out his company page at www.coughlinHRconsulting.com.

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