You will come across many types of job interviews during your career. What I have learned though is that each company has its own interview process and that process changes depending on the level of the available position..

Screening Interviews

  • Screening interviews are usually conducted on the phone and, in most cases, by an outside recruiter. The two primary types of outside recruiters are contingency search firms and retained search firms; both are hired by the company with the job opening.
  • Contingency Search Firms – These firms only get paid if they find the person who is hired to fill the position. They are seeking candidates with preferred salary ranges of $50K to $80K and generally charge 15 to 30 percent of the starting salary as a fee.. Candidates tend to be specialists in specific career fields, such as information technology or logistics. The job opening is released to a number of outside recruiters at the same time (which is why you may get multiple calls from different recruiters). They all compete to find the right candidate to fill the position as quickly as possible.
  • Retained Search Firm – There is a high likelihood that you will never hear from one of these firms because they are contracted by the company exclusively to find the “right” prestigious candidate. The preferred salary range is $70K and higher. Retained search firms typically charge 30 to 35 percent of the starting salary as a fee (although flat fees are becoming more common). A retained search firm is not in business to find you a job. “Headhunters” rarely recruit from the ranks of the unemployed. In the rare instances I have seen this happen, it has always been on the senior executive level, and the person hired had a strong ongoing business relationship with the headhunter during his or her career.
  • Inside Company Recruiters – This in-house group of employees is usually housed in the HR department. Their recruiting function generally centers on filling lower level positions traditionally released to outside recruiters.
  • In smaller or start-up companies, the screening interview is usually conducted by a company’s HR representative or by the hiring manager.

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