30 Screening Interview Questions for Hiring Managers

30 Screening Interview Questions for Hiring Managers

If you want to find the right people for your team and make the most of everyone's time, then you need to set up solid pre-screening interviews. These brief, focused conversations are an invaluable initial filter for both hiring managers and candidates.

The screening interview validates whether your initial impressions of each other and the role are correct. You’ll answer the question, “Is there a potential match here?” without diving too deep into skills and experience. That’s for later!

Check out our top 30 screening interview questions below and tips on how to conduct a pre-screening interview like a pro.

What is a pre-screening interview?

A pre-screening interview (also simply called a screening interview) is an early step in the hiring process designed to evaluate candidates and determine if they should move on to the next stage – be it an in-depth interview, an assessment or meeting with other key team members. This screening interview is usually a 30-60-minute phone or video chat where you can touch on things like skills, qualifications, motivation and value fit to assess and narrow down your list of top candidates.

According to Isaiah Hankel, CEO of Cheeky Scientist, these types of interviews "allow employers to screen more job candidates for skills that can’t necessarily be assessed based on resumes alone." With pre-screening interviews, you can be sure that only the most suitable candidates move forward in the interview process and that you give them the information they need to make their decision.

Screening interview questions to ask

We've put together a list of 30 thoughtfully crafted screening interview questions that'll help you identify who you want to move forward in your hiring process. 👇 Remember it's just a pre-screening interview, so no need to ask all 30 questions! (A handful should be enough.) Choose the ones that are most important to you and will help you in your decision-making process.

Questions about previous work experience

Ask these questions to learn how candidates' past roles and projects align with all the requirements of the position.

1. How does your current or past work experience make you a good fit for this role?

2. What specific projects or tasks in your previous roles do you believe are most relevant to the requirements for this position?

3. What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced in a former role? What was the outcome, and how did you resolve it?

Work environment-related questions

Work environment-related screening interview questions provide valuable insights into a candidate's preferences and compatibility with your company's workplace culture. The goal is a harmonious fit for both the candidate and your team.

4. Can you share an example of a work environment or team dynamic in which you felt most productive and motivated?

5. What does an ideal workday look like for you?

6. Can you share an example of a manager you enjoyed working with?

Pre-screening interview questions on work style

Pre-screening interview questions on work style help you learn how candidates manage their tasks, collaborate with teams and meet deadlines.

7. How do you prioritize tasks and handle multiple responsibilities or projects simultaneously?

8. What do you think makes a team successful?

9. What is your approach to time management and meeting deadlines in your work?

Questions about responsibilities

See how candidates handle duties at work. Keep an eye out for people who are both proactive and enthusiastic about the role you're offering.

10. What types of things were you responsible for doing at your last job (or are you responsible for doing at your current job)?

11. Can you describe a project or task where you had to take initiative and assume additional responsibilities beyond your job description?

12. Are there specific aspects of this role's responsibilities that particularly excite you or align with your career goals?

Personal and professional development questions

Here you can delve into a candidate's commitment to continuous growth and learn if their goals align with the opportunities offered by the position.

13. What are you looking for in your next role?

14. What steps do you take to stay updated and advance your skills in your field or industry?

15. How do you see this position contributing to your personal and professional growth?

Questions around organizational skills

Screening interview questions around organizational skills help you understand how candidates manage their workloads and approach projects in general.

16. How do you stay organized in your work, especially when managing multiple projects or tasks?

17. Can you provide an example of a time when your strong organizational skills were essential to a project's success?

18. What tools or techniques do you use to ensure efficient task and project management?

Soft skills interview questions

These pre-screening interview questions give the candidate a chance to share how they build strong relationships, collaborate effectively and navigate challenging situations in the workplace.

19. How do you build relationships with team members and/or clients?

20. Can you share a situation where your soft skills, such as teamwork, empathy or adaptability positively impacted a work project or interaction?

21. How do you handle conflict or difficult conversations at work?

Why our company?

Questions about a candidate's choice to apply to your company can help you gauge their interest level and how well they see themselves fitting in. You can also explore what unique contributions they believe they can bring based on their understanding of your mission and values.

18. What specifically attracted you to our company and this role?

19. What do you believe you can contribute to our organization's success based on your understanding of our company?

20. How do you see your skills and experience aligning with our company's mission and values?

Salary expectations and benefits questions

When it comes to these topics, it's important to get on the same page early! These screening interview questions will reveal (or confirm) a candidate's salary preferences and whether the compensation package is in sync with their expectations.

21. What salary range are you targeting for this position?

22. [If the salary range was already shared in the job post.] Is the salary range we've shared in line with your expectations?

23. Are there specific benefits or aspects of our compensation package that are particularly appealing to you?

Final screening interview questions

Wrap up your screening interview with some closing questions about availability, pending offers and timelines. And always leave time for questions from the candidate!

24. When would you be available to start if you were to receive an offer?

25. Are you actively interviewing with other companies, and do you have any pending offers or timelines to consider?

26. What questions do you have for us about the company, the role or the hiring process?

How to conduct a pre-screening interview with a candidate

Assuming you've already scheduled your interview (we've got a phone interview invitation email template for that 💪), make sure you pick out the questions you're going to ask every single candidate along with your evaluation criteria. This ensures consistency and fairness in your process and helps you avoid hiring bias.

Christina Tymony, Senior DEIB Strategy & Enablement Manager at SeekOut notes, "The goal of creating a structured interview process is to really remove subjectivity from the interview. We’re going to have a set number of interviews, we’re going to hone in on the questions that we ask and make sure that every candidate actually goes through the same process, they’re evaluated the same way and that the hiring team has consensus on what is good, what is poor and what’s not acceptable."

Notice how she talked about the hiring team? Even though you'll most likely conduct a screening interview solo, collaborative hiring enables you to work together to find your ideal teammate. So take good notes and be prepared to share them with your hiring team later. (Psst - a hiring tool like Homeun will enable you to share notes and to-dos within the app so you don't have to go sifting through emails, documents or multiple Slack threads.)

💡 If you're starting from scratch or need a little hiring help, we've got you covered with this collection of interview resources:

Recruitment email templates to set your interviews up in a snap

Interview question templates for all types of roles

Your guide to how to conduct a job interview

Practically speaking, in a pre-screening interview you'll need to:

🤝 Introduce yourself and explain the format of the pre-screening interview (how long you'll chat and what will be discussed).🗣️ Talk a bit about the company and what the role entails. This give candidates a clearer picture of what it's like to work with you and helps them decide whether it’s worth it for them to invest in the interview process.

✍️ Ask relevant questions that address the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, personality and interest in the role. Listen attentively and remember to take notes.

❓ Provide an opportunity for questions from the candidate. They're interviewing you too so it makes sense that they'd want to ask specific questions about the role, your organization, etc.

🗓️ Discuss logistics like the candidate's availability for further interviews and any other offers or timelines to keep in mind. If you haven't included a salary range in the job post, ask them to share their expectations.

📧 Let each candidate know the next steps of the hiring process, including when and how they'll learn if they're moving forward.

Make more informed decisions with screening interviews

Screening interviews are preliminary conversations in the hiring process that end up saving you and your job applicants valuable time and resources. They help you gauge each candidate's alignment with your company's values, culture and mission and if the position would be a good potential fit. In the end, you'll have a more well-rounded impression of your candidates and the info you need to make sound hiring decisions.

Hire your next great teammate with Homerun

Simplify your hiring and interview workflow so you can focus on finding a great fit for your team.

Learn more
Brook Fischer
With a background in education and journalism, Brook has spent the past 18 years crafting and editing insightful content for small to medium-sized businesses. Her current favorite topics in the hiring space include employer branding and how to create a positive candidate experience. She lives in Toulouse with her husband, two sons and one sweet Staffy.

New to hiring?

Find out how Homerun can help you organize your hiring workflow.

If you want to find the right people for your team and make the most of everyone's time, then you need to set up solid pre-screening interviews. These brief, focused conversations are an invaluable initial filter for both hiring managers and candidates.

The screening interview validates whether your initial impressions of each other and the role are correct. You’ll answer the question, “Is there a potential match here?” without diving too deep into skills and experience. That’s for later!

Check out our top 30 screening interview questions below and tips on how to conduct a pre-screening interview like a pro.

What is a pre-screening interview?

A pre-screening interview (also simply called a screening interview) is an early step in the hiring process designed to evaluate candidates and determine if they should move on to the next stage – be it an in-depth interview, an assessment or meeting with other key team members. This screening interview is usually a 30-60-minute phone or video chat where you can touch on things like skills, qualifications, motivation and value fit to assess and narrow down your list of top candidates.

According to Isaiah Hankel, CEO of Cheeky Scientist, these types of interviews "allow employers to screen more job candidates for skills that can’t necessarily be assessed based on resumes alone." With pre-screening interviews, you can be sure that only the most suitable candidates move forward in the interview process and that you give them the information they need to make their decision.

Screening interview questions to ask

We've put together a list of 30 thoughtfully crafted screening interview questions that'll help you identify who you want to move forward in your hiring process. 👇 Remember it's just a pre-screening interview, so no need to ask all 30 questions! (A handful should be enough.) Choose the ones that are most important to you and will help you in your decision-making process.

Questions about previous work experience

Ask these questions to learn how candidates' past roles and projects align with all the requirements of the position.

1. How does your current or past work experience make you a good fit for this role?

2. What specific projects or tasks in your previous roles do you believe are most relevant to the requirements for this position?

3. What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced in a former role? What was the outcome, and how did you resolve it?

Work environment-related questions

Work environment-related screening interview questions provide valuable insights into a candidate's preferences and compatibility with your company's workplace culture. The goal is a harmonious fit for both the candidate and your team.

4. Can you share an example of a work environment or team dynamic in which you felt most productive and motivated?

5. What does an ideal workday look like for you?

6. Can you share an example of a manager you enjoyed working with?

Pre-screening interview questions on work style

Pre-screening interview questions on work style help you learn how candidates manage their tasks, collaborate with teams and meet deadlines.

7. How do you prioritize tasks and handle multiple responsibilities or projects simultaneously?

8. What do you think makes a team successful?

9. What is your approach to time management and meeting deadlines in your work?

Questions about responsibilities

See how candidates handle duties at work. Keep an eye out for people who are both proactive and enthusiastic about the role you're offering.

10. What types of things were you responsible for doing at your last job (or are you responsible for doing at your current job)?

11. Can you describe a project or task where you had to take initiative and assume additional responsibilities beyond your job description?

12. Are there specific aspects of this role's responsibilities that particularly excite you or align with your career goals?

Personal and professional development questions

Here you can delve into a candidate's commitment to continuous growth and learn if their goals align with the opportunities offered by the position.

13. What are you looking for in your next role?

14. What steps do you take to stay updated and advance your skills in your field or industry?

15. How do you see this position contributing to your personal and professional growth?

Questions around organizational skills

Screening interview questions around organizational skills help you understand how candidates manage their workloads and approach projects in general.

16. How do you stay organized in your work, especially when managing multiple projects or tasks?

17. Can you provide an example of a time when your strong organizational skills were essential to a project's success?

18. What tools or techniques do you use to ensure efficient task and project management?

Soft skills interview questions

These pre-screening interview questions give the candidate a chance to share how they build strong relationships, collaborate effectively and navigate challenging situations in the workplace.

19. How do you build relationships with team members and/or clients?

20. Can you share a situation where your soft skills, such as teamwork, empathy or adaptability positively impacted a work project or interaction?

21. How do you handle conflict or difficult conversations at work?

Why our company?

Questions about a candidate's choice to apply to your company can help you gauge their interest level and how well they see themselves fitting in. You can also explore what unique contributions they believe they can bring based on their understanding of your mission and values.

18. What specifically attracted you to our company and this role?

19. What do you believe you can contribute to our organization's success based on your understanding of our company?

20. How do you see your skills and experience aligning with our company's mission and values?

Salary expectations and benefits questions

When it comes to these topics, it's important to get on the same page early! These screening interview questions will reveal (or confirm) a candidate's salary preferences and whether the compensation package is in sync with their expectations.

21. What salary range are you targeting for this position?

22. [If the salary range was already shared in the job post.] Is the salary range we've shared in line with your expectations?

23. Are there specific benefits or aspects of our compensation package that are particularly appealing to you?

Final screening interview questions

Wrap up your screening interview with some closing questions about availability, pending offers and timelines. And always leave time for questions from the candidate!

24. When would you be available to start if you were to receive an offer?

25. Are you actively interviewing with other companies, and do you have any pending offers or timelines to consider?

26. What questions do you have for us about the company, the role or the hiring process?

How to conduct a pre-screening interview with a candidate

Assuming you've already scheduled your interview (we've got a phone interview invitation email template for that 💪), make sure you pick out the questions you're going to ask every single candidate along with your evaluation criteria. This ensures consistency and fairness in your process and helps you avoid hiring bias.

Christina Tymony, Senior DEIB Strategy & Enablement Manager at SeekOut notes, "The goal of creating a structured interview process is to really remove subjectivity from the interview. We’re going to have a set number of interviews, we’re going to hone in on the questions that we ask and make sure that every candidate actually goes through the same process, they’re evaluated the same way and that the hiring team has consensus on what is good, what is poor and what’s not acceptable."

Notice how she talked about the hiring team? Even though you'll most likely conduct a screening interview solo, collaborative hiring enables you to work together to find your ideal teammate. So take good notes and be prepared to share them with your hiring team later. (Psst - a hiring tool like Homeun will enable you to share notes and to-dos within the app so you don't have to go sifting through emails, documents or multiple Slack threads.)

💡 If you're starting from scratch or need a little hiring help, we've got you covered with this collection of interview resources:

Recruitment email templates to set your interviews up in a snap

Interview question templates for all types of roles

Your guide to how to conduct a job interview

Practically speaking, in a pre-screening interview you'll need to:

🤝 Introduce yourself and explain the format of the pre-screening interview (how long you'll chat and what will be discussed).🗣️ Talk a bit about the company and what the role entails. This give candidates a clearer picture of what it's like to work with you and helps them decide whether it’s worth it for them to invest in the interview process.

✍️ Ask relevant questions that address the candidate's qualifications, experience, skills, personality and interest in the role. Listen attentively and remember to take notes.

❓ Provide an opportunity for questions from the candidate. They're interviewing you too so it makes sense that they'd want to ask specific questions about the role, your organization, etc.

🗓️ Discuss logistics like the candidate's availability for further interviews and any other offers or timelines to keep in mind. If you haven't included a salary range in the job post, ask them to share their expectations.

📧 Let each candidate know the next steps of the hiring process, including when and how they'll learn if they're moving forward.

Make more informed decisions with screening interviews

Screening interviews are preliminary conversations in the hiring process that end up saving you and your job applicants valuable time and resources. They help you gauge each candidate's alignment with your company's values, culture and mission and if the position would be a good potential fit. In the end, you'll have a more well-rounded impression of your candidates and the info you need to make sound hiring decisions.

Hire your next great teammate with Homerun

Simplify your hiring and interview workflow so you can focus on finding a great fit for your team.

Learn more
Brook Fischer
With a background in education and journalism, Brook has spent the past 18 years crafting and editing insightful content for small to medium-sized businesses. Her current favorite topics in the hiring space include employer branding and how to create a positive candidate experience. She lives in Toulouse with her husband, two sons and one sweet Staffy.

New to hiring?

Find out how Homerun can help you organize your hiring workflow.

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