Pre-screening takes place after you have identified a potential job candidate and before an in-person interview. Some people view pre-screening as an unnecessary extra step when in reality that extra step saves time.
This article describes the pre-screening process, explains how it saves you time and offers tips on the phone-screening protocol.
How does pre-screening save time?
First off, pre-screening saves time because it is nearly always conducted over the phone. Phone dialogues are much quicker than in-person meetings, plus you don’t need to schedule the conversation.
Second, pre-screening is the most efficient method for weeding out the people who will end up costing your company more time and money than the worth they offer.
If you did your homework and conducted a department needs evaluation and job analysis, you know what kind of person is competent and qualified to carry out the job. If you selected your potential candidates based on these criteria, then you may think you’re good to go.
But hold on! The pre-screening step ensures the candidate is interested in your job and company. A candidate who is interested in the job and the company is more likely to take the job, and far more likely to stay at the job.
If you spend time interviewing a candidate who isn’t going to take the job, you’re wasting your time. If you end up hiring somebody who leaves after four or six months, you’re wasting your time.
How to conduct a pre-screening
A pre-screening should take about half an hour. Make sure you take lots of notes during the conversation. Candidates tend to blend together after a few calls and interviews.
Don’t drill into the candidate’s job history or work ethic, but do ask carefully constructed questions to evaluate the individual’s likelihood of staying with the company. For some ideas on questions, check out the pre-screening questions download in the Resources section.
Begin with asking what the candidate knows about your company, and why he or she is interested in the job. Then ask questions that center around the individual’s past and current behavior. Delve out any statements that raise red flags such as:
- I have a real job already but I’m looking for something to supplement my income
- I didn’t like anyone that worked there, and they didn’t like me
- My favorite part about that job was watching American Chopper all day
Once you have determined the candidate’s ability and willingness to complete the job-specific tasks, set up an in-person interview.