Varun was applying for his dream job at a management consultancy and was all geared up for the interview. But then the recruiter sent an email with a long list of questions. It stressed him out because he wasn’t really expecting it. He was wondering what it was for and if it was important at all.

The answer is, yes, that list of questions is very important. What Varun was sent is called a pre-screening interview questionnaire, and how he responds to it might make the difference between him being called for the main interview or not. Let’s learn all about the pre-interview or preliminary screening interview and how you can handle them with ease.

  1. What Is A Pre-Screening Interview?

  2. How To Prepare For A Pre-screening Interview

  3. The Reality Of Pre-Screening Interview

What Is A Pre-Screening Interview?

The idea of a pre-screening interview is to filter out as many candidates as possible in advance. This is because the resources and time required for the real interview are limited. Interviewers want to assess candidates who may not be right for the role. A pre-screening job interview can be through an email questionnaire or a phone call, but is usually done via email.

The pre-interview is different from a normal interview, but it’s just as important to consider during your pre-interview preparation. At this stage, you’re being considered for an interview, and the recruiter or HR manager is looking for more information before adding you to the list of candidates. It’s an extra step taken to assess the level of knowledge and competency of a prospective employee. 

How To Prepare For A Pre-screening Interview

So, how can you prepare for these pre-screening interview questions? Keep in mind that the main purpose is to get an idea of how equipped you are to work in a particular position and what level of knowledge and experience you have of a specific sector. Here’s what you might expect:

  1. Personal Information

The first question most organizations ask in the pre-interview is about your personal information. Your name, address, contact details and your academic history are very typical questions for an organization to ask.


  1. Expected Pay

Another common question is about your salary expectations. If possible, you can put a range here. Expectations that are too high—or even too low—can be a problem, so make sure to do your research about the organization and industry first, as well as the specific position you’re applying for.


  1. Strengths And Weaknesses

A perennial favorite with recruiters, don’t be surprised to see a question about strengths and weaknesses in a pre-interview. The questions are designed to find out which areas you have confidence in and which ones could use improvement. It’s worth spending some time in your pre-interview preparation on this question.

These are generic questions that can be used across industry segments, so be sure to include them in your pre-interview preparation. 

The Reality Of Pre-Screening Interviews

Pre-screening interviews are done to find those candidates who fit the needs of the job and organization, to help recruiters work more efficiently and save time. The questions themselves contain valuable information about the criteria that the organization uses to decide who to interview for a specific role, so spend some time reflecting on it before the actual interview.

What to do if you aren’t chosen for an interview after a pre-screening? If you can, ask the recruiter or agency involved why you weren’t up for further consideration. If they’re kind enough to answer, you’ll have some important feedback to consider.

If you aren’t called for an in-person interview after a preliminary screening interview, it could be because of the following reasons:

  1. Your responses were not up to the mark:

This will be one of the first things to consider. Were your answers and your presentation strong enough? Were they clear and grammatically correct?


  1. Your resume may need work:

In addition to the pre-interview, the recruiter is looking at your resume. If it isn’t strong and clear, you may not be called for an interview.


  1. You haven’t done your research properly:

You might be overqualified, underqualified or simply not have the right skills for the job. Another reason could be that your salary expectations might not match the profile.

In recent years, there’s an increase in pre-screening job applications in various industries. The organizations that use this method take a small amount of time to complete the application screening and finally conduct the candidate interview.


Learn all about the pre-screening interview and other pre-interview preparation techniques with Harappa’s Ace The Interview course! It’s got everything young professionals need to make a mark on recruiters in both written and in-person interviews. Learn how to handle the most difficult questions with confidence and showcase your talents with grace. Get on track to your dream job today!

Explore topics such as General HR Interview Questions, How To Improve Interviewing Skills, How to Answer "What Is Your Dream Job?", "What Makes You Unique?" & How to Prepare for a Mock Interview from Harappa Diaries and ace your next interview.

Related articles

Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation