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Pre-Interview Survey Questions to Save Time, Improve Person-Job Fit, and Reduce Employee Turnover

Pre-Interview Survey Questions to Save Time, Improve Person-Job Fit, and Reduce Employee Turnover

If you are recruiting candidates for a job position, chances are you’ve got hundreds of applications to go through. Even after you’ve eliminated some applications and narrowed down the list, you probably still have a number of candidates left. Interviewing them all is time-consuming and inefficient. This is where a pre-interview survey comes in. A pre-interview survey can help you narrow the candidate pool further.

The Benefits of a Pre-Interview Survey

Perhaps you already use a pre-interview survey to screen candidates. If you don’t already, a pre-interview questionnaire can get you additional information about candidates beyond their resume and cover letter. The pre-interview survey is a great way to assess whether a candidate will be a good fit for your organization, the culture, the job and the manager. And, believe me, person-job fit is important. Infact, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cites research that finds person-job fit has a strong positive correlation to job satisfaction.

Here’s a list of some of the benefits of the pre-interview survey.

  • Assess how well a candidate would fit under the manager and in the organization.
  • Get candidate information specific to the job, that may not be in their resume.
  • Learn whether the applicant’s skills match up to the job requirements and expectations.
  • Find out what motivates the respondent, what frustrates them, their preferred working style and more.
  • Understand what activities applicants value the most.  
  • Save time in the hiring process by removing candidates that don’t fit your hiring criteria.
  • Through a pre-interview survey, you can get certain questions out of the way and leave time for more important questions during the interview.

How To Conduct a Pre-Interview Survey

Technology can make this step in the hiring process easier. Replace your pre-interview question form with a survey.  A technology-based survey is easier to administer and easier for your candidate to use. Create a simple, easy-to-use pre-interview survey on a survey app or software. You’ll have the independence to use question styles that suit you best – rating questions, multiple-choice, open-ended. You can administer the survey in a way that suits you: you can embed the survey into an email, or send it as a link. If you’d rather a candidate fill it out at your workplace, you can set up an online survey or a tablet-based survey. You could even set up a kiosk survey

Questions You Can Ask in a Pre-Interview Survey

Use the pre-interview survey to ask the candidate about their career goals, job preferences, skills, abilities, knowledge and more. The pre-interview survey should contain questions about the candidate’s personality, working style, their level of motivation. You should also include questions about the applicant’s relevant strengths and weaknesses that would affect job performance in the survey. The pre-interview survey should contain questions related to salary expectations, interview availability, earliest date of joining.

Your pre-interview survey should be tailored to your company, your hiring process, the job profile. You can add and remove as many questions as you like, but try to keep the survey below 30 minutes. If your survey is too long, the quality of answers your candidates provide may deteriorate, and some might not even complete the entire survey.

Here’s a general list of questions you can include in your pre-interview survey.

Please tell us about your educational background and relevant work experience. How will they contribute to the job and the company?

Please tell us about your strongest knowledge areas. Please tell us about areas where you’d like to learn more.

Do you have skills and knowledge that might be useful but aren’t on your resume?

Tell us about three of your career accomplishments so far.

What attracted you to this position? Why do you want to work for this organization?

Are you currently employed elsewhere? How long have you been with the organization? What are your reasons for leaving?

Please explain the duties you like fulfilling in this position. Which responsibilities will be a challenge?

Are you comfortable in a leadership role? Tell us about your strongest and weakest leadership skills.

How comfortable and proficient are you with technology? Tell us about any technologies you are proficient in.  

Please describe your ideal work environment.

How comfortable are you in a busy, open-plan office?

What motivates you to perform at your best and be productive?

How would you describe your work style?

What does your typical workday look like?

Have you experience with management styles that were difficult to work with? Please elaborate.

What normally frustrates you about managers?

What do you find frustrating in your past work experience?

How did you learn about this job opening?

How soon would you be available for an interview?

When would you be able to start work if hired?

What are your biggest strengths and your most challenging weaknesses? Share an example of how these have influenced your career.

Please tell us about your long-term career goals. How does this position fit into your plans for the future?

What are your professional goals?

What are your goals to further your professional development?

Describe the criteria that will determine whether you accept a job offer with the company. Please tell us about your salary expectations. What benefits do you expect with this job?

Can you provide a sample of your work?

Feedback Management Technology to Analyze a Survey

Use a feedback management software to manage your pre-interview surveys and analyze the responses. A feedback management software will make it easier to analyze and compare applicants against your criteria than if you are using traditional paper-based forms. You’ll be able to assess applicants and filter out candidates who are interesting but might not be the right fit after all.

Take a demo of Zonka’s feedback management software to learn how to analyze survey results easily.

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