pre-screening interview questions

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The Art of Asking Effective Pre-Screening Interview Questions

Pre-screening interview questions is a crucial part of the recruitment process, bridging the bridge between sifting through resumes and inviting candidates for formal interviews. Today, we will explore the strategic questions that gauge the candidate’s qualifications and their fit within your company culture.


This blog will guide you through creating impactful pre-screening interview questions, interpreting candidate responses, and adhering to best practices to ensure a legally compliant and effective pre-screening process. 


Whether you’re a seasoned recruiter or new to the hiring scene, mastering the art of pre-screening can transform your approach to finding the ideal candidate.

Crafting the Right Pre-Screening Interview Questions

Crafting the right pre-screening interview questions is essential for any recruiter or hiring manager. This process involves more than just assessing a candidate’s technical skills. Instead, it’s about understanding their overall suitability for the role and the company.


Here’s how to tailor your pre-screening interview questions effectively:

Identify Core Job Requirements 

Start by identifying the key skills, experiences, and qualifications essential for the role. These should align with the job description and the needs of your team.

Understand Company Culture 

Consider what personality traits and values are celebrated in your company. Your questions should gauge whether the candidate’s work style and values align with your organisational culture.

Develop Open-Ended Questions 

Craft questions that encourage candidates to share detailed responses. For example, instead of asking if they have a particular skill, ask them to describe a situation where they used that skill effectively.

Behavioural Questions

These pre-screening interview questions can help you understand how a candidate has handled past situations, indicating how they’ll perform in the future. Ask about their challenges, how they dealt with them, and what they learned.

Role-Specific Scenarios

Pose hypothetical job-related scenarios to assess the candidate’s problem-solving and decision-making skills. This can give you insight into their approach to work-related challenges.

Balance Between Professional and Personal

While focusing on professional competencies, include a few pre-screening questions for job applicants that give insight into the candidate’s personal attributes and soft skills. 


These questions will help you determine how well they will get with the team and work towards the company’s overall growth.


For reference, let’s look at a list of potential questions:


  1. Can you tell us about your past job experiences?
  2. What qualities do you have that make you an excellent candidate for this position?
  3. Why do you want to work for our company?
  4. Can you describe a challenging work situation and how you handled it?
  5. What are your salary expectations?
  6. Are you comfortable with the location and work hours required for this role?
  7. What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
  8. How soon are you available to start?
  9. Can you give an example of how you’ve worked effectively under pressure?
  10. Questions about the role or the company?

By carefully tailoring your pre-screening interview questions, you can better understand each candidate’s potential fit within your organisation.

Evaluating Responses to Employment Pre-Screening Questions

Evaluating candidates’ responses during a pre-screening interview is as important as asking the right questions. Here’s what to look for in pre screening interview questions and answers for freshers:

Relevance and Specificity

Look for answers that are directly relevant to the questions asked. Candidates should provide specific examples or experiences rather than general or vague responses. This indicates their ability to understand and address the question effectively. 

Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking

Pay attention to how candidates describe their problem-solving processes. Look for signs of critical thinking, creativity, and practicality in their approach to past challenges or hypothetical scenarios.

Communication Skills

Evaluate what the candidates are saying and how they are saying it. Good communication skills are demonstrated through clear, concise, and coherent responses. This is crucial for roles that require effective interpersonal communication.

Alignment with Company Values

Assess how well the candidate’s responses align with your company’s culture and values. Their answers should reflect an understanding and acceptance of the principles and ethics that your organisation upholds.

Past Behaviours as Predictors of Future Performance

In behavioural questions, the candidate’s past actions can indicate their future behaviour. Look for patterns in their responses that demonstrate consistent professional conduct and performance.

Enthusiasm and Motivation

Gauge the candidate’s enthusiasm for the role and the company. Genuine interest is often reflected in well-researched and thoughtful responses.

Red Flags

Be alert to any red flags in responses, such as inconsistencies, evasion of certain topics, negative remarks about previous employers, or over-exaggeration.


Remember, the goal is to gather as much meaningful information as possible to make an informed decision about the candidate’s potential fit within the role and the organisation.

Best Practices in Applicant Pre-Screening Questions

Adopting best practices while asking employment pre-screening questions is vital to ensure the process is effective and legally compliant. Here are some strategies to consider:

Compliance with Anti-Discrimination Laws

Familiarise yourself with local and international anti-discrimination and labour laws. Ensure your questions do not inadvertently discriminate based on race, gender, age, religion, disability, or any other protected category.

Standardised Questionnaire

Develop a standardised set of questions for all candidates applying for the same position. This helps in maintaining consistency in the evaluation process.

Training Interviewers

Ensure that those conducting the interviews are well-trained and aware of the legal implications of improper questioning. Regular training sessions on interview techniques and legal compliance can be beneficial.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Respect candidate privacy by keeping their personal and professional information confidential. Be transparent with candidates about how their information will be used and stored.

Objective Evaluation Criteria

Establish clear, objective criteria for evaluating responses. This helps make unbiased decisions and reduces the likelihood of personal biases influencing the outcome.

Feedback Mechanism

Provide candidates with the opportunity to give feedback on the interview process. This can help identify areas for improvement and enhance the candidate experience.

Documenting the Process

Keep records of interviews, including the questions asked and the reasons for selecting or rejecting candidates. This documentation can be crucial in the event of legal scrutiny.


By implementing these best practices, you can ensure prescreening questions for interviews that effectively identify suitable candidates and uphold the highest standards of legal and ethical responsibility.

How 6 Pence Helps

Crafting effective pre-screening interview questions is a complex task, requiring both insight and legal compliance. But it is also crucial for finding the best-fit employee for your company.


If you are struggling with hiring and recruitment challenges, then reach out to us at 6 Pence. We are one of the leading and experienced staff outsourcing and recruitment partners for top companies in Dubai, Oman, Bahrain, and Iraq.


6 Pence helps their business partners to find high-quality candidates who meet their organisational criteria with minimum hassle. We perform rigorous background checks, help process work visas, and assist in the post-hiring phase. 


For more information on how 6 Pence can streamline your hiring process and to learn more about our services, feel free to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pre-screening for an interview? 

A pre-screening for an interview is an initial step in the hiring process where potential candidates are evaluated before a formal face-to-face interview. It usually involves a brief phone or video call, or sometimes an online questionnaire, aimed at verifying the candidate’s basic qualifications, understanding their career objectives, and assessing their fit for the role and company culture.

What questions are typically asked in a screening interview? 

Typical pre-screening interview questions include inquiries about the candidate’s work experience, key skills, and qualifications related to the job. Questions may also cover the candidate’s availability, salary expectations, reasons for leaving their previous job, knowledge about the company and the role they are applying for.

Why is pre-screening important?

Applicant pre-screening questions are important as they help efficiently narrow down the pool of applicants to those most likely to be a good fit for the position. It saves time and resources by identifying qualified candidates early in the hiring process, ensuring that only the most suitable candidates are invited for formal interviews. 


Also Read: Workplace Discrimination: A Guide to Recognition and Action


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