Recruitment agencies and employers will often receive a high response for many of their vacancies with many candidates initially appearing to be suitable. To make sure they can identify the best candidates to progress to the interview stage they will need a suitable screening and pre-interview strategy. If a large number of candidates first appear to be relevant then there is the need to find the most suitable to invite for interview.

CV’s and application forms are often used to identify suitable candidates but they can sometimes be inaccurate or misleading. Many CV’s will only contain basic information, so the recruiter will want to find out more before inviting a candidate to an interview. Often a structured telephone interview or a less formal pre-screening conversation will be the first stage of the recruitment process. Many questions can be asked over the telephone first of all to save time and prevent wasting time by interviewing unsuitable applicants face to face.

Basic, standard questions are usually asked in a pre-screening telephone interview, these can include; Why are you interested in this vacancy? What can you bring to the role? Why did you leave / are looking to leave your last or current position? What are your salary expectations? The recruiter can tell the candidate the basic information about the vacancy such as hours of work, key duties and salary. The pre-interview screening does work both ways and it is better to identify anyone with unrealistic expectations at this stage. This can also be an opportunity to clarify any queries the recruiter may have about the CV such as dates of employment or any gaps in the employment history. Many recruiters can ask these questions in an interview, but the answers they get are not satisfactory then the interview has been a waste of time.
Tests are also used by many employers and recruiters before conducting interviews. For skilled and technical positions a test can show whether or not the applicant has the right skills required for that vacancy, for example a software developer, electronics engineer or a welder. These can take the form of theoretical or practical tests.

Behavioural or psychometric interview questions are becoming more and more popular with employers, especially for senior or managerial vacancies or for jobs such as sales or customer service. In these kinds of roles personal qualities can be as important as experience or qualifications. These questionnaires can usually be completed online in the applicants own time and the results can form the basis of interviews.

Author's Bio: 

Richard Navin is an experienced recruitment consultant and owner of RJN Selection, an engineering recruitment agency. Please visit for more information.