If you’re planning interviews for your business, you have to learn the importance of screening applicants. It is inefficient to bring unqualified candidates into your office for in-person interviews. You waste precious time and effort that you could spend running your company. Instead, come up with a job screen questionnaire full of questions to ask a potential candidate when you call or email.
The first set of screening questions to ask is regarding the applicant’s job experience. You need to find out what jobs, if any, the applicant held that directly or indirectly relate to the open position. Once you discover a connection you can then start investigating the specific duties that the candidate performed with your line of questions. For instance, besides the basic “What job experience do you have” you could also ask “What special projects did you work on?” and “Did you have supervisory experience?”
Ask the applicant basic questions about his education to screen out applicants who do not meet your minimum requirements. If the applicant has the minimum education required, such as a high school diploma or master’s degree, ask additional questions related to his time in school. For instance, you could ask the applicant to list specific coursework he completed while in school. That information could help you decide whether the applicant has knowledge that could benefit the business and lead you to invite her in for an interview.
Skills and Professional Certifications
Another set of questions to add to the screening questionnaire pertain to the applicant’s special skills and professional certifications. Sometimes the applicant’s job history and education just isn’t enough to make a decision about whether he can add value to your business. You should also try to find out whether he has a skill that doesn’t appear under those categories such as experience leading teams or a professional certification. Even if the applicant doesn’t meet other requirements, you might decide to pass him to the next round based on his answers here.
You should also ask the applicant about any gaps in his employment. Ask the candidate to repeat his main job objective as well. Another important screening question to add is “Why did you leave your last job?” While it seems like a minor issue, learning why an employee was let go from a job could cause you to screen him out of the process. Ask for a short list of professional references and the numbers of previous employers on the questionnaire as well so you can call for verification of the applicant's claims and character. Certified business manager Martin G. Enterlin states, "For those companies that freely give out more information about previous employees, I always include questions about the applicant’s integrity and character."