Best Pre-Screening Interview Questions for Recruiters

Best Pre-screening Interview Questions

Introduction of Pre-Screening Interview Questions

Amongst the most important parts of the hiring process is asking a set of pre-screening interview questions to the job candidates. Before moving the candidates to the extensive interview phase, a pre-screening process takes place where these questions are asked.

Carrying on a pre-screening interview will let you narrow down your talent pool and accelerate your interview process. It is generally utilized by most of the organizations out there. Additionally, if you incorporate pre-screening interviews, your hiring process will get hugely benefitted from it.

What is a Pre-Screening Interview?

A pre-screening interview, also known as pre-employment screening, is a sequence of questions that lets you know the basic qualification knowledge about the candidates. HRs conduct pre-screening interviews before the main interview stage.

It includes surface-level questions concerning aspirations or career goals, skills, capabilities, and any job preferences. Pre-screening interview questions can also take shape as basic skills test that filters out unqualified candidates. This screening interview saves you from spending your time & efforts on the wrong candidates.

The pre-screening interview is an impressive way to screen candidates who are capable but not a good fit for the position. In addition, pre-screening helps interviewers and candidates get to know each other before meeting in person.

The Best Pre-Screening Interview Questions

Now you know the purpose behind asking these screening questions, let’s have a closer look at the best questions to ask candidates. These questions must be quick, and specific, plus require a detailed response as they will be used on a large candidate pool.

You need to avoid the questions to which candidates can answer in Yes or No. Choose the questions which show you the candidates’ thinking abilities plus communication skills. Additionally, their answers should relate to what’s expected in a job they’re applying for.

By looking at the candidate’s previous employment and achievements you will know whether the candidate is fit for the role or not. You will prefer a candidate with years of experience over the inexperienced ones.

  • How your previous work experience and skills will help you in this job role?
  • What is the major challenge you’ve faced in your previous job? How did you solve the problems and what was the result?

2. Personal Development Questions

One more factor to consider when deciding if the candidate is capable of filling the position is how they perceive their personal growth.

A person who always constantly works to achieve personal goals is always worth hiring. You should hire such applicants because they are always willing to learn new techniques, skills, and technologies to improve their performance and output.

Screening interview questions to ask to know about the candidate’s personal growth involve:

  • What are your personal development goals?
  • How will this position help you move towards achieving those goals?

These questions will help you know the candidate’s preferred work environment to see how well the candidate blends into your workforce. You may also get an idea of how the environment at the candidate’s previous company was. After listening to the response you can make an informed decision.

Here are some questions for pre-screening interviews to help you discover the applicant’s work expectations:

  • What kind of work environment do you prefer?
  • Can you list some characteristics of a company culture that lets you give your best performance and enjoy your work?
  • According to you, what does an ideal manager looks like? Have you worked with such kinds of managers?

There are two types of individuals out there, one prefers to work with a team and two who like to work alone. It is good to recognize in advance that in which category the candidates belong to.

In case a candidate had worked on a project in an IT firm individually. In such a case, the candidate might face a problem collaborating with other team members if the role demands it.

Screening interview questions to find out whether the candidate prefers a collaborative or solo job position:

  • Do you like working with a team, or do you like to work alone?
  • Have you worked in a team in the past? If yes, then tell us about your experience, responsibilities, and how nicely it went.
  • According to you, what makes a team successful?
  • Are you aware of any problems with a team member? How did that situation settle?

5. Screening Questions Driven by Deadline

One more thing to consider one thing about your candidates is how they react to pressure and deadlines. It’s important to see how they handle and behave under such kinds of situations.

It’s better not to hire short-tempered candidates as they might not be able to deal with difficult situations and might lose their cool.

Pre-screening interview questions to determine how the candidate will meet the deadlines:

  • Did you experience many deadlines at about the same time? What did you do to manage your time efficiently?
  • Have you ever been in a situation where you failed to meet a deadline? What was the reason behind the problem? What will you do if given a chance to alter the result?
  • How many deadlines did you have to meet in your past positions?

6. Screening Interview Questions about Candidate’s Responsibilities

Take a note of the candidate’s capability to handle the responsibilities associated with the job role they’ve applied for. You can assess if the candidate can handle job responsibilities with these screening questions.

Job requirements may vary from company to company for a particular job title. That’s why you should ask the candidate about their roles and responsibilities at their previous organization rather than his/her job title. It is to see if they have the work experience you need from them.

Important phone interview questions for candidates to ask about responsibilities are:

  • For which type of things were you responsible for carrying out at your previous job?
  • Have you done any tasks that usually don’t fall under someone’s responsibility in your job role?
  • What are those roles you needed to perform at the last post that can be beneficial for this position?
  • What responsibilities do you wish to have with our organization?

7. Questions to Uncover Organizational Skills

Great candidates always stay organized so you must try to find this quality in the candidates who’ve applied. You need employees who are dedicated to completing their tasks on time, without needing to get micromanaged.

It might be harder to check the organization skills in a telephonic interview. On the other hand, if you’re opting for a video call, you can easily see the applicant’s appearance and his/her surroundings. An applicant tracking system or a tool like Skype can help you screen candidates on a video call.

An untidy appearance or untidy workspace can indicate that the applicant does not think about the organization.

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Ask these pre-screening interview questions to the applicant to realize their viewpoint on organization and time management:

  • Have you worked on more than a single project at one time?
  • What thought do you give to managing projects and prioritizing your tasks?
  • Which are the tools that you prefer to use for the projects to get them completed on time?

8. Screening questions to know why the candidate applied

The foremost thing to know about the candidate is the reason behind joining your company. Some candidates apply for every job under the sun because they desperately need a job or their sole motivator is the higher package.

The honest ones will know about your company, understand its way of doing things, and business, and have industry experience. You should never lose such types of applicants.

These screening interview questions will let you uncover the reason for the candidate’s decision to apply at your company:

  • Why do you want to work in our company?
  • What thing did make you interested in this position?
  • How much do you know about our company and what we do?
  • Why did you choose us to work for instead of our competitors?
  • Are you giving interviews at other companies as well?

It’s important to determine if a candidate is a perfect cultural fit and has leadership abilities. But in case, the candidate’s salary expectations are higher than your offering then your time spent will go in vain.

So asking these questions in the pre-screening interview can save you from spending time and effort on the wrong candidates.

These pre-screening questions include the following:

  • Can you tell us the salary range you are expecting for this role?
  • Are there any benefits you have that are important to you?

Why are pre-screening interviews conducted?

The hiring process can take more time than usual to complete. This is the reason you don’t wish to spend time on applicants who aren’t the right fit.

These preliminary interviews enable filtering out the right people from your applicant pool. You can save lots of time with screening interviews by knowing more about the candidates before you move them to the next interview. 

The main objectives of conducting screening interviews are to:

  • Find out if the candidate can cater to the necessities of the job for successful completion of the same.
  • Determine if the candidate’s desired pay range falls inside the salary range
  • Share details about your company with the candidate.
  • Ask questions about the company and the role.

How to Conduct a Pre-Screening Interview?

You can conduct a pre-screening interview over the phone call, video call, or online survey.

If you choose to do it over the phone or video call, you should take notes on the candidate’s capabilities. It can further be forwarded to the hiring manager if the candidate qualifies for the next stage. If interviews are carried out this way you can easily assess the applicants’ personality, attitude, and character and take notes on these.

Similarly, if you decide to go for an online survey, you must include questions relevant to the new hires’ performance in it. You should avoid using too many questions to confirm a higher completion rate. If you keep the pre-screening survey short candidates will likely fill it up more carefully and wholly.

Types of Screening Interviews

Now that you know the questions, you might be wondering about how can you interview candidates. Well, there are 3 ways to conduct screening interviews you can completely rely upon:

1. Phone Interviews:

Phone screening interviews or preliminary phone interviews are typically utilized when narrowing down a final candidate list. These interviews are less stressful for candidates and are best suited for carrying out interviews with no disturbance. 

However, there’s one disadvantage of this method which is – you’re unable to observe candidates’ body language and gestures during the entire interview.

2. Video Screening Interview

Video screening interviews are helpful in observing candidates’ body language and gestures. These interviews fit better with the formal interview process. There are two ways video screening interviews are done:

  • One-on-one interviews leveraging video conferencing platforms like Google Meet, Zoom, etc.
  • One-way or pre-recorded video interviews where candidates have to submit their responses (in video form) to the questions provided beforehand. 

The challenges you may encounter using video interviews are connection issues and technological problems, more particularly related to audio and video. 

3. Screening Interviews via Questionnaire 

In case you have a huge list and you want to narrow it down fast then a questionnaire screening interview is the best answer. In this, you’re required to send a list of specific questions to check their qualifications and fit for the company.

There’s one catch here, as you won’t be speaking with the candidates directly, you won’t get their first-hand impression of their personality. 

How Can Recruiters Prepare Before Interviewing Candidates? | Top Screening Interview Tips

Before you interview candidates make sure you’re fully prepared so that the candidates you move to the further rounds have the potential to be fit for the open position. Here are a few things you need to take care of:

  • Determine clearly the job requirements: Before initiating the pre-screening process make sure that you have a clear idea of the requirements and skills you are looking for in candidates.
  • Craft relevant questions: Create a set of targeted questions that will let you assess candidates’ qualifications and experience in addition to checking whether they align with the role and company culture.
  • Carefully screen resumes: It’s crucial to sort out candidates who closely match job criteria and that’s why you need to ensure careful reviewing of every resume.

Maintain a consistent process: Ensure consistency in your screening process for making the assessment fair and objective. You can leverage methods like scoring system, blind review, and standardized questionnaires for consistent evaluation.

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