Interview Like A Boss–The Prescreening Interview

Series: How to Interview Like a boss

The Prescreening Interview

Performed via phone or video, a prescreening interview is a great tool to help you streamline your hiring process. In a 10-20 minute conversation, you can quickly determine what makes sense as a next step. Typically, the prescreening interview will include basic questions to determine if there is a match. These questions can be lumped into three major categories.

General Resume Background and History

  • Verify the resume history. Get or verify dates of employment for each role/company. Ask for reasons for the recent job changes.
  • Tell me about your major responsibilities and duties in your current position (or the role that is most relevant).
  • Why are you looking for something new at this time?
  • What are your salary expectations?

This Role and Questions to Determine a Potential Match

  • Provide an overview of the role including the day-to-day duties and what they should accomplish if they are successful in the role.
  • If the role requires travel, non-routine hours, or relocation, share this information and ask how they feel about these requirements.
  • If there are specific skills needed for this role, ask about their relevant experience.
  • Why would this job be a good next step for you in your career?

General Personality and Cultural Fit Questions

  • What are you looking for in a new role?
  • What are you looking for in a company?
  • Ask questions about their career goals.

The amount of time you spend on these questions will likely be determined by how well you think the potential candidate may be a match. If you know early on, this is a good match, feel free to move forward with scheduling an in-person interview and make note to revisit the unasked questions during the in-person session. If you are on the fence, continue probing by asking more of these questions or follow-up questions. As soon as you feel the candidate may not be a good match, politely share this information and end the call.

Possible Red Flags

In this prescreening interview, there are red flags to look for. The big ones are inappropriate energy level for the team/company/manager, focusing on money and benefits too much, the inability to articulate what they want next in their career, and the inability to give a compelling reason for considering a job change at this time.

You should always listen to your instincts; if the prescreen just isn’t feeling right, don’t move forward. This step can save you the time and trouble involved in meeting a person who, despite a strong resume, does not meet all your needs.

Written by Tiffany Appleton, Director of Accounting & Finance Division