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Top Pre-Screening Interview Questions For Candidates

Have you recently applied for a job?

Are you curious about how to get through your job interview with flying colors?

Well, here’s a fact, many candidates do not prepare for the pre-screening process. So, how do you make sure that you are successful?

If you’re looking for tips to win over your potential employer, it can be tricky to know what to prepare for the interview. On top of that, it’s common for employers to ask you some questions before the formal interview. Employers do this to find the right applicants for the role and to make sure that you’re the right fit.

So, let’s take an in-depth look at how to avoid any unnecessary surprises and be fully prepared for the Top Pre-Screening Interview Questions For Candidates that you could well be asked.

top pre screening interview questions for candidates

What Are Pre-Screening Interview Questions?

When a candidate applies to a job vacancy, once the employer receives the application, they may ask pre-screening interview questions. A pre-screening interview is a list of questions that your potential employer prepares before scheduling a formal job interview.

These questions are usually asked via phone or video calls and can vary depending on the job position and requirements. More on this later…

Why Ask Pre-Screening Interview Questions?

So, why do recruiters ask candidates questions before scheduling a face-to-face interview?

Pre-screening interview questions are a vital part of the employment process for some recruiters. These questions are used to determine whether applicants are a good match for the position. Calling up applicants is a quick and effective way to evaluate if it’s worth moving forward with their application.

What Things Do Recruiters Consider When Pre-Screening Interviews?

Recruiters use open-ended questions to encourage candidates to express themselves about talk freely about the job role. Quite often, recruiters will evaluate several factors during these pre-screening calls.

Pre-screening interview calls are used to analyze the candidate’s communication skills, attitude, and personality type. It’s also a chance to discuss any information related to the role and whether the candidates meet the basic requirements.

top pre screening interview questions for candidate

How Do Recruiters Ask Pre-Screening Interview Questions?

Recruiters will often call candidates on the phone or use a video call to schedule a pre-screening interview. These calls will usually only last 15-30 minutes. This should be enough time for the interviewer to decide whether to move forward with your application.

First impressions count, so this short conversation should be enough for the recruiter to determine whether to invite you to the next stage of the employment process.

Do Recruiters Offer Face-to-Face Pre-Screening Interviews?

No, this rarely happens. It’s not common for recruiters to conduct pre-screening interviews face-to-face because this is an inefficient use of time. The purpose of the pre-screening interview stage is to ensure that you’re the right fit to eventually invite for a face-to-face meeting.

Quite often, recruiters don’t have the time to pre-screen all applicants, especially when you consider that there could be hundreds of candidates applying for the same role.

Top Pre-Screening Interview Questions For Candidates

Now that I’ve gone through the reasons recruiters ask pre-screening interview questions, it’s time to discuss the most common questions. This will give you a chance to prepare before your recruiter makes the pre-screening interview call.

No pressure… but if this pre-screening call goes well, you’ll likely be invited to a formal face-to-face interview!

The Most Common Recruiter Questions

Before we begin… these questions are usually too quick and snappy and, recruiters won’t bother asking too many complicated or lengthy questions. Although, it’s your job as the applicant to make a lasting impression and give a detailed response.

So, here are the most common pre-screening interview questions that you need to prepare for…

Tell Me About Yourself

This question is the most common pre-screening and formal interview question for job candidates. This question is the perfect ice-breaker and a great opportunity to make the best first impression.

‘Tell me about yourself’ represents an open-ended question that encourages the applicant to freely talk about what they enjoy and do. It’s suggested that candidates subtly reveal parts of their personality and express themselves when responding. Recruiters do not want a robotic and rehearsed answer, rather something unique to try and capture their attention.

Example responses include:

  • Professional hobbies, passions, and interests.
  • Education and career experiences.
  • Personal and professional aspirations and motivations.

top pre screening interview question for the candidate

What is your Previous Work Experience?

The recruiter may ask about your past work experience. This question aims to find out about your career and work history. The more relatable experience- the better. Make sure you mention what you have accomplished or achieved and the key responsibilities you’ve had.

Try to avoid just listing or describing your previous work duties. Instead, show the recruiter that you have transferable skills and how these skills are relevant to the role.

Example questions include:

  • What relevant work experience do you have for the job?
  • What skills have you developed that relate to this role?
  • Can you describe the key responsibilities of your previous role?

Personal and Professional Development

Interview questions related to your self-development as a candidate are important. Recruiters want to determine how you will succeed in your new role and judge whether you’re aspirational. So, it’s suggested to talk about the qualities and characteristics that enable you to overcome challenges and develop in your workplace.

This is not an opportunity to boost that you’re the best, nor is the time to degrade your abilities, rather a chance to show you have goals and that you’re motivated to learn and make a difference.

Example questions include:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What can you contribute to this company?
  • Where do you see yourself in three to five years?

Expressing Why You Chose The Job Or Company

Recruiters want to know why you decided to apply for this specific role and why you want to work for their company. This is an opportunity to do some background research and find out why this company appeals to you.

Avoid talking about money or salary expectations as a motivating factor, but instead, focus on why the role stands out to you from a personal and professional perspective and what’s appealing about this company compared to others.

Example questions include:

  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Can you tell me something about our organization?
  • Why did you apply to this role?

Work Ethic and Style

Finding an employee with a good work ethic that has a determined attitude to succeed in their role is desirable. Perfecting your answers to these questions shows the recruiter that you are motivated to do well and that you’re capable of handling the job.

The key qualities that recruiters are looking for are employees that are organized, can manage their workload, and handle pressure. So, highlight any responsibilities from previous experience that show you can adapt to a challenging or demanding work situation and still perform well.

Example questions include:

  • How do you handle stress in a work environment?
  • Do you work well under pressure?
  • Can you describe a situation when you resolved a challenge in your previous role? What did you do and, what was the outcome?
  • What leadership or management style do you prefer?

top pre screening interview question for the candidate

Working as a Team

As a potential employee entering a new organization, a recruiter needs to know that you’ll be a good fit for the team. Collaborating and working well with others in a competitive environment is an important aspect to consider.

Therefore, candidates are sometimes asked situational interview questions to demonstrate they can co-operate with others and overcome challenges at work. The recruiters are looking for qualities such as good communication skills and the ability to contribute to team goals.

Example questions include:

  • Do you enjoy working alone or in a team environment? Can you explain why?
  • Have you ever worked as part of a team? Can you explain the responsibilities that you had? How did you do work well as a team?
  • Can you tell me about a time that you solved a problem as part of a team? If so, can you explain the situation and how you resolved it?

Tasks and Responsibilities

Recruiters need to make sure that their applicants are capable of handling key responsibilities in their new roles. A good way of evaluating this is by asking candidates questions related to previous work experience, such as how these duties and tasks are related to the applied role. Remember to keep it detailed, relevant, and emphasize what skills you have developed from having these responsibilities.

Example questions include:

  • What responsibilities have you had in your previous role?
  • How do you manage deadlines and work to achieve targets?
  • How do you prioritize and manage tasks?
  • Can you describe a situation when you handled multiple tasks or projects simultaneously?

Tips For Getting Hired

So now you know the frequently asked pre-screening interview questions. It’s time to focus on more ways of boosting your chances of getting invited to the next stage! Here are some top tips to consider…

Choose a Suitable Place to Talk

Before answering a pre-screening interview call, think about if it’s suitable. Before answering the call, are you in a quiet place that makes it easy to hear what is being said? If not, consider asking your recruiter if it’s possible to reschedule the call at a better time when you won’t be disturbed.

top pre screening interview question for the candidates

Do Background Research

There’s nothing worse than being unprepared. So regardless of whether this is for a pre-screening or face-to-face interview, it’s always advised to do some background research on the company.

Learn what your company does, the key responsibilities you’ll have in your role, and what makes this company stand out from the competitors. Show off your knowledge after you research before any interview, and make a lasting impression.

Practice at Home

It’s a valuable idea to practice pre-screening and face-to-face interviews at home. There are many questions that your company could ask you, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared and practice the most common pre-screening interview questions. Practicing can help you perfect your answers and overcome any challenging questions that you might want to work on beforehand.

Be Yourself

Practice responding to questions at home. This can help you work on your confidence, express aspects of your personality, and help you be yourself.

Recruiters can appreciate a candidate with charisma and character. This also distinguishes you from the candidate pool. So, if you are generally a humorous person, then try making a witty comment or a joke during the call! This shows that you are relaxed, confident, and able to bring something unique to the table and possibly the team!

Prepare Questions to Ask the Employer

This aspect is often overseen, but asking questions to your employer shows that you are interested and want to learn more. It’s also a great opportunity to finalize any details about the job description and check what’s expected of you as a potential employee.

You can even ask the recruiter questions related to their work experiences and the work culture at the organization.

Additional Interview Questions And Guides!

For those all-important interview questions, check out how to Answer Why Best Candidate Position, or perhaps my Strengths And Weaknesses For Job Interviews, how to answer Why We Should Hire You, What Makes You Unique, and What Are Your Career Goals, as well as How Do You Handle Stress, and finally How To Answer What Are You Passionate About.

In addition, our website also has How Would You Describe Yourself, and What Are Your Career Goals, along with How Do You Handle Stress, What Are You Most Proud Of, and How Do You Handle Conflict, and don’t forget our Best Questions To Ask In An Interview when it comes to your turn.

Online guides can be extremely helpful too, take a look at the INTERVIEW with DESIRE and GET HIRED!, Get That Job!: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview, and Amazing Interview Answers: 44 Tough Job Interview Questions with 88 Winning Answers or maybe try the Knock ’em Dead Job Interview all available in 2022.

Final Thoughts

Pre-screening interview questions are a process that enables recruiters to see if you’re the right match for the company without wasting time face-to-face interviewing all potential candidates.

Therefore, pre-screening applicants is a practical technique to narrow down an organization’s search for the perfect applicant. If this pre-screening call goes well, then it’s highly likely candidates will be invited to a face-to-face interview.

Make sure when responding to questions during a pre-screening interview to be bold, unique, and to the point. Recruiters want to hear snippets of your personality and attitude shine through. So try to make the best impression possible on the phone with your potential employer.

And whenever you apply for a job vacancy, make sure you prepare for a pre-screening interview beforehand, just in case.

The very best of luck with your job search and future Interviews!

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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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