Standard Application Process

Being Prepared for Each Stage in the Hiring Process Can Improve Your Chances of Being Hired

The HR Screen

After an application is submitted, the first step is typically to pass the HR screen. This step is where most job seekers get tripped up. The HR screen is typically completed in one of three ways: 

  • a tool which seeks out keywords in an applicant's resume 
  • an assessment meant to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications 
  • an HR professional looking at your resume to determine fit 

So, to successfully navigate this stage, applicants should make sure their resume is easy for the human eye to navigate while showcasing your relevant experience, and, at the same time, use industry-specific keywords which computer programs will pick up on. Not an easy task.

The Phone Interview

A phone interview is often the first interaction a job seeker has with an employee at the prospective employer. Phone screens can be planned or unplanned, technical, cultural, or anything else you can think of. 

The biggest piece of advice for passing the phone screen: make sure you are ready for it. 

If the phone screen is something that was scheduled, do your research on the company, print out the position description, and have a couple questions ready to ask. 

If you get a call out of the blue regarding a position and you are not prepared, ask the person on the other end if you can set a time to speak. The company should want to see the best you, not the person who is driving down the highway, speaking quietly in their office, or trying to get dinner ready for their kids. Speaking from personal experience, a candidate who is prepared and not distracted is greatly appreciated!

The Hiring Manager Screen

After an HR Professional completes the initial stages of the hiring process, the hiring manager steps in. The Hiring Manager will only see the top group of applicants, sometimes as few as two or three, sometimes as many as twenty or more. In either case, the Hiring Manager will review all applicable information shared with them, including any notes shared by the HR professional. After this review, the Manager will decide which candidates to bring onsite for an interview. 

One thing to note: the Hiring Manager Screen is the first time a cover letter will be read in high-volume recruiting environment. So yes, a cover letter is important, but a good resume is needed to even get your cover letter read.

The In-Person Interview

Interviews are the opportunity for you as a candidate to showcase your value to the organization, and also your opportunity to determine if the position and organization are the right fit for you. 

Prior to the interview, a candidate should:

  1. Research the Organization
  2. Gather position-specific information, including job description, read up on latest industry news, etc.
  3. Create a minimum of three questions to ask at the interview
  4. Print Your Resume
  5. Dress for the Position

If you have done these things, you should feel confident walking in the door at an interview because you know you did everything you could to show the company your best self, and determine if this could be the right fit for you. 


After the conclusion of the hiring process, it's time to write a thank you letter and wait. At this point, those involved in the hiring process will determine who appears to be the best fit for the jobs and how much the company should offer to pay the chosen candidate. While this seems simple, this can take some time, so it is important to be patient during this time.

An Offer Is Extended

Finally, after these steps, an offer is extended. Congratulations! Now negotiate your compensation package, see just how much the company will offer, and decide if this is the right opportunity for you.