Interview Process: Understanding How it Unfolds

Interview Process

An interview typically proceeds through various stages. Following is an overview of the interview process:

The Pre-Screening Interview

Pre-screening interviews take place when HR needs to narrow the field based on strictly objective criteria or needs to confirm some facts. For instance, if you are applying to a job abroad, HR may want to call you and discuss your expectations before asking you to fly in for an interview.

First-Round Interview

The first-round interview is a chance for the hiring manager to put a face to your application and gain more insights into your qualifications. It’s also an opportunity for the hiring manager to assess your fit and narrow the pool of candidates to a manageable size for second-round interviews. You will rarely receive a job offer after a first interview, unless you are applying at a small or medium-size business and spoke to the owner, or if you are applying to a job that is more clerical in nature.

Second-Round Interview

The second-round interview normally takes place with people with whom you’ll be working, should you be offered a position. It’s the team’s opportunity to have its say on who to hire and whether there is chemistry. You normally have more than one person attending the interview and the interview may take place in an informal setting, outside of the office environment (e.g. lunch at a restaurant).


After each interview, it is critical that you follow-up. An interview does not end when you step outside the room. Oftentimes, how a candidate follows-up will be indicative of the candidate’s interest in the position. This can play a critical role in shaping the hiring manager’s impression of the candidate in retrospect. Indeed, once the interview is over, all that remains are the interviewer’s notes and what he remembers of the interview.

Reference Checks

If you are asked to give references, this means that you are close to receiving the job offer. The organization is making a background check to cover its bases. Make sure to choose the right people to vouch for you and inform them ahead of time to expect a phone call.

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