Crafting Your Dream Team: 45 Candidate Screening Questions to Ask Today

Written by
Faith Madzikanda
Last updated:
Created on:
November 16, 2023

Crafting Your Dream Team: 45 Candidate Screening Questions to Ask Today

Recruitment involves a tight-rope walk between efficiency and thoroughness. You need to know candidates well enough to make the right decision, but can’t afford to sacrifice too much time in the process.

Effective candidate screening is a happy medium.

Screening questions are an efficient way to uncover the hidden aspects of a candidate’s potential, skills, and compatibility. They help you venture beyond the shiny surface people naturally want to present, revealing insights into the real person beneath.

In this extensive guide from Willo, we’ve compiled a hiring toolkit designed to elevate your interview screening questions. We'll delve into the what, why, and how before sharing a list of 45 top interview questions – each designed to uncover the best of the best. 

Let’s get started!

What Are Interview Screening Questions?

Whether you have one candidate per role or the corporate average of 250 applicants, screening is a critical process that helps you figure out if someone is the right fit. Screening questions sift through potential candidates in the initial stages of recruitment. They probe into their qualifications, competencies, behavioral traits, and cultural fit within your organization. 

Image Source: What To Become

Statistic Source: Yello

Screening questions are brief but thoughtfully designed to draw out valuable answers. They discover vital details about a candidate, including their suitability for the role, availability, and salary expectations. 

In essence, screening questions evaluate who's perfect for the role but more importantly, who isn't. They act as the gatekeepers in the hiring process, saving time and increasing effectiveness, and ensuring only those suitable proceed to the next stage – formal interviews.

Why Are Screening Questions So Important?

Assessing a candidate’s suitability 

Screening questions determine if a candidate will mesh with your company's culture and ethos. They offer insights into their values, working style, and social skills, which helps to better understand their potential place in your organization.

Uncovering the applicant’s skills and qualifications 

Screening interview questions evaluate whether a candidate's technical abilities, experience, education, and qualifications align with your job requirements. However, while hard skills are important, it's equally vital to notice soft skills.

Gleaning additional candidate expectations

Screening questions provide a window into the applicant's expectations and ambitions for the role, ensuring that there’s alignment with what you (and the job) are offering, and avoiding any wasted time. Ultimately, this contributes to a great candidate experience.

How to Conduct a Candidate Screening Interview

Navigating the hiring process requires strategic planning, and the screening interview is no exception. 

Let’s take a closer look:

Image Source: StandOut CV

Statistics Sources: Personnel Today; StandOut CV

1. Plan the pre-screening interview process

The next step involves planning the screening process in detail:

  • Prepare questions: Begin by preparing interview questions to ask job candidates. Your aim should be to verify the candidate's qualifications, assess their skills and work style, and gauge their cultural fit within your company.
  • Allocate time: Set aside an appropriate amount of time for each candidate. For traditional interviewing this should include the interview itself, collecting feedback, and reviewing. For async interviews, you can devote almost all of your time to reviewing candidates’ responses.
  • Develop a scoring system: Consider devising a scoring system or a checklist to compare candidates efficiently. This method can help standardize your evaluation process and reduce bias.
  • Set up your tech: Interview and recruitment tech has come a long way. Recruiters now have the option of using asynchronous video interview tools like Willo to assess skills, experience, and cultural fit effectively and efficiently. Async interviews are a win-win—interviewers can create a single interview and share it with multiple candidates, while candidates can relax knowing they can schedule the interview to fit their busy lives.

Willo helps recruitment teams screen candidates at scale with a range of question types, easily shareable interview links, and an accessible, browser-based design. Candidates can access Willo interviews on any device, anywhere in the world.

Plus, Willo fits seamlessly into your company's recruitment tech stack, thanks to native integrations with platforms like Slack, Google Workspace, and Lever (plus 5,000 more through Zapier).

Want to see Willo in action? Book a demo or take a look at this article on how Willo’s async video interviews helped Endava save 100 recruitment hours while hiring 60 interns.

2. Invite candidates to interview

When you have your interview platform set up, you have to make sure candidates know about it. 

You can do this in two different ways: 

  • Send a special invitation: Once someone applies for a role, email them inviting them to a screening interview. The link should contain information about the one-way interview process, opportunities for practice, and resources for support.
  • Embed the invitation in your ATS process: When a candidate applies, they are either automatically taken to a screening interview page (like a Willo interview) or receive an auto-responder inviting them to take part in the screening interview.

3. Review responses with stakeholders

Once you start getting responses, it’s time to get your team involved.

Share strong interviews with your team, for example by using Willo’s Showcase feature to keep their responses and comments organized. Use the feedback you collect to decide who should move on to the next round of interviews.

Boost Your Interview Game With These 45 Screening Questions

Screening interview questions let you spot the contenders before they take the next step in your hiring process. So, let’s dive in and explore how to prepare for interviews with some stellar examples:

Applicant’s background

These questions offer insight into a candidate's life outside of work.

  1. Can you share a brief introduction about yourself?
  2. What’s your greatest strength?
  3. What’s an area in which you could improve?
  4. Can you help me understand this gap in your employment?
  5. Who has significantly inspired you and why?

Workplace preferences

These questions help determine how well they’ll fit within your company.

  1. Could you describe how you approach work?
  2. What elements separate a positive work environment from a negative one?
  3. How much time do you typically need to excel in a new role?
  4. How do you think managers should deal with lagging job performance?

Prior experience

These questions help to reveal what they have learned from past roles and how their experiences might benefit your company.

  1. What was your greatest achievement in your last role?
  2. What did you like most and least about your previous position?
  3. Can you provide an example of how you handled a mistake at work?
  4. Can you share a brief overview of your work experience?
  5. How would your current supervisor describe you?
  6. How have your experiences in various workplaces shaped your career journey?

How well do they know your company?

These questions gauge their knowledge and interest in your organization and the specific role they're applying for.

  1. What brought you here today?
  2. What do you know about our company's culture?
  3. Can you describe what we do?
  4. What drew you to our company?
  5. How does this role align with your career goals?
  6. What would you say is the most important thing our company stands for?

Role expectations

These questions seek to understand if they understand what goes into the role and if they can handle the responsibilities.

  1. How do you meet the requirements?
  2. Can you describe how you handled a task relevant to this role in a previous job?
  3. How would you manage it if your team resisted an idea you introduced?
  4. What tactics would you use to motivate your team?
  5. What kind of daily responsibilities are you hoping for?

Candidate’s expectations 

These questions uncover their motivations, career expectations, and preferences, which can indicate their potential satisfaction levels moving forward.

  1. What motivates you at work?
  2. What are your salary expectations?
  3. Are you open to relocation or work-related travel, if needed?
  4. What factors go hand-in-hand with job satisfaction?
  5. If you were in my shoes, what characteristics would you value?

Skills-based questions

These questions aim to evaluate their hard skills and their ability to perform job-specific tasks.

  1. Can you describe your experience with…?
  2. How do you handle tight deadlines and high workloads?
  3. Can you provide an example of a project where you used a specific skill?
  4. How do you stay updated in your field?
  5. What professional achievement are you most proud of?
  6. How do you ensure accuracy in your work?

Personality questions

This set of questions seeks to uncover how they behave in specific situations based on their past experiences and personality traits. 

  1. Describe a time when you went the extra mile to achieve something.
  2. Could you tell us when you overcame an obstacle at work?
  3. How do you handle feedback and criticism? Can you provide a specific example?
  4. Describe a situation when you had to collaborate with a difficult team member. How did you tackle it?

Wrapping up questions

These questions provide a final opportunity to gauge their interest in the role and clarify any doubts.

  1. How did you feel about the video interview process with us?
  2. Is there anything else you’d like to say that we didn’t already ask about?
  3. What aspects of the role are you most excited about?
  4. How has this interview process impacted your interest in the position, if at all?

Boost your interview screening questions with Willo

Screening questions aren't just a simple check-in-the-box process – they're your secret to finding the best fit for your team. You're digging into everything from previous experience to how well they'll mesh with your company culture. 

Remember, you're not just looking at skills, but at behavior and values. And when you've got your questions ready to go, uncovering their potential gets a lot easier! But let's make it even better. 

Enter Willo.

Willo can turn your screening process from good to great. Time is money, and Willo users save an average of 36 hours per month by switching from traditional video and face-to-face interviews. That's nearly a week's worth of work!

So why not give it a go? Click here to start your 15-day free trial with Willo. Supercharge your hiring success and find your next superstar employee.

Faith Madzikanda
Customer Success
LinkedIn profile

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