The 10 Best Screening Interview Questions to Help You Find Top Candidates

Monique Mahler | May 20, 2022

The more thought you put into your screening interview questions, the better results you get.A screening interview is an initial job interview used to determine if a candidate is qualified for a position. It is the first step in round one of the interview process. The goal is to narrow down the list of candidates that will move on to the next round of interviews. You want to get it right from the start – so you need to be asking the best screening interview questions.

The more thought you put into your screening interview questions, the better results you will get. We put together a list of the ten best questions to ask in a screening interview, with both hard and soft-skill questions included, to help you hire top candidates.

Top Five Soft Skill Screening Interview Questions

  1. Tell us about a time you were asked to do something that you had never done before. How did you react, and what did you learn? A candidate needs to be adaptable to help your company grow. This person will stay calm under pressure and is likely to come up with effective solutions when problems arise. 
  2. Name three of your most important considerations when working for an employer. Here is where core values and company culture come into play. The best candidates will share three things that are most important to them and ideally, answer how they match the company’s core values. Not only does this question tell you if the candidate is a good cultural fit, but also if they did their interview homework.
  3. How do you cope when you have too much work on your plate? Let’s be real – some days every task has a high priority level. You need to feel confident that your candidate has the know-how to successfully prioritize and manage their own time and workload.
  4. Can you tell me about a time when you had to work with someone who you did not compatible with? Teamwork can be simple when you get along with your colleagues, but can be a real challenge when people don’t mesh (which is inevitable.) This will help you assess how much of a “team player” your candidate really is. 
  5. Can you tell me about a time when you had to ask for help? How a candidate approaches this question will tell you if they see themselves as an asset, even when discussing failure. It also gives you clues about their communication and accountability and how they learn and grow when they have made a mistake.

Top Five Hard Skill Screening Interview Questions

  1. Why did you choose this industry? It is important that your candidate is passionate and engaged. Passionate employees understand the importance of their role in direct relation to the organization. It is simple to check a resume to see how they got here, but the question is why? 
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? A cliche question, but important in terms of personal development. A candidate that wants to pursue growth for themselves and support growth within the company as a whole is a candidate you want on your team. It also gives you an opportunity to evaluate if their personal development path will follow the company’s because the candidates who are best aligned with your company’s growth path will be easier to retain.
  3. What is your experience with remote work? How do you communicate effectively with teammates when working remotely? Remote work is now the norm. Most of your candidates will now have experience working remotely, but not everyone excels at it. It takes ambition, self-control, strong communication, and excellent time management skills – all qualities you are looking for in a candidate. 
  4. What was the biggest challenge you faced in your last position and how did you overcome it? Your candidate’s answer will give you insight into how they solve problems and how that could fit into your team’s work process. Everyone reacts to challenges differently and your ideal answer will vary according to the team and position you are recruiting for.
  5. How did you learn about this position? Although most candidates come through LinkedIn or another job board, the way they frame this question gives you insight into why they are interested in the position and how much they have learned about the company.

Level up your screening process with interviewstream

Thanks to the world of #technology, screening interviews are no longer limited to cold phone calls. You have the option to use on demand video interviews or live video interviews. Unlike phone interviews, video interviews can give you a more complete picture of a candidate from the start. And video interviews provide a better candidate experience while saving your hiring team time and money – so replace the phone screen interview with a virtual interview.

If you want to find the best candidates right out of the gate, you need to not only ask the right questions but also take advantage of the technology you have at your fingertips. Say goodbye to the phone screen and hello to the video screen! Take a look at our guide to video interviewing or talk to an interviewstream expert today and let us help you level up your screening process.

About The Author

Monique Mahler is the CEO of interviewstream. She is an avid researcher of facts, a self proclaimed marketing geek, and an equestrian in her spare time.


interviewstream is dedicated to the success of more than 900 clients from K-12 school districts, emerging businesses, midsize companies, large enterprises, colleges, and universities.

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