10 Pre-Screening Interview Questions & Answers

Wondering what a pre-screen interview is? Need interview questions and answers for the upcoming pre-screen? We’ve got you covered. We’ll look at what a pre-screen interview is, why it’s done, who might do it, what to expect and interview questions (along with answers) for the upcoming interview session. Let’s get started.

What is a pre-screen interview

All companies have their own process for hiring. There are going to be some differences when it comes to the size of the company, the sector of the company and who is doing the hiring. But for the most part, there are a few parts to the interview process. From finding the candidates who the company feels is going to be a best fit, to reaching out to those candidates or having them apply, to then ensuring that the candidates are the right fit before putting them into the traditional hiring process (like interviewing on-site or going through a number of group interviews).

During the initial phases of the process, particularly an emphasis on the process where the company is trying to ensure that the candidates they are speaking with are a good fit, is where pre-screening comes in. For example, let's say a Product Manager is hiring for his team, he might be the one who is reaching out to you and asking if you’d be interested in the open position. If you respond yes, then he might want to jump on the phone with you and “pre-screen” you with a number of questions before handing you over to the HR department. This is almost like an early quality check.

Why is a pre-screen done

Like mentioned, this early quality check makes sure that you are a good fit for the opportunity. The last thing the company wants to do is have you interview for a position which you might not want or be qualified for. And when that happens, the company spends considerable amounts of time, accidentally, trying to hire someone who wasn’t a good fit to begin with.

What you should expect in a pre-screen interview

Most of the time, a pre-screen interview is very informal. It’s about the potential candidate and the hiring manager or team leader asking you a number of questions which ensures you both are on the same page about the opportunity. Expect this to happen over the phone, similar to a phone interview, but in a much more relaxed fashion. You won’t need to be as prepared to answer strict interview questions as you might be otherwise. This is because the conversation should be informal. If it isn’t, you might want to ask the person you are speaking with if this is a formal interview or not. If they say it is, tell them you were not prepared for that and would appreciate if you could reschedule in order to prepare properly.

Pre-screening interview questions & answers

1. What are you working on right now?

We’re involved in a number of initiatives relative to our department. The management team has set some high expectations for our quarterly goals, it’s an exciting time. New challenges, new opportunities and hopefully new milestones.

2. Do you like the company you’re working with?

I have a great deal of respect for the company. I love working here. It has been an incredible opportunity and I can’t thank the leadership team enough for what they’ve given me.

3. Have you thought about the idea of exploring other opportunities?

I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities, more so in a passive way. Right now I’m not searching for new opportunities but if the right thing fell onto my lap, I might have to consider it.

4. We have this open opportunity, can I walk you through it and see if you might be interested?

I’d be interested in hearing more. Do you have a job listing? Can you send it over to me so I can let you know if this is something I’d be interested in pursuing?

5. What are your current salary expectations?

At the moment I am between the [$X - $X range]. Of course, I’m always looking for career advancement opportunities and looking to take on new levels of responsibility that are good fits for my career path.

6. Would you be interested in relocating?

It depends on the opportunity and the location. I’d be interested in hearing more about the opportunity, budget for the role and see if that fits in with the idea of me relocating. I always say it depends because I have family and friends who are committed to me here. And their supports keeps me happy and healthy, which lets me perform well at work.

7. What do you know about our company?

I have a good sense of the companies mission as well as the founding story. Though, I’d love to hear more about how the company presents its missions to the employees internally.

8. What’s the most fun about your current role?

There are always new challenges. Some days are harder than others but because the climb uphill is always worth it, we take a break, put back on the boots and continue the climb.

9. Would you be interested in hearing about our culture?

I would love to. Culture is very important to me, in particular, transparency and collaboration. I’d love to hear if the environment nurtures that type of culture.

10. How long have you been at your current company?

I’ve been with the company for around [X] months. I’m committed to our missions here and see a great forecast and outlook on the companies overall success.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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