A pre-screening interview is a quick glance at the basic qualifications that a candidate may have. A brief synopsis of the resume and some quick-fire questions about basic requirements will determine whether the employer wants to move forward with a formal interview process.

The reason that many employers are utilizing this method instead of going right to in-person interviews (or video interviews) is a rather large applicant pool. This allows hiring managers to more rapidly find candidates that will best suit the particular position based on a quick assessment of key knowledge areas. Pre-screening applicants also helps hiring managers to give more of the interview process time to top candidates.

There are two main ways most pre-screening interviews are done: as phone interviews or by video chat. These generally do not exceed 30 minutes and at the end, qualified candidates will be informed if there will be a formal interview and how to set that up. 

How to Be Prepared for a Pre-Screening Interview

Sometimes the job posting will list that a pre-screening interview will be part of the process. Other times, job applicants will be alerted when someone in Human Resources or the hiring manager reaches out to set one up. You can prepare for some pre-screening interview questions by following the tips below. These can also be used with our Pre and Post Interview Checklist.

  • Be as familiar as you can with the job and the organization’s culture. 
  • Have a work sample ready to send or show.
  • Know your work history and how it pertains to the new position.
  • Be able to answer a question about why you want to leave your current job. 
  • Know what your expected salary range is.
  • Incorporate how to quickly discuss your professional development goals. 

Examples of Pre-Screening Interview Questions

These questions will most likely be similar to what you would be asked in a more extensive interview, but the answers to these don’t need to be as lengthy. Keep it short and concise. Leave something to be discussed further all while putting your best foot forward. Below are some examples of what those pre-screening questions might be:

  • What makes you a qualified candidate for this job?
  • Name one of you biggest career accomplishments.
  • •    What are some communication skills you posses?
  • How do you prioritize tasks?

By using this step in the hiring process, employers can save time narrowing the candidate pool down. Reviewing resumes may not be enough to find the right candidate for the position. Alternatively, this interview process could also open the door to other open positions within the company. Ensure you’re prepared to make the cut and move on to the next round.

Still have questions? Connect with one of our recruiters to help you prepare for all the steps in the interview process and landing your dream job. You can also find more articles on interview prep in our Advice section.