Screening Interview Basics: How To Ensure You Interview The Right Candidates

Top industry insider tips for conducting a successful screening interview.

Screening interview with candidate

A screening interview is one of the best ways HR managers can use to save themselves valuable time in the hiring process. After all, if there is one thing every interviewer dreads, it’s that moment during a meeting with an applicant where they realize that this is a complete waste of time. Even more so, if they can tell that the applicant is picking up on the same vibe.

Thus, setting up a screening step prior to the final interview is a great idea all around. Here are a few top industry insider tips for conducting a successful screening interview.

Screening Interview Best Practices for HR Personnel & Hiring Managers

Candidate screening best practices

Keep it Short & Snappy

There is no need for a screening to run longer than 30 minutes. Keep it short and snappy. This means that you will have to prepare very well so that you can lead the interview effectively.

Allow The Applicant to Prepare

Likewise, give the applicant enough time to prepare. Make sure you inform them about the screening interview well in advance. You can even provide them with a list of potential questions and explain that you want clear and concise answers. This minimizes delays and confusion, allowing you to have a brief yet worthwhile engagement.

Ask the Pertinent Questions

Screening interview questions can seem a little mechanical at times, but there are reasons why certain questions are interview staples. Here are a few questions the interviewer should always ask:

  • What understanding do you have about the position you’re applying for?

It is important to know whether your applicant has a firm grasp of what the position entails. The feedback from this kind of question can also tell you about the success of your recruiting efforts. It can highlight whether your recruitment team is doing a good job of breaking down the important job requirements in your vacancy postings.

  • Why would you like to work for our company in particular?

Any viable applicant will read up on a company at which they are applying for a job. Take note of this as it can tell you about the applicant’s interest in your company. You should also ask if they know anything about the corporate culture of the company. If they don’t, take some time to tell them about it. This also gives them an idea of the work environment and whether or not it will suit them.

Work Environment Questions
  • What is your reason for moving on from your current place of employment?

The answer to this question should not simply stop at ‘I am looking for a new challenge’. If an applicant gives this as an answer, ask them to tell you about the aspects of their prior job they found unchallenging. Or how they would like to grow with your company. Try to see if what they’re looking for complements what your company has to offer.

  • Which management style is best suited to you?

Some employees thrive under an authoritative management style. Others prefer to work under someone with a coaching or collaborative management style. Measure this answer against the knowledge you have of the person who will oversee the applicants’ work. This can tell you if the candidate will be a good fit for the position.

  • What are your salary expectations?

This is an important thing to know. Stay open-minded to the candidate’s answer. If the figure they mention is completely out of your range, ask them to provide a more detailed explanation of the figure. You may find that they will negotiate if there are certain perks included, like upskilling and training or employee benefits.

  • Please give a brief rundown of your professional experience to this point.

This gives you an opportunity to fact-check their CV while they are in front of you. If there are discrepancies, point them out and ask for clarification.

Screening Resume
  • How would your colleagues describe you?

The answer here will tell you more about their personal feelings towards their current work environment. This is valuable information to have as it points towards their confidence in their skills and how they associate with their coworkers and supervisors.

Prompt a Follow-Up Response & Tie it To a Deadline

At the end of the interview, you can ask the applicant to submit a review task. It can be something as simple as ‘summarise your major strengths in a paragraph’. Set a deadline like, ‘email it to me by tomorrow morning at 09:00’. This will show you whether they can follow directions. It will also show you if they can deliver work timeously.

Final Thoughts

Screening interviews clear the way for better hiring decisions. Do as the pros do by keeping it short and snappy. Also, give candidates time to prepare and use insightful questions and tasks to get the most out of the interaction.

Are you ready to decrease your cost of acquisition significantly? Hiring exceptional talent is the first step to building a great workforce. Let us help you promote, attract, and assess your talent. Contact us to learn more today!