What is a Preliminary Interview? [And How is it Different from a Regular Interview?]

A preliminary interview using Zoom, Skype, or Google Meets.

A preliminary interview is a pre-screening for potential employees which is conducted before the more comprehensive regular job interview. Generally informal and sometimes done over the phone or through video conferencing, the primary purpose of a preliminary interview is to establish whether the candidate is suitable for an in-person meeting with the potential employer. 

During this conversation, employers will ask basic questions about skills, experiences, and qualifications which they believe are necessary for the job position they are trying to fill. In contrast, a regular job interview usually involves more in-depth discussion about roles and responsibilities of the position as well as any scenarios that may require problem solving techniques from candidates.

What is a preliminary interview?

Preliminary interviews are an important component of the recruitment process that can significantly influence whether candidates are chosen to progress further. They provide employers with the opportunity to assess a job applicant’s suitability and decide if they possess the minimum qualifications, skills, and attitude essential for the role.

The purpose of this initial screening is two-fold. Firstly, it enables employers to obtain information about an individual’s background and career history such as their education, qualifications and work experience.

Secondly, it provides a platform to determine whether applicants have compatible personalities with other colleagues in the company. This is achieved by asking questions related to interpersonal skills such as communication ability, problem-solving aptitude, teamwork spirit or other traits that could prove valuable for a successful engagement at the workplace.

For potential candidates vying for a position at their desired company, it’s crucial to present themselves in an authentic manner during a preliminary interview. Employers generally appreciate honest answers that demonstrate conviction – after all, enthusiasm towards one’s prospective job is often indicative of future success.

It’s also beneficial for prospective employees to research both the interviewer and organization beforehand; being informed not only gives applicants additional confidence but also shows initiative – qualities people want in others they will be working with intimately.

Overall, preliminary interviews are essential in providing employers with pertinent information about job applicants so they can make more informed decisions on whom they wish to invite for a more formal opinion assessment later down the line.

Thus it behooves job candidates to treat this initial stage seriously so they can successfully reach subsequent rounds of recruitment and hopefully land themselves their dream job soon!

How is a preliminary interview different from a regular one?

A preliminary interview is usually shorter and less formal than a traditional interview. It typically takes place over the phone or video chat and serves as a screening tool to assess whether an applicant is qualified for the job.

Recruiters will ask general questions about an applicant’s background and qualifications in order to determine if they are suitable for the role. The aim of this meeting is to discover individuals who meet the company’s requirements. Preliminary interviews are usually conducted by a single person from the company’s human resources division, rather than having multiple people present like in typical job interviews.

In contrast, a regular interview tends to be longer and more in-depth. This type of interview normally happens face-to-face and aims to gain a better understanding of an applicant’s abilities, skills, and career aspirations.

Jobseekers can expect competency-based questions to see how well they would handle various scenarios. Employers are interested in discovering details about an individual’s personality and desire for the position, along with their dedication to the job at hand. 

The major differences between a preliminary interview and traditional interview lie in their length, formality, setting, purpose, and topics discussed.

Preliminary interviews serve as a first step towards winning employment by testing if someone possesses basic qualification requirements while regular interviews help employers evaluate work experiences, capabilities, personal attributes and more concretely identify suitable candidates for hire.

Are preliminary interviews conducted online or in-person?

Preliminary interviews are a key step in the recruitment process, and the format for these interviews can differ depending on the company’s goals and resources. Generally, employers will choose to conduct their preliminary interviews either online or in person. 

In-person interviews allow the interviewer to observe the applicant’s body language, facial expressions, and attitude more accurately than an online interview. This can provide deeper insight into the applicant’s character that is not necessarily revealed through online interviewing methods.

Additionally, conducting an interview in-person allows for additional opportunities such as physical demonstrations of work proficiency or group activities which are not available with online interviewing platforms. 

Blonde female job applicant at a career fair.

On the other hand, conducting a preliminary interview via phone call, video call, or questionnaire offers greater convenience for both parties. The applicant typically finds it less stressful than an in-person interview and employers can easily bring together multiple recruiting staff members into one virtual meeting space. Moreover, forms such as questionnaires provide a structured environment that eliminates bias while assessing value to potential employees. 

Ultimately it depends on the employer’s needs; some may find that an in-person setting provides necessary information while others forego face-to -face meetings for convenience reasons – ultimately decision should ensure a fair opportunity for applicants to showcase their skill set.

What are the different types of preliminary interviews

1. Job Interview

A job interview is an essential moment for a potential employer to evaluate a candidate’s qualifications, experience, and skills. It usually takes the form of a telephone, video or in-person conversation between the interviewer and applicant. The purpose of the job interview is to assess if the potential hire has the right qualities and makes a great fit for the organization.

Typically, questions from the interviewer will typically center around a person’s work history, special capabilities and why they feel suited for this particular role.

During the job interview, it is crucial for a hopeful hire to put forward their best self: Researching about the business being applied for; understanding what exactly is required by the position; getting to know those who will be interviewing them – all these factors play an important part in showcasing one’s professional outlook.

After giving their answers during an employment interview, job applicants should ensure that they stay interested in the role through post-interview follow up activities such as writing thank you notes or sending emails expressing appreciation. All these actions reiterate one’s dedication to being successful at bagging their desired job.

2. Random Selection

Random selection is an essential method employed in candidate recruitment. It involves picking people at random from the population to complete a preliminary interview process with the goal of ensuring fairness and reducing bias.

This kind of selection broadens the pool of potential candidates, making it more likely that employers will find the best-fitting person for their job opening.

Since experienced or qualified individuals cannot be chosen beforehand, randomly selecting implies that all candidates have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities and be considered. Furthermore, this procedure encourages diversity by welcoming fresh perspectives and ideas into the workspace.

3. Phone Interview

A phone interview is an important step in the recruitment process used by employers to evaluate job candidates. During a phone interview, managers and recruiters can ask questions to get a better understanding of the candidate’s background, qualifications, skillset and even personality.

While similar to an in-person meeting, it is often used to narrow down a list of potentially suitable applicants before calling them for a personal meeting.

Phone interviews enable employers to quickly identify qualified candidates while also allowing job seekers to learn more about available positions so they can make informed decisions when deciding which roles to pursue. By being properly prepared for this type of call, both parties can feel confident that they are making a good match.

4. Skype Interview

Skype interviews present a unique opportunity for employers to connect with potential candidates in an online setting.

This virtual form of interviewing can help save resources, increase the efficiency of the hiring process, and allow employers to observe a candidate’s body language and facial expressions – all from the comfort of their own office or home. It is also highly beneficial for facilitating remote jobs, as employers are able to easily connect with candidates regardless of their location. 

Through a Skype interview, employers can assess a candidate’s qualifications, education, and personal background without requiring them to come in for an in-person interview.

This cost-effective method enables employers to ask relevant questions while learning more about the individual they are considering hiring, thus creating an effective process that can benefit both parties.

5. Video Interview

A Video Interview is a type of pre-screen or formal interview that is conducted remotely through a video conferencing application such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Meets.

This type of job interview allows employers to observe the candidate’s body language and non-verbal communication style while assessing their personality, attitudes, and temperament. 

When embarking on a Video Interview it is important to be aware of any potential technical difficulties that could arise due to faulty internet connection or poor audio/video quality. 

Additionally, there are different types of virtual job interviews such as team interviews, group interviews, speed interviews, and Skype and video interviews that require preparation in order to be successful.

For an effective video interview it is important to create a positive feeling for the employer by engaging in lively conversation, being mindful of non-verbal cues like eye contact and body posture, being prepared with relevant questions about the position at hand and making sure all technological devices are working perfectly ahead of time.

6. Mini Interviews

Mini interviews are short and casual conversations between a company recruiter or hiring manager and potential job candidate. They serve as an efficient means of weeding out those who don’t match the minimum criteria for the position, saving time and resources. 

But beyond that, mini interviews provide great insight into how someone might function within the workplace culture, while also giving interviewers an opportunity to get to know the candidate on a more personal level. Through informal dialogue, employers can discern if this person really has what it takes to fill the role effectively. 

Mini interviews are key in helping organizations make informed decisions at every stage of the hiring process. They can be immensely helpful in recognizing talent among applicants who may not necessarily possess experience or skills but could turn out to be a great fit regardless.

7. Career Fair

At a career fair, job seekers have the opportunity to gain valuable connections and knowledge as they meet potential employers and learn about available openings. Employers set up booths with information on their organization and current job postings while recruiters are available to answer inquiries and accept resumes and applications. 

At a career fair, job seekers can explore job openings, ask questions of recruiters, receive industry advice through seminars and workshops, make important contacts, submit resumes and applications for positions, understand more about an employer’s product or service offerings, as well as get an insight into potential employers’ organizational method.

Two young women at a career fair.

For companies, career fairs are a great way to connect with potential job candidates, access a larger pool of applicants faster than usual hiring channels ensuring maximum engagement amongst prospective employees. 

By attending a career fair, job seekers can find out the best-suited position for them within their desired company along with boost self-confidence due to face time interaction with recruiters which will help in real-time assessment too.

On the other hand employers can showcase themselves among interested student community resulting in high-quality applicant funnel. Through career fairs both parties are able to benefit from numerous advantages associated with fast recruitment turnaround strategy and cost savings arising from the boarding process.

8. Proficiency Tests

Proficiency tests can provide employers with valuable insight into potential job applicants. These assessments allow employers to evaluate the knowledge and skills a candidate possesses that make them well-suited for a specific job role. 

Proficiency tests are typically administered online or in person and may require verbal, written or practical responses from the applicant. The questions posed can range from theoretical to practical, requiring applicants to answer questions, demonstrate skills, solve problems or give written responses.

By assessing an applicant’s aptitude in communication, problem-solving, critical thinking and technical knowledge levels through proficiency testing employers gain insightful information about a potential employee’s abilities before extending an offer of employment. 

Assessing potential employees in this way allows employers to assess their suitability for the position more accurately and make informed decisions when it comes to selecting successful candidates. Proficiency tests make sure that the right person is placed into the right role each time.

9. Online Assessments

Online Assessments are a type of pre-hiring process which involves the use of an online form like SurveyMonkey or Typeform to screen and narrow down potential new hires.

This assessment not only includes relevant questions to gauge performance, but also typically consists of a skills-based test to ensure that candidates possess the necessary skills for the job. Different from a preliminary interview, this assessment does not include verbal or video communication with the individual candidate. 

An Online Assessment is designed to streamline the recruitment process by quickly and efficiently eliminating unsuitable applicants while upholding standards of quality within any organization.

Easily administered and highly accurate in nature, it reduces time spent on recruiting by allowing recruiters to accurately measure each candidate’s aptitude for both performance and skill-based abilities.

10. Assessments

An assessment is an evaluation of a person’s knowledge and skills in order to determine if they are suited for a given job or task.

There are a variety of options when it comes to conducting these assessments, including pre-employment tests and talent assessments, screening interviews done via phone or video, pre-screening interviews through online surveys, as well as career development questionnaires. 

Pre-employment tests and talent assessments can help employers confirm that a potential employee has the required abilities for the job and may be done online or in person. Video or phone call interviews allow companies to obtain data on a candidate’s personality, mindset, and outlooks.

An online survey interview can aid managers in getting insights into a person’s competencies as well as if they would properly fit within an organization and their job role.

Finally, career development questionnaires are utilised by employers to reduce their list of possible candidates by gauging their qualifications for the job at hand along with assessing how well they would mesh within the company dynamics.

Does a preliminary interview include a job offer or salary negotiation?

A preliminary interview is the first stage of the hiring process. During this phase, the interviewer seeks to evaluate the candidate’s skills and experience. It does not typically include job offers or salary negotiations.

However, if a hiring manager expresses interest in learning more about you, they may ask if you have other job offers or bring up salary requirements – which could be an indication that they are seriously considering your candidacy. Any proposals for a formal job offer should only be discussed when given by the company, at which point negotiations can take place.


A preliminary interview is a type of job interview conducted to screen applicants, eliminate those who may be suitable, and select the most qualified candidates to move forward in the hiring process.

While a typical job interview focuses on assessing an individual’s suitability for a particular role, a preliminary interview focuses on understanding whether an applicant is compatible with the organization’s needs and goals. 

The purpose of the preliminary interview is to help recruiters decide which individuals should make it to the second round of interviews or receive an offer. During this stage, employers may ask applicants standard questions related to their career history and skills as well as questions about their goals for the future.

Unlike regular job interviews which often involve multiple people from the company present at once, preliminary interviews are typically conducted by one person from the human resources team. 

Preliminary interviews are an essential step in any recruitment process as they ensure that only qualified individuals proceed in their application journey. Employers can use these interviews not only to assess an individual’s interest in joining their team but also gain valuable insights about their potential fit within the organization.

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