What Is A Pre-Screen Interview?

While the general idea of a pre-screen interview is commonly understood across industries, there are some subtle nuances to consider when it comes to screening and pre-screening candidates for blue-collar roles. Keep reading for a thorough definition of a pre-screen interview, all the steps of the pre-screening process, and pro-tips for conducting a pre-screening interview.

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What Is A Pre-Screen Interview?

As the clink of tools signals the start of another day in the world of blue-collar work, a challenge looms large for employers, HR staff, recruiters, and hiring managers: the seemingly impossible task of recruiting and hiring in the face of a massive labor shortage.

This guide is for you — the ones who navigate the rough terrain of the hiring landscape.

A staggering 83% of HR professionals are encountering significant challenges in finding qualified candidates due to the prevailing labor shortage. So what is a pre-screen interview, and how can it help you in this uphill battle?

A pre-screen interview is an important step that involves interviewing prospective job candidates prior to the actual interview and hiring process. It serves as an initial screening mechanism to determine if they meet your job requirements, expectations, and company culture.

The most important component of this screening process is the powerful questions to ask during an interview. Considering that the expense of bringing a new employee on board stands at approximately $4,100 per new hire, these pre-interview questions and answers can give you a sense of a candidate's suitability before investing time and resources in a full-fledged interview. Or even more important, before you hire someone who shouldn't step foot on your job site or into your warehouse.

At Team Engine, we want your recruiting and hiring process to be as efficient and successful as possible. So let's dig deeper into the meaning, process, and preparation for pre-screen interviews, and explore some of the best pre-screening interview questions and answers for the deskless workforce.

Pre Screening Meaning

The pre-screening interview serves as the gatekeeper, the first line of defense in your hiring process. But what exactly is the pre-screening meaning in the context of blue-collar work?

A pre-screening interview, also known as a screening call in an interview, is an initial conversation between the recruiter and the candidate. It's the first checkpoint in the hiring journey, a crucial step that determines whether a candidate has the potential to fit into the fast-paced environment and hands-on work of the blue-collar world.

The pre-screening interview is:

  • A preliminary assessment of a candidate's skills, experience, and suitability for the role.
  • An opportunity to gauge a candidate's interest in the job and their understanding of the role and company.
  • A chance to clarify the job requirements and expectations early on.

Simply put, the pre-screening interview meaning is an opportunity to quickly review a candidate's qualifications and determine if they are suitable for the role you're hiring for before wasting anyone's time.

Here are a few stats to consider:

  • For every single job opening, an average of 118 candidates apply, but only 20% of them get the opportunity to be interviewed.
  • Approximately 78% of resumes are found to be misleading, and about 46% of them contain blatant lies.
  • A majority of recruiters (51%) believe that the best candidate for the job is typically identified after three interviews.

These statistics underscore the importance of understanding the pre-screening interview meaning. It's not just a casual chat, but a strategic process designed to save you time and help you steer clear of costly hiring mistakes.

Pre Screening Process

After posting job ads and reviewing resumes, your next task is the pre-screening process. This step in the hiring journey mirrors the meticulous planning and precision of a well-executed construction project or a smoothly running assembly line.

But what does the process entail?

The pre-screening process is like laying the foundation for a new building. It's the groundwork that ensures the rest of the construction - or in this case, the hiring process - goes smoothly.

Here's a step-by-step guide to the pre-screening process:

Pre-Screening Questionnaire

This is the first step in the process. A pre-screening questionnaire is sent to candidates to gather basic information about their qualifications, experience, and interest in the role. It's like the blueprint for your construction project, giving you an initial idea of what you're working with.

If you use a candidate management system like Team Engine, you can automate this process.

First, Team Engine pre-screens the candidates for you, stacking the best people on the top of the pile. Team Engine can then request a skills test or ask for more information to pre-qualify the candidate even further. If the applicant meets the criteria, they can then proceed to the next step.

Screening Call Interview Questions

Once the questionnaires are reviewed, selected candidates are contacted for a screening call. This is your chance to dig a little deeper, to ask more specific screening call interview questions that help you gauge the candidate's fit for the role. Think of it as inspecting the materials before you start building.

With Team Engine, interview scheduling is also automated. You don't have to waste time going back and forth via email or phone calls to find a time that works for everyone. The system handles that for you.

Preliminary Interview

Also known as the pre-interview, this is a more in-depth conversation that delves into the candidate's skills, experience, and cultural fit. It's like pouring the concrete, setting the foundation for the rest of the construction project (in your case, setting the tone for the rest of the relationship with that potential employee).

Many employers opt to handle these early stages of the hiring process via phone. Here are some tips on how to start a phone interview as the interviewer:

  • Be prepared: Review the candidate's resume and questionnaire responses beforehand.
  • Be clear and concise: Explain the purpose of the call and what the candidate can expect.
  • Be engaging: Encourage the candidate to ask questions and express their thoughts.

Employees in the blue-collar world work closely with their colleagues and the company. From safety to production, their performance is directly linked to you making a successful hire.

By following these steps and understanding the pre-screening interview meaning, you can make sure that only the most suitable candidates make it to the final stages of your hiring process.

How To Prepare For A Pre-Screening Interview

Just as a foreman prepares for the day's work by reviewing blueprints, or a warehouse manager organizes the day's shipments, preparing for a pre-screening interview is a pivotal step in the hiring process.

We get it — managing a deskless workforce is a busy job, and sometimes preparation takes a backseat…

But remember, this initial touchpoint is one of your first impressions on a candidate and one of just a few opportunities to assess their fit for your company.

Without proper preparation, you might miss out on the full potential of that all-important first interview…

So how do you prepare for a pre-screening interview?

  1. Understand the Job Role: You wouldn't send a plumber to paint a house, right? Make sure you're familiar with the job so you can ask specific questions that make sense for the role and your industry. Review the job description, requirements, and expectations in detail.
  2. Review the Candidate's Application: Before the interview, review the candidate's application, resume, and pre-screening questionnaire responses. Look for any areas that need clarification or deeper exploration.
  3. Prepare Your Questions: Develop a set of screening call interview questions to assess the candidate's skills, experience, and fit with your company's culture. For employers, recruiters, and HR teams, these questions are your tools (and they're just as essential as a wrench to a mechanic or a trowel to a bricklayer). These questions could be the difference between finding the perfect candidate and thousands of wasted dollars on employee turnover.
  4. Set the Stage: Begin the interview by introducing yourself, the company, and the role. This sets the tone for the conversation and helps candidates feel more at ease.

Pre-interview preparation is more than just getting ready to ask questions — it sets you and the candidate up for a successful hiring process.

Pre-Screening Interview Questions

Just as a mechanic listens for the telltale signs of an engine problem or a foreman scans a blueprint for details, the questions you ask during a pre-screening interview can reveal a lot about a candidate.

They're your diagnostic tools, helping you identify the best fit for your blue-collar workforce.

Typically, a pre-screening interview will cover more general topics related to the role, the company, and the candidate's background.

Questions might include:

  • What experience do you have in this field?
  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What excites you about this industry?
  • What would you like to learn in this role?

But when compiling a list of pre-screening interview questions, consider the unique aspects of blue-collar work. Safety, hands-on experience, teamwork, and adaptability are all crucial in this environment.

Here are some pre-screening questions for recruiters to help you assess these qualities:

  • How do you approach teamwork, especially in a fast-paced, physically demanding environment?
  • What kind of equipment or machinery are you comfortable operating?
  • Can you describe your experience with safety protocols on a job site?
  • Can you describe a time when you had to complete a task under a tight deadline?
  • Have you ever dealt with an equipment failure? How did you handle it?
  • What have you done to advance your career in the last year?
  • What do you know about our company and the work we do?

Your pre-screening interview questions should be tailored to the specific role and your company's needs. But no matter the specifics, the goal remains the same: to identify the candidates who are not just qualified but will have the grit to thrive in a dynamic blue-collar environment.

These HR screening questions and answers should help you sift through the pile of resumes and find the gems — the candidates who can roll up their sleeves, don their hard hats, and get to work.

What Happens After A Pre-Screen Interview?

Once you've successfully conducted your pre-screening interview, it's time to decide whether or not the candidate should move forward in the hiring process.

If your answer is yes, great — now you can schedule a formal, in-person interview and begin assessing their skills more closely.

If your answer is no, that's okay too — thank them for their time and consider sharing feedback that will help them in their future job search.

It's important to keep this entire process moving along. The tight labor market won't wait, and the best candidates will quickly be scooped up by the competition.

Consider using an applicant tracking software like Team Engine to:

  • Keep track of the candidate's journey, ensuring no one slips through the cracks.
  • Pinpoint areas of improvement in your hiring process.
  • Automate scheduling and follow-ups, saving you time and effort.

The hiring process doesn't end with the pre-screen interview. What comes after a preliminary interview is just as important. And with the right tools, you can recruit, hire, and onboard the best candidates faster than ever before. Get your risk-free trial of Team Engine now to start streamlining your hiring process!

If you’re committed to providing a better, more engaging employee experience, Team Engine makes it possible.