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What is Prescreening?

Prescreening A CandidatePrescreening is a process that, when executed well, can save you hours of time and lots of headaches. It pays off because you’ll bring in only the qualified candidates for interviews, and your interview team will be grateful that they will be interviewing job seekers who have scored well in the prescreening process.

What Does Prescreening Include?

Prescreening includes an in-depth review of the candidate’s resume, cover letter and whatever social media is allowed by your company’s policies. This last element varies from company to company and can have legal implications, so commit yourself and your team to follow the guidelines. Even though you may think online postings are public and therefore allowable for prescreening, there may be legal reasons your company does not agree.

The Purpose

Some say that the purpose of prescreening is to eliminate applicants who are unqualified, but I prefer to view it as more of a selection of qualified candidates. Which of the applicants has presented a case for you to move to the next step, a screening interview? This interview gives both you and the candidate an opportunity to decide if a full interview with you and your team is warranted.

The prescreen interview can be a phone call, but now with our virtual world, most hiring managers arrange for a Zoom meeting which will give you even more information than a phone call. You will see body language, emotion, motivation, etc. You will also be evaluating professionalism and rapport. And a Zoom meeting allows the candidate a better opportunity to evaluate you as well.

“Maybe” – “Yes” – “No”

Prescreening lets you move “maybe” candidates to either “yes” or “no.” Prescreening lets you move “maybe” candidates to either “yes” or “no.” The prescreen interview, whether using phone or video, should be no longer than 15 – 30 minutes. Always have a plan for this interview and make sure you get the information needed to decide if someone should be brought to the next step, a formal meeting with your full interview team. For every prescreen call, prepare a list of questions you will ask, and please do take notes. Don’t try to squeeze these calls in between meetings or rush through them. Rather, set aside time for them. You won’t make good choices otherwise, and if you’re rushed and distracted you certainly won’t be giving the candidate the consideration and opportunity to present themselves.

Let the candidates know that this is a screening call and you have a few questions for them. Know that how you conduct the session can either build confidence with the candidate or diminish it.

We’ll cover more about the prescreening process in our next blog.

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