Your Guide to Pre-Screening Interview Questions

Before formal talks with potential candidates, employees often have to answer pre-screening interview questions by a recruiter or human resources head. This helps ensure that the applicants meet the requirements of the role so that the employer does not spend valuable resources by organizing in-person interviews with unqualified candidates.

When someone from your dream company’s HR team reaches out to you for a pre-screening interview, you must take some time to prepare for common questions you might be asked. Relevant and confident answers will prove that you are the top choice for the job, allowing you to progress to the interview stage.

prescreening interview questions

Common Pre-Screening Interview Questions

A pre-screening interview can be scheduled on call, or you could send out an online questionnaire that candidates have to fill out. The first stage of the interview consists of general questions to gauge the candidate’s personality and background.

It is crucial to answer these pre-screening interview questions confidently and honestly since the recruiter will use them to judge a candidate’s goals and whether they will be an asset to the company.

Here are some common pre-screening interview questions with sample answers:

  • Describe yourself in one sentence.

Most companies lead an interview with this opening question. A candidate should tackle this with an elevator pitch and explain their experience, qualifications, and personal strengths. A recruiter might also want to know about your hobbies and communication skills.

Candidates should create a short paragraph that describes them to grasp the recruiter’s attention.

  • What do you think our company goals are?

Candidates are expected to have gone through the company’s website, understood its values and ethics, and have a fair idea of what kind of clients they have.

  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Recruiters want to know the candidate’s professional goals to see if they align with the job goals. So, they should focus on the skills they want to learn and improve instead of their personal lives.

  • How did you learn about our company?

Recruiters like hearing about what caught a candidate’s attention, their ideal work culture, and the kind of employment opportunities they believe they will get at this company.

  • Why are you interested in this specific role?

Employers are always looking for skilled individuals who will add value to their brands. Adequate research on the candidate’s part is expected so that they can be tested on the business’s mission, customer base, and service offerings.

  • How would you describe your ideal working environment?

HR representatives want their employees to be friendly enough to work in a group setting yet focused enough not to get pulled into petty work politics. Candidates must communicate these expectations diplomatically.

  • What are you looking for in this job?

An organization provides a job description with clear expectations of roles for a reason. Candidates are expected to give relevant answers that coincide with the job’s responsibilities.

  • Please quote your salary expectations.

An employee can be honest but must quote realistic, market-competitive rates.

  • Are you currently in talks with another company?

Letting the interviewer know that you have scheduled interviews with other companies will make them believe that you are not as interested in their company and might be using it as a backup option.

  • If shortlisted, how soon can you start your new role at our company?

Most recruiters want their employees to start their new job as soon as possible. It’d be a good idea to check with your previous employers and give a realistic answer.

Background and Experience-Related Questions

Once general questions have been covered, pre-screening interview questions will progress to a candidate’s academic and professional background.

These questions are shaped to help the recruiter understand work history, ideal work environment, and professional achievements.

Here are some potential background and experience-related questions:

• What areas are you most interested in?

• What are your strengths and weaknesses?

• Describe the kind of environment you work best in.

• Can you work under pressure?

• Tell us about a time you used your leadership skills to complete a task.

• Describe your responsibilities at your current job.

• What is your biggest career accomplishment that you are proud of?

• Have you had a hard time with a colleague or manager? How did you navigate the situation?

• What motivates you in a job?

• Please submit a sample of your recent work.


Targeted Pre-Screening Interview Questions

As candidates approach the end of the pre-screening interview, they might be asked targeted questions about the position they seek. These questions will help recruiters study their qualifications and pick out the candidate with the most relevant skills required for the role.

Here are some pre-screening interview questions to prepare for:

• Have you used Excel in the past?

• Which photo editing programs are you most comfortable with?

• Describe a time when you had to work overtime.

• Tell us about a challenging customer that you have dealt with.

• What are some strategies you have implemented to blend into a corporate environment?

• Do you struggle with meeting deadlines?

• How would you deal with team members who are not doing their job adequately?

• In your opinion, what is the best social media marketing strategy for our brand?

• Have you ever thought about launching a product? Tell us about it.

• What do you think is the most important aspect of photography?

Final Tips and Tricks

1. Candidates Should Prepare Any Questions They Might Have

After the pre-screening interview, applicants are encouraged to ask the recruiter any questions they might have. This is the perfect time to communicate interest and enthusiasm for the offered role.

2. Companies Appreciate Thank You Emails

The best way for candidates to follow up on an interview is by sending a thank you email that recognizes the recruiter for the time they took out. This is a courtesy gesture that shows employers that they are capable of taking the initiative and appreciate you reaching out to them.

3. References are Important

Most aspirants underestimate the importance of references. However, most companies will ask for professional or educational references to gauge a potential employee’s personality and work ethic. Update your references before giving them away to potential employers.


TalentZök can help match talent with the best organizations. Your success is our success. It is time to advance your career with TalentZök; regardless of which company you want to work at, we have you covered.


This post is made available for informational purposes only to provide a general understanding of the topics discussed herein. It is not intended to provide specific business, legal, or professional advice and should not be relied on as such. TalentZök is not liable or responsible for any damage or loss arising from any reliance placed on such materials.

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