Use Prescreening Questions to Eliminate Unqualified Candidates


If you’ve done a great job of posting your open jobs, you might have the fortunate problem of having received an intimidating number of candidates. At this point, it might seem daunting to go through all the applications you’ve received. Often there are many unqualified candidates vying for the same position, making it difficult to find those who are actually qualified and worth bringing in for an interview. When you are rushed on time, it is easy to make a mistake and end up choosing a bad hire. This can lead to several negative effects, including costing the company money, reducing productivity, affecting employee morale and clients, and otherwise making issues for your company.

According to MightyRecruiter, using prescreening questions can help you to save time and money by eliminating unqualified candidates before you even start the hiring process. This increases the chance of finding the right employee for your company without adding much work for you.

Save Time
It is common for jobseekers to apply for jobs for which they are unqualified. If you expect to have more than 40 candidates apply for a position, then asking questions to screen applicants provides a way to cut through the stack and get rid of all of the unqualified candidates right away. You can spend the time you saved giving the remaining applicants a closer look, further reducing the applicant pile until you have a strong group to bring in for an interview.

Verify Specific Qualifications
If the open position requires certain qualifications, such as a particular certification or experience with a certain computer program, then prescreening questions allow you to cut out those without experience before you even look at their resumes. As part of the application process, all candidates have to answer the specific question. Anyone who answers no should be removed from the application pile right away, before you waste time looking at their resume or cover letters. This reduces the chance that you will get to the final stages of the hiring process with someone who appears to be a strong candidate, only to find out he or she does not have this one necessary qualification.

Ensure Only Serious Candidates Apply
When you have an extra step to your application process, it adds work for the applicant. Many who are not that serious about the job will simply give up and not even apply. The questions also impart information about the position that the jobseeker might not have seen or paid attention to during an initial scan of the job posting. Upon seeing this information at this point in the application process, a would-be applicant who does not meet those qualifications might decide to stop applying. This weeds out a certain percentage of unqualified candidates before they even submit resumes to you.

Picking the Right Questions
Such questions are only as effective as their ability to eliminate unqualified candidates. Therefore, you want to be sure to choose the right one. Focus on qualifications that can screen through candidates rather than questions that most people can answer positively. Think about the job requirements and be specific. You might also include information about the next steps in the hiring process to ensure applicants are willing to partake in it, such as a background check or additional testing. Choose close-ended questions to minimize the chances of candidates being able to wiggle their way out of having to answer. It also reduces how much time you have to take to read their answers. Consider these example questions:

• Do you have experience in a particular computer program?
• Are you willing to work a particular shift?
• How much are you able to travel for work?
• Are you willing to take an assessment or personality test as part of the application process?
• Do you have a particular certification?
• What is your highest level of education?

Just be sure to stick to the actual job requirements and avoid anything that might appear discriminatory.

Using prescreening questions is an easy way to get your applicant pile down to just qualified candidates without wasting your time and effort. Between candidates screening themselves out and your own quick check for the right answers to the questions, you will have a stronger pool to start searching for your optimal candidate in.

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