Graduates, are you set for success? Getting ready for your pre-screening interview

You can see the end in sight. Years of study, essays, exams & tutorials are almost over and now you’re gearing for your first professional role. I thought I’d share with you some tips that have helped me over the years. The first step in obtaining your dream job, is to prepare for the pre-screening interview.

So…what’s the pre-screen?

Pre-screening interviews are usually conducted by the HR Department or recruiter to narrow down the number of applicants in the candidate selection process.

What to do before the phone interview?

Contrary to what some people may think, you need to do some prep work before jumping on the phone and answering the recruiter’s questions.

1. Take the time to research the company and the role you’re applying for. The internet and company website are your friends. If they have an annual company report, spend time getting comfortable with the language used and how they’re performing.

2. Ask when the call will occur and how long the call will take. This allows you time to be calm and prepared and not rushing to your next class or work shift. If the recruiter calls and asks to conduct the interview at that time, politely state it isn’t an appropriate time and book in one that is.

3. I find creating a cheat sheet useful. Key facts about the company, the role, your resume, key skills you want to highlight and any questions you may want to ask. 

4. With everyone using mobiles today, I suggest screening your calls. When a call is from a number you don’t recognise and you’re not in a quiet location, allow it to go to your messages so that you can return the call at an appropriate time.

5. The phone screen will last approximately 15-20 minutes. This means you need to be succinct & clear. Practise makes progress, ensure to talk your answers through with friends and family you trust. They can provide you with some valuable feedback.

6. With such a short interview time, you won’t have much time to ask questions. Ensure to ask what the recruitment process will include and who the contact person is for any follow up that may be required. This is key to your preparation & managing your stress levels.

The interview is here, what do you do now?

Now that you’ve done your preparation, you’re ready to rock the interview.

1. The best way to show respect to the recruiter is to call on time, confirm the call duration and to keep calm on the call.

2. This is your chance to show how excited you are about the role. Don’t be afraid to speak with enthusiasm and conviction when discussing your skills, part time work experience, volunteer work and any leadership roles you may have held in your sporting organisations you’re affiliated with.

3. Connect with the interviewer by listening and answering their questions succinctly. Stay on topic and take notes during the conversation if that assists you.

4. At the end of the call, thank the recruiter for their time and confirm the next steps in the process and who the contact person is for any follow up that may be required.

You’ve finished the interview… are we done? Well, there’s a couple more things to do

The interview went well, great work! There are just a couple more things to do before you get ready for the next stage.

1. While everything is still fresh, take the time to summarise your notes. What information did you receive that would be beneficial for the next interview? What would you do differently?

2. Send a sincere thank you note to the recruiter. It’s these little notes of appreciation and thanks that go a long way to demonstrating how engaged you are in the process.

3. Take the time to reflect if this is the right role and company for you. If it is, great. We have some great tips coming up in some future blog posts for you. If not, that’s okay. Make sure to withdraw from the process professionally if you are asked to proceed to the next stage.

You’ve got this!

Natasha Facci

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