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6 Screening Questions to ALWAYS Ask


InterviewWith the proliferation of articles out there on interviewing, you’d be tempted to assume that interviewing a new applicant is easy, or at least a skill that every hiring manager has down pat. Even seasoned recruiters and HR professionals have trouble occasionally with interviews. As a video interviewing company, we see lots of behind the scenes data about interviewing, particularly screening questions.

The pre-recorded video interview (we call them GreenJob One-Ways) has the capacity to screen out the candidates who aren’t right for your organization, and while many of our clients hold lengthier video screenings, we find that the magic number tends to hover right around six questions. Live interviews can and DO go longer, but so many experts give you ten questions to choose from. With five minutes per question, that can make watching the screens take about an hour; fine for later rounds of interviews, not as simple for a first-round screen.

So, six is the magic number. Here are the six screening questions you have to ask to get a lot of impact in minimal time increments.

1)    What are you looking for in a job?

This question might seem like a simple opener, but in reality it gives you a chance to hear what they actually want. Pay attention to things they say they want that you cannot or will not provide as an organization or in this specific role. For example, when someone speaks wistfully about their creative process, chances are the systems admin job is not going to work for longer than it takes them to find a new gig. Conversely, if they say something you CAN provide, you can tip off the hiring manager to mention it during the live interview, a crucial arrow in the talent acquisition quiver.

2)    What attracted you to this organization?

This allows the job seeker to show off their knowledge regarding the company and the position while giving you a chance to suss out whether or not they’ve adequately prepared. It also lets the interviewer compare answer #1 to answer #2. The goal is not to screen people out but to understand if the job seeker even knows what their goals are and can articulate them. It’s also to understand what attracts candidates to your company and whether your job advertisements are doing the opening justice.

3)    How would you apply your skills to this job?

This takes the ever popular “Tell me what you’d do in your first 90 days” question and combines it with the “Why are you the right person for this position?” The answer gives you an idea of how they can apply their unique skillset (they already saw the job description right?) to the job you have available and whether or not they can think on their feet. Listen for specific numbers or examples of similar tasks performed before. If you understand what the position needs and how current candidates can fit into the position, it will be easier to fill in a timely manner. Considering 54% of employers have difficulties finding qualified candidates to fill their open positions, understanding exactly what the team needs can diminish time spent searching for the ideal candidate.

4)    What quality/qualities are you looking for in a team/manager?

This depends on the position of course, but you need to know whether this person can deal with a team or manager and if so, what kind. If they rave about qualities like focus, vision and new opportunities, then great. If they focus more on what they DON’T want in a team or a manager, then you may have spotted a warning sign. A study by CareerBuilder shows that 50% of employers say that talking negatively about current or former employers is detrimental to a candidate’s interview. These negative implications could be harbingers of issues in teamwork upon hiring.

5)    What is your biggest weakness and how do you plan to overcome it?

This question serves two purposes. The first if to find the answer to the question so you can adequately manage this person (or someone on your team can) and the second is to show that in your organization any weakness can be overcome and there is value assigned to those who try to tackle personal goals.

6)    Tell me about your experience at ________ and what you’d do differently here.

This gives you a chance to analyze their answers around past employment or to tell you why they are choosing to leave. The most recent job is also the most likely to be similar to the one you’re offering, so is therefore, the most applicable. But the last piece of the question is the most important. By allowing them to take accountability to their previous work, you set the stage for a healthy work environment if and when you select them for the next round interview.

If you stick with screening questions that relate to a candidate’s qualifications, how their mistakes and successes molded them into the professional they are today, and why they were attracted to your organization in the first place it will be easier to make it through the interview without a hitch. Don’t forget one thing: six is the magic number, despite the average of ten screening questions many experts provide. Using GreenJobInterview’s video interviewing tools like GreenJob One-Way, is the perfect way to maintain a short screening process so you can find your ideal candidate quickly.





photo credit: anieto2k via photopin cc

Julie Salerno
Julie Salerno provides guidance and leadership to the GreenJobInterview sales team and is responsible for the ongoing growth of the company’s revenues and profitability. In June of 2014, Salerno was named the head of strategic alliances. In this role, she works with GreenJobInterview’s extensive network of partners on co-marketing, technology integrations and strategic planning. Julie assists in managing the company’s resources, and improving business processes from sales to service.