What is a Recruiter Really Asking In A Prescreen?


The act of recruiting and managing both the client and candidate needs, is a tough relationship to balance. A “good” recruiter has the best interest of both parties in mind, and this should be reflected in each and every conversation. The recruiter is the expert in this situation; they know the ins and outs of the job and they understand the candidate profile and skill set the company is looking for. With that in mind, the questions that recruiters ask potential candidates should aim to match their talent with unique career opportunities. We asked a few of our recruiters what they think are the most important questions to ask their candidates, and why…take a look!

Where are you in the job process?

This will let the recruiter know how serious and how ready you are to make a move. Some people are ready to give their notice that day, others are planning a move in the coming months/year; every placement is different. And same goes on the client side. Each company has a different interview/offer process, which can take upwards of weeks to months or in some cases, it’s an immediate need. It’s the recruiter’s goal to align both of these schedules.

What are you looking for in terms of company culture? Where else are you interviewing? What else have you seen in the market that has intrigued you?

The recruiter wants to get an understanding of an ideal corporate and team culture/structure, and the type of setting the individual will inevitably thrive in. In terms of asking specific companies, it is likely that in a competitive job market, candidates will get approached for the same job opportunity by multiple outlets. The recruiter will ask for specific companies in an effort to not waste anyone’s time talking about a role they might already be submitted to, not interested in, or has already interviewed for. Additionally, these types of questions will let the recruiter know how much “homework” the candidate has done and how set they are to a specific title/industry.

What is your proudest accomplishment in your current role?

This question will tell the recruiter a lot about a person in terms of their professional goals, leadership/teamwork, and their work ethic. The delivery of the candidate’s answer also portrays the confidence they have in themselves and their ability to deliver their professional pitch. The recruiter will try to align the aspects of the role the candidate excelled at and is passionate about in their current/previous positions to the future opportunities they present.

What is your current salary, ideal salary and the lowest salary you would accept?

This question is not meant to be sneaky, tricky, or deceitful.  The recruiter should be a candidate’s greatest advocate, especially when it comes to salary. The recruiter needs to know these true, core numbers, and again, align these values and not waste anyone’s time on roles that are out of range. There are always many different factors that lead to accepting a job offer, and although salary is always a main contributor, it’s not everything and some people would be willing to take a pay cut, for a better opportunity, work-life balance, etc.


Additional Resources:

What is a Pre-Screening Interview: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/prescreening-interview-24625.html

9 Questions Recruiters Should Ask: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140906034311-30252352-9-questions-every-recruiters-should-ask-each-candidate

4 Questions Recruiters Shouldn’t Ask: https://www.recruiter.com/i/4-questions-you-shouldnt-ask-candidates/

Top 10 Questions to Ask Millenials: http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/recruiting-hiring-advice/interviewing-candidates/how-to-interview-gen-y.aspx