Prescreening Questions for a B...

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Prescreening Questions for a Better Fit

You’ve sorted through stacks of resumes and now it’s time to screen candidates. You don’t want to flood your office with interviews where only a handful will pan out to be potentials. Implementing a preescreening interview via phone or video conference is an efficient way to sort throug applicants and start pitching your employer brand early.


Prescreenings will help you cut down on time spent in interviews and help you allocate that time to choosing between top candidates. Use the prescreening phone call or conference to inform candidates on key points of working for your company and gauge their reaction. Here are some essential questions to ask during prescreenings to get to know your candidates and start selling the employer brand to those who are the best fit.

Ask about location.

Before you start the interview process, you want to make sure that your candidate will be able to show up on time as scheduled. Use your prescreening candidates if they’re comfortable traveling to your location to avoid confusion. You may have multiple locations, a larger campus, or notice a long commute between the address on the candidate resume and your current location. So, make sure your candidate understands exactly where they’ll be working and feels confident they can make it their on time as scheduled.

Ask them about their compensation goals.

In many states it’s illegal to ask about previous compensation, as it contributes to the gender wage gap. So, how do we focus on this tricky, potentially illegal question? By asking your candidate about their goals. Asking candidates about their salary goals in relation to themselves, specifically, gives you an opportunity to inform them of opportunities for reaching those goals, or to let them know what is doable within company budget for their given role. Additionally if you’re able to meet their goals, you position yourself as someone enabling them to achieve said goals.

Ask why they want to work at your company.

Such a direct and fundamental question, but it is better to bring this up in prescreening than at the interview. Candidates who are looking for a specific quality in your company are more likely to be happy than candidates who take the offer just to have a job. While both are valid reasons to accept a job offer, asking “why do you want to work here?” will demonstrate their knowledge of your company, the job offer, and their overall goals and work attitude.

Ask about what they look for in management.

As a recruiter or manager, you know the approximate personality of the person in the overseeing role. So, asking candidates “what do you look for in management?” will show you what they know about themselves and their working style, as well as how they work with others and management. Some candidates will say that they’re self-starters and like to work independently, other candidates like to work in groups and/or have regular check-ins with their supervisors to see how they’re progressing in the workplace. Either way, you need to inquire about your candidates work style and preferred management style/relationship early on, to assist in avoiding a butting of heads or inability to work together.

A few key questions early in the interview process can save you from ushering talent through your office. Transparency and understanding from the beginning of the relationship will immediately increase your chances of snagging a better-fitting candidate. Start by asking about location, make sure they understand if and exactly where they’ll be traveling. Get an idea of where they want to be, financially. Focus the compensation conversation around their goals, not about their history. This lets you ask budgetary questions without contributing to gender wage gaps or performing illegal interview screening questions. Ask about their reason for applying – why specifically do they want to work for your company? What company qualities attracted them? Ask about preferences in management style to make sure that the personalities will gel and everyone will feel comfortable working together. Make sure you’re adding your own questions, too. For prescreening, call 651-488-1000