Pre-Selection Criteria for Job Interviews

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Technical criteria might include requiring applicants to be familiar with office equipment, including fax machines.
Technical criteria might include requiring applicants to be familiar with office equipment, including fax machines. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Job interviews help employers get to know prospective employees better, including their work ethics, qualifications, communication styles and speaking skills. Yet interviews can be costly for businesses, since multiple interviewers may need to be present or far-off candidates might need to be flown in and housed. To increase efficiency, establish pre-selection criteria to help screen employees. Potential hires who don’t meet basic criteria aren’t invited to interviews.

Education

One of the most common pre-selection criteria includes education level. Many jobs require at least a high school degree because of math or reading skills involved with completing work tasks. Some employers view earning a high school degree as a sign of basic responsibility and competence. Other jobs may require a college degree; this requirement can be a general specification, welcoming any type of four-year college degree. Some jobs require a particular type of college degree; for example, an undergraduate biology degree or a master’s degree in public health. Establishing your minimum education level during the pre-selection process helps winnow out candidates who don’t satisfy your company’s needs.

Previous Experience

Another example of pre-selection criteria for job interviews involves previous experience. Entry-level jobs may have fewer experience-related requirements because companies plan to train workers. These jobs may still establish fundamental pre-selection criteria, such as requirements that employees have customer service experience or have handled money. Jobs entailing more responsibility and higher pay may have specific minimum requirements for previous experience, such as three years of accounting work experience, or a minimum of five years managing a caseload of six or more clients. Stricter pre-selection criteria helps assure that the candidates you choose to interview are adequately prepared to assume responsibility.

Technical Skills

Employers may also wish to screen out candidates who don’t meet pre-selection criteria involving technical skills. Candidates lacking key technical skills related to the job position will require additional training, which can be extensive for some positions. Mastering a sophisticated accounting software program could take months or years; professionals with little typing experience will be quickly overloaded if they can’t meet a company’s words-per-minute criteria. Weeding out employees who can’t meet technology-based pre-selection criteria before the job interview process will save you time and money.

Licensure

Some jobs, such as teaching and medical care, require state licenses. Eliminate unqualified candidates in the first round before interviews begin, since no matter what qualifications they offer in other aspects of their resume, they can’t legally work for you. Exceptions might include instances where applicants hold a license permitting them to work as a paid intern under the supervision of licensed professionals.

Informal

Employers can also pre-screen candidates before job interviews using informal criteria that aren’t explicitly stated in the job description. For example, human resources staff can be instructed to discard resumes, applications and cover letters containing spelling errors or wrinkled stationery. Employers may also choose to discard applications arriving after the formal cut-off date listed on the job posting.

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