July 1, 2023

How to conduct a screening interview


Time is one of the primary resources of any enterprise leader and business owner. Another vital resource is the staff. The faster and better the process of searching for and selecting candidates for vacant positions is, the more effective it is for the business.


We will talk about how to balance the time and hiring process today.

What is screening?

Screening is a process that helps filter candidates before the primary interview. Limited timing and a clear set of questions that require simple and quick answers allow the interviewer to relatively accurately determine whether the candidate is, in general, suitable for the open position or not.

Thus, the main screening task is to confirm that the person meets the basic requirements of the vacancy and is ready to start work at the agreed time and within the approved salary range. Plus, it is essential at this stage to check the integrity of their resume’s data and evaluate their soft skills, such as overall adequacy, logic, consistency of judgments, etc.

Screening is usually conducted by the recruiter, as opposed to pre-screening, which is conducted by the sourcer and is a preliminary candidates’ selection based on the results of their resumes and pre-screening questionnaire with brief pre-screening questions, or, sometimes, pre-screening interview.


In recent years, screen interviews are often led online, by video calls, or by phone. Before setting up the meeting for the candidate, the recruiter identifies what questions to be asked at the interview, prepares the list of crucial markers they will note in the candidate’s answers, and carefully analyzes the pre-screen materials on the candidate prepared by the sourcer.


Markers for each vacancy and company are their own. They are based on the skills and values associated with the company and the job. These should be tracked as a checklist that will show if the candidate is suitable for the role and whether further interviews should be scheduled or not.


For example, if the role requires teamwork, this is one of the markers. While the candidate describes their previous place of work, it is worth paying attention to how they define their relationships with their colleagues, what tasks they liked to perform more than others, and why.

What questions should be asked during the screening interview?

The recruiters will make their lists of screening interview questions for each screening interview, but sample blocks of questions might look like that:

  • Rechecking the basic information provided in the resume.
  • Professional skills’ screening.
  • Questions about tools and technologies known and used by the candidate.
  • Motivation.
  • Organizational questions.
  • Expected salary.
  • General work expectations.


Guides and eBooks at their best

The useful materials that clarify how to build efficient recruiting & HR processes
Download for free

How to check the sincerity of the answer?

To try to get more accurate markers, you can use the following simple technique:

  1. Ask a question. If you get a quick response, most likely, it is prepared in advance.
  2. Ask some other questions on different topics to distract the candidate.
  3. Rephrase the question that interested you and ask it again. If the answer differs from the previous one, it is most likely more truthful.


There are no insignificant stages in the recruiting process. Each step is essential. But screening is one of the key ones. If the recruiter at this stage makes a recruitment mistake in assessing the candidate and selects the wrong person or, on the contrary, misses the right one, it will be possible to correct this. But precious time and strenuous efforts will be wasted. And if the necessary talent is missed, they may be hired by the competitor and become unavailable.