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The Top Pre-Screening Questions to Process Candidates Efficiently


Pre-screening is crucial to determine the most suitable candidates. And quite simply, without this early stage, the hiring process becomes much harder.

From learning about their skills, goals, to their work ethic, the aim at this point is to process for suitability as quickly as possible.

But if not done efficiently, this stage itself can become time-consuming, so asking the right questions is essential!

Using carefully considered pre-screening questions, either through a phone or video call, ensures you can speed up your search while still narrowing down your talent pool.

Here are the best pre-screening questions to help you identify the best candidates:  


Pre-Screening Questions

Why Us

Make sure the first question is about the candidate. Why did the candidate choose your company in particular? Are they familiar with you already? What are they looking for in a new opportunity?

For example:

•         Why do you want to work here?

•         What about this position made you want to apply?

•         How familiar are you with our company and what we do?

•         Why did you leave your previous role?

Tip: Avoid yes or no questions. Responses should also relate to the exact specifics of the position for which they’re applying. 


Personal Development 

What are their personal growth goals? Those wanting to develop are more willing to learn new skills to improve work performance and adapt to company needs.

For example:

  • What goals do you have for your personal development?
  • How does this position help move you towards those goals?
  • What challenges are you looking for?

Tip: An applicant who has all the correct qualifications looks great on paper, but you may find more flexibility with someone who is still working on their professional targets. 


Work Environment 

It’s important to understand how people prefer to work and learn. This is a good indicator of whether they would integrate well with your current workforce.

 For example:

  • What type of manager style works best for you? 
  • In what work environments do you thrive? 
  • What does an ideal workday look like?

Tip: Candidates may be nervous and fail to provide you with the insight you need, so put them at ease by introducing yourself, providing some job context and information on how the interview will be structured.


Work Experience

Prior career accomplishments will signal whether they would make a good fit for your position.

For example:

  • What experience do you have to succeed in this role?
  • Give an example of one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in a previous role.
  • What was the outcome, and how did you resolve the problem?

Tip: To find out more about the applicant, expand on the information supplied on their CV and cover letter.



Some people love working as part of a team, while others may prefer to work more independently. Find out what they prefer and see if this aligns with the expectations of the position.  

For example:

  • Do you prefer working with a team or independently?
  • What do you think makes a team successful?
  • Have you ever experienced a problem with a team member?
  • How was the situation resolved?

Tip: Keep things simple, get the essential information you need, and build a rapport. Remember, you don’t need to know their entire life story!


Time Management & Organisation

You want to find someone who can complete their responsibilities efficiently, without having to be micromanaged. You’ll also want to find out how they respond to pressure. Do they have experience working to tight deadlines?

For example:

  • Do you have experience working on more than one project at a time? How would you prioritise tasks?
  • Have you ever missed a deadline?
  • What was the reason, and how was it resolved?
  • Did you have many deadlines to meet in your previous positions?

Tip: Questions used on a large pool of talent need to be quick, to the point, and require a detailed response. 



Find out if they can handle the responsibilities of the role by focusing on their previous experience.

For example: 

  • What types of things were you responsible for at your last job?
  • What roles did you have to fulfil in your previous post that you think will be useful for this position?
  • What responsibilities do you hope to have with your next company?

Tip: Look past job titles. Businesses have different requirements for positions. Instead, focus on their role and responsibilities. 


Job Expectations

Time can be wasted if the candidate is seeking a salary bracket outside of your range. Asking this question early on can save you time long-term.

For example:

  • What kind of salary range would you be expecting for this position?
  • Are you looking for specific benefits?
  • What aspects are important to you in your next role?
  • Do you have any questions?

Tip: It's important to answer any queries your candidate may have, whether about the job or the recruitment process. Having answered any questions, close the interview by thanking the candidate for their time and give them your contact details. They will appreciate being able to get in touch should they think of any more questions!

We hope this makes your pre-screening process easier. To conclude, aim for short, to the point questions that provide you with enough insight to progress to the next stage. Happy screening!


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