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10 Good Questions To Ask in a Screening Interview To Learn Surprising Things

A strong screening process can make the hiring process more successful. With the right screening, you can quickly eliminate less suitable candidates and give the hiring manager more time to focus on interviewing the top candidates. Screening can also give you insight into a candidate's personality, strengths, weaknesses, and skill set. The key to making the screening process successful is to ask the right questions.

Good screening questions for job applicants provide you with valuable information about your candidate. Some of that information might surprise you, and that's a good thing. The goal is to learn information about your candidates that you won't get from their resumes. This will provide guidance about their suitability for the position and the organization itself.

Every organization will need to personalize its screening questions to suit the position and company culture. However, whatever questions you ask should be open-ended. By avoiding yes or no questions, you give the candidate an opportunity to go in-depth on their answers and give you more information to base your decisions on. 

Over time, you'll get to know what questions work best for your screening process, but it's good to try new questions to see what kind of information they might bring out.

Good Questions to Ask in a Screening Interview

Whether you are completing the screening process online, in-person, or over the phone, here are 10 good screening questions to ask your job applicants. 

1. What is your favorite thing about your current job? 

Start the screening off with a positive question asking what they like about what they do. If they can't identify any positives about their current position, that's a major red flag for a future employer

This question can give you insight into what they like about their work and how that might fit into the position you are offering. 

2. What's the biggest challenge you face in your current position?

This question can give you insight into why they are leaving their position and seeking a new one. Some people leave because of management, a lack of opportunity, or because they are ready for a new challenge. 

Asking them to talk about their current challenges can give you insight into why they are leaving, but it could also give you insight into how they handle challenges at work. 

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3. What do you think makes a team successful? 

Even if they are going to be doing a lot of work independently, it's good to know how they'll fit into their department. Asking them what makes a team successful can clue you into their work style and how they might mesh with potential co-workers. 

4. When working on several deadlines at the same time, how do you prioritize?

Dig deeper into your candidate's organizational skills, time management skills, and communication style. This question will tell you if they are good at meeting deadlines and how they react under the pressure of multiple deadlines. 

It can also give insight into their critical thinking skills and how they view management.

5. What makes you a good fit for this organization? 

Company culture matters, and this is a good screening question to get to know how your candidate will fit into the organization. 

What it also tells you is whether they've done their research on the company. If they have, that's a good sign they are serious about the position. If they haven't, they might not be top talent

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6. Tell me about your favorite and least favorite managers. 

This is a question that will help you dig into their work style and how they like to be led. Their answer can tell you whether they'll be a good match with the manager of the position. 

For example, if they liked their manager's laid-back style, they might not do well with a more direct management style.

7. What do you hope to gain from this position? 

Is it skills, money, or a step up to their ideal position? Find out what they want from this job and their motivation for applying for it. 

Their answers can tell you if it's the position that excited them, the company, or the job title is just a stop-over for their next move. 

8. What is your ideal work environment? 

This is another company culture question that will tell you whether the candidate will be a good match for the organization. 

Do they love an open-plan collaborative environment? Do they prefer to work remotely? See if what they want and what you can offer are going to match up. 

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9. What skill have you had to develop and how did you do it? 

No one has mastered every skill. Find out if they can identify skills gaps they had in the past and what they did to learn a new skill. 

People who are willing (and even eager) to learn new skills are often better to have in the team than those who already think they know everything. 

10. Tell me something about yourself that might surprise me. 

This is a great closing question to use in the screening process. You are likely to learn some interesting information about your candidate that wouldn't come out in a typical interview. 

You might discover their hobbies, more about their personality, or their dreams and goals. It can really make a candidate stand out or cause them to self-disclose something that takes them out of the running for the new position. 

Final Thoughts: Questions to Ask in a Screening Interview

Every step of the hiring process is important when you are looking for the best candidates in a competitive job market. But getting those early stages and asking good screening questions for job applicants is essential.

Learn more about how you can make data-driven decisions to improve your hiring process and increase your quality of hire metrics. Schedule a demo with the Crosschq team today.

Debra Carney

by Debra Carney

Director of Marketing

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