Top Pre-Screening Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

SurveyPluto 06/14/2024 768 words

Top Pre-Screening Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Don't waste time on ill-fitting candidates from the start. Streamline your hiring with this ultimate guide to pre-screening candidates.

Hiring managers today are swamped with applications for every open role. Because the job market today is immensely competitive, pre-screening interviews come in handy since they help separate the wheat from the chaff early on. A well-executed pre screening process can save everyone involved time.

Background and Qualifications

One of the main goals of pre screening is to quickly verify if a candidate meets the minimum requirements for the job. A few key screening interview questions can help you check those basic boxes:

"Walk me through your resume/work experience."

This open-ended question allows you to see how coherently applicants can summarize their background while hitting key qualifications.

"What drew you to apply for this particular role?"

Their response clues you into their motivations and whether they've actually researched the position.

"Do you have any experience with [key skill, programme/technique required]?" 

Ask direct skill-based questions to confirm core capabilities.

These types of questions enable you to cut through the fluff on resumes and cover letters. You get a clear sense of whether the person truly has the baseline experience needed to proceed.

Fit and Culture Alignment

Of course, qualifications are just one piece of the hiring puzzle. You also want to gauge a candidate's possible fit with the role, team, and company culture during pre screening.

"What type of work environment allows you to be most productive?"

For this question, listen for potential red flags based on your company's culture.

"Describe your ideal manager/leadership style."

This reveals expectations that may or may not mesh with what you can provide.

"Tell me about a time you had to collaborate on a project?"

The response here shows you their teamwork skills. You can ask if they had challenges.

Self-Awareness and Growth Mindset

"What would you say is your biggest weakness or area for improvement?"

Listen for self-awareness. Your applicant should have the ability to be self-critical.

"Describe a professional problem you dealt with before."

This gives you the chance to gauge their problem-solving skills.

"What are your career goals?"

Assess their growth path.

Logistics and Availability

While you'll dig deeper into logistical matters in later interview rounds, pre screening allows you to flag any potential roadblocks on the front end:

"What are your salary expectations?"

This avoids wasting time if they're way out of your budgeted range.

"Are you willing to relocate if needed?"

Ask this for non-remote roles.

"When can you start?"

The answer should align with your needs.

Other Pre Screening Questions

"How did you find out about this opening?"

This helps you understand applicant sources and channels to prioritize.

"What do you know about our company/product/service?"

Tests their research skills.

"Do you have any questions for me?"

Engaged candidates should have some enquiries for sure.

Other Pre Screening Reminders for Recruiters

Pre-Screening Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

The Pre Screening Time Frame

While pre screening interviews are meant to be relatively brief, you don't want to rush through them either. Aim for around 15-30 minutes per screening call to give you sufficient time to cover questions without dragging things out unnecessarily. You can go a little over if you still have lingering questions or if the discussion is really flowing in an insightful way.

Use Standard Questions

It's generally advised to use the same set of pre-screening questions for all candidates. Having a standardised questionnaire helps you effectively compare answers later on. Sprinkle in a few custom follow-ups based on specific candidate responses or discrepancies you notice.

Take Notes

Although pre screening is just the initial phase, be sure to take detailed notes throughout each interview. Jotting down verbatim quotes and specific examples from candidates' responses can be extremely helpful when it comes time to review and compare notes. Don't simply rely on memory.

Trust Your Instinct

Even in these relatively brief pre screening chats, you'll start developing gut instincts about individuals. If a candidate rubs you the wrong way for some reason, don't simply dismiss that feeling. Maybe they were not interested? Or perhaps arrogant. Whatever it is, flag those concerns because your intuition is often spotting legit red flags.

The Follow-Up Matters

Pre screening interviews shouldn't just be an interrogation. They should be a two-way conversation so ask compelling follow-ups when candidates give vague or concerning answers to your initial questions.

SurveyPluto Can Be Your Ultimate Tool

Using these arsenals of pre screening interview questions will surely empower you to improve your hiring process. Moreover, it will quickly identify the highest-potential applicants worthy of progressing. SurveyPluto can help you automate initial screening surveys and make your job easier as a hiring manager. You can even do a candidate experience survey after the pre screening interview.

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