What’s A Preliminary Interview?


The preliminary interview, also known as the pre screening interview questions is part of the hiring process to create an excellent first impression with the hiring manager.


It’s the first step of the interview process used by hiring managers to screen candidates.


One way to leave a good impression on hiring managers is to prepare for preliminary questions.


Do you want to become successful in the preliminary interview?



Preliminary Interview In The Selection Process


Think of preliminary interviews as an initial meeting to help hiring managers collect information and share the job description.


Its primary purpose is to find the best candidates possible.


Employers often ask preliminary questions for interviews which include your personal and professional goals.


Also, it would help if you kept in mind that a pre-screening interview could only take about 30 minutes or less.


As a candidate, your goal is to be shortlisted for the next stage. That’s why you must try to stand out from the rest of the candidates.


Preliminary Interview: Why Do We Need One?


One of the common mistakes a lot of candidates make is taking the preliminary interviews too casually.


Never make the same mistake unless you don’t want to make it to the next stage. Ensure that you have prepared for pre screening interview questions that you will learn later.


Remember, pre-interview questions are the tools used by recruiters to screen out unsuitable candidates whom they feel do not align with the company’s values or needs.


They also use it to decide whether your skills as a candidate will be valuable to the company.


Similarly, how you answer will help employers determine your willingness and determination.


Two interviewers conducting a preliminary interview and asking an interviewee pre screening interview questions.
A preliminary interview is an initial interview that recruiters use to identify potential talents that they can proceed with in the later portion of hiring stages.


How To Ace Your Preliminary Interview?


It’s always a good idea to prepare before any interview as this will help you answer the questions with confidence.


Do you want to create an excellent first impression and ace the preliminary interview?


Here are some ideas to help you accomplish the pre-screening for a job.



1) Research the company


Hiring managers will be assessing how knowledgeable you are about the company.


It would help if you did some research about the company before you accept a preliminary interview.


One of the best ways to do this is to identify what products and services they provide.


Who their top clients are and come up with compelling reasons why you’re interested in working for that company.


2) Do not take Your Preliminary Interview lightly


Never take preliminary interviews lightly.


You have to remember, that the businesses of today approach recruitment in different ways.


The recruitment process has become very dynamic which makes preliminary interviews a vital part of the new recruitment process.


Remember, employers, view preliminary interviews as a way to filter through the bulk of candidates to narrow their options.


For this reason, it can cost you the job if you take it lightly.


So make sure you understand how it works, get familiar with the structure, and appreciate its purpose.


3) Make an elevator pitch


What is an elevator pitch?


A good elevator pitch will grab people’s attention and make them genuinely interested in you.


It can even help you land your dream job and even help you establish a lasting relationship with your ideal client.


When preparing for an elevator pitch, make sure it doesn’t exceed 30-seconds long but is short enough to get your message across.


As the name suggests, your speech should come through as quickly as an elevator ride.


Here’s how to make a good elevator speech.


4) Rehearse the answers to the most common questions


Whether it is a preliminary phone interview or a face-to-face interview, the most important thing is to answer the questions with confidence.


With that being said, the key is to spend time getting comfortable with the questions that might be asked of you.


Moreover, hiring managers often opt for frequently asked questions to get to know each candidate.


So, be prepared to answer such questions as who you are, your strengths, and why you think you’re fit for the job.


A woman at a kitchen table is preparing for her preliminary interview by listing out potential pre screening interview questions.
Preparing for your preliminary interview consists of identifying potential preliminary interview questions, preparing answers for them and researching up on the company.


5) Try to stand out


You want to come out as the best applicant during the initial interviews, and you want them to know that.


One of the most effective ways to convey that message is to express positivity, excitement, and vibrancy through your voice and demeanor.


On the other hand, the fastest way to impress during the preliminary interview is through referrals and recommendations.


Also, a winning online portfolio, resume, and cover letter are a big plus.


Similarly, having a good understanding of what is the purpose of the interview will help you get the edge.


6) Write a follow-up email, message, or letter to the recruiter or employer


Writing a follow-up email, a letter, or message is the most professional way of displaying your professionalism and provides a base for the recruiter or employer to reply you to.



Pre Screening Interview Questions & Preliminary Interview Questions


Are you wondering what are the pre screening interview questions that are often asked?


If you’re not yet familiar with pre screening interview questions, continue reading to familiarize yourself.


Here are some of the frequently asked questions in a preliminary interview:


1) Please tell me a little bit more about yourself.


This is one of the classic pre-screen interview questions.


While it’s something that we often asked since grade school, it’s different when you’re asked about it during a job interview.


So how do you answer this question in a profound way that will help you land your dream job?


Here’s a simple formula to answer this question from Lily Zhang, a writer at The Muse:


  • Talk about the present: Tell the hiring manager about your current role including the scope, and your most recent accomplishment.
  • Talk about the past: Talk about how were you able to get there. You can even mention past experiences. But make sure it’s relevant to both the position and the company you’re applying for.
  • Speak about the future: Lastly, talk about what you want to do next and why you’re the person fit for the job.


Similarly, you can improve your answers as you see fit. Whatever your response is, make sure it aligns with the work and the company.


Additionally, one of the best ways to end is to segue into why you’re there. Remember, the goal is to leave your interviewer with an impression that you’re the best person for them.


Learn how to answer the classic question of “Tell me about yourself” in a job interview.


An interviewer asking preliminary interview questions to a group of interviewees.
Identifying preliminary interview questions and pre screening interview questions are critical to forming well-prepared answers that can ace a group interview.


2) What makes you want to work for us?


Remember, the goal is to leave your interviewer with an impression that you’re the best person for them.


So here’s an in-depth guide to answering the classic question of “Tell me about yourself” in a job interview.


Here are some steps to do this.


Study the company website


Hiring managers and recruiters ask this question to determine how much you know about the company.


The excited candidate knows not only the company but the company’s history, background, and mission statement as well.


The best places to start are the “About Us” and “Careers” pages. These sections often hold information about the company culture.


Also, know their products and services, their customers, the awards they received, and their important milestones.


Take the time to read their blog, read their articles, and familiarize their brand voice, including the topics they covered and the common themes.


Analyze the job description


In addition to the company website, you must understand the job description.


The interviewer is looking for candidates with a deep understanding of their role and the duties that come with it.


Take time to read the job description until you have good knowledge.


Lastly, take note of the information that tells why the company is an excellent place to work.



Look at their social media accounts


One of the best ways for pre-interview preparation is through the company’s social media accounts. Company postings on different social media platforms tell about the company values.


So, pay close attention to industry-related news, comments, and feedback.


You can also search the Company Review section. You’ll learn a lot about the company through comments from current and previous employees.


Take note of the pieces of information that you find interesting or relevant to your career goals.


This will help you reflect on these pieces of information during the preliminary interview.


Align your core values to the company


Once your core values and career goals align with the company, it’s easy for recruiters to determine if you’re a good fit for the job.


But, do you know your core values? Here are good questions to ask yourself with:


  • What is the company culture you want to be working in?
  • What are the qualities that make strong and healthy relationships?
  • What’s your motivation?
  • What are the qualities you admire in your role models?
  • List the kind of qualities you think will help you reach your future goals
  • What are the qualities that you wish to improve for yourself both personally and professionally?
  • Mention your career objectives


First, you need to create a list of what you love about the job. Second, compare it with your career goals.


And last, identify how the position will help you reach your goals.


Then, when you answer the recruiter, mention the things from the job posting that align with your career goals and highlight the tasks that your skills will add value to.


3) What is your motivation in looking for a new job?


The best answer is brief and detailed.


That means, whatever your answer is, back it up with some examples from your research, work experience, and extracurricular activities.


However, it should be relevant to the skills and knowledge concerning the job you’re applying for.


Likewise, you can also mention the things that you enjoy doing, your broader interests, what you wanted most in your previous jobs, and tasks that you’re great at.


4) In terms of salary, what are your expectations?


Salary expectations are part of the preliminary interview questions.


This will help recruiters and hiring managers evaluate whether your expected salary matches the company’s offer.


But, how do you answer this question during an interview?


Here are some steps to help you answer this question during an interview.



Determine the salary offered for the position


It’s important to provide a competitive salary request that aligns with the market average.


The best place to start is to research the average salary for the position you’re applying for in your city or state.


Provide a salary range


Instead of giving a definite answer, you can give the employer a salary range. However, make sure the range is tight, not exhaustive.


For example, if you want a salary of $75,000 a year, a good range could be $73,000 to $78,000.


Make sure to keep your range below a $10,000 difference.


What Comes After A Preliminary Interview?


An interviewer thanking an interviewee after a successful preliminary interview.
Following up on a preliminary interview is a critical sign to employers that you are intent to join and add value to their company.


One of the most effective ways is to come across as the best candidate for the job.


However, what you do post-interview can influence the hiring process.


According to research, a vast majority of applicants underestimate the power of thank you notes.


After the preliminary interview, it’s best to send the recruiter a handwritten note or a thank you email for their time.


But make sure they know you’re looking forward to hearing from them and you’re interested to learn more about the role.


Furthermore, the best practice when sending a thank you note or email to a recruiter is within 24 hours.


When checking on your application status, do it after five business days after the preliminary interview.


Also, please give them the details of why you’re calling to check on your application. Include these items on your call:


  • Your full name
  • The position you’re applying for
  • The date of the interview
  • The name of the hiring manager


Here’s a pro-tip: Even if you’re not qualified, thank you notes are a great way when building your network.


If you’re successful with the preliminary interview, you can proceed to the second stage of the interview.



Prepare For Your Preliminary Interview & Pre Screening Interview Questions


Never underestimate any part of the interview process, even though it may seem informal.


Remember, today’s business has all sorts of hiring processes to qualify only the best applicants.


With that said, the purpose of a preliminary interview is to remove the wrong candidates.


Similarly, it’s crucial to come across as the best person for the job.


The most effective way to do this is to conduct your research about the company, understand the job description, and ensure that your skills and values align with the company and the role you’re applying for.


Lastly, don’t forget to follow up and send thank you notes.


This shows that you’re grateful for their time, and it leaves a good impression on the interviewer.



What type of questions are asked in a preliminary interview?


1) Please tell me a little bit more about yourself.
2) What makes you want to work for us?
3) What is your motivation in looking for a new job?
4) In terms of salary, what are your expectations?


Why is preliminary interview important?


Think of preliminary interviews as an initial meeting to help hiring managers collect information and share the job description. Its primary purpose is to find the best candidates possible. As a candidate, your goal is to be shortlisted for the next stage. That’s why you must try to stand out from the rest of the candidates.


What is the difference between preliminary interview and employment interview?


Preliminary interviews are the first touch points an interviewer would have you. These are usually over the phone or via a zoom call. They are tools used by recruiters to screen out unsuitable candidates whom they feel do not align with the company’s values or needs.

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