The Increasing importance of Pre-screening Tests and Interviews in the Talent Acquisition Process

The Increasing Importance of Pre-screening Tests and Interviews in the Talent Acquisition Process


Recruiters, managers, and department heads are responsible for choosing suitable candidates for the organization they are working for.

As each hire impacts the functioning and growth of an organization, even a single bad hire might cost a sum. Also, according to a report by the Society of Human Resources Management, 53% of job applications contain inaccurate and insufficient information. And recruiters have to go through thousands of CVs and hundreds of candidate interviews regularly, among which the majority of candidates are going to be rejected during the hiring process.

Here the time and resources invested in the rejected candidates go to waste. To counter this issue leading recruitment professionals and organizations are using prescreening tests and interviews that can help them get a better sense of the applicant’s skill sets, attitude, overall personality, and willingness to take up the offer at a quicker pace as they can continue to work on a smaller and more relevant set of candidates. Now, let’s understand what pre-screening tests are. 

What are Prescreening tests and Interviews? 

A prescreening test or interview is a candidate screening strategy. This mainly involves an assessment where questions related to basic criteria that an applicant needs to fulfil for a job role.  This assessment helps recruiters analyze whether a candidate qualifies for a job role and quickly filter unqualified candidates. HRs and recruitment professionals can utilize this opportunity to communicate with the candidates beforehand so that they can further invest time and resources in the most promising set of candidates

Benefits of Conducting Prescreening tests

Prescreening tests and interviews offer numerous benefits to organizations, recruiters, as well as candidates as these assessments are more objective and to the point. 

For Organizations 

  • Enables overall reduction in hiring cost by allowing candidate filtration at an early stage of the recruitment process. 
  • Improves talent retention by enabling quicker recruitment results which in turn reduces the chances of candidate offer rejection. 
  • It helps understand the candidates' willingness and ensures highly motivated candidates take the role. 
  • Decreases employee attrition rates and the overall hiring turnaround time. 
  • It makes the entire recruitment process easily manageable and scalable. 

For Recruiters 

  • Reduces the burden of resume parsing by conducting automated candidate screening. 
  • Allows recruiters to invest more time in the right candidates
  • Enables recruiters to know their candidates beyond their resumes. 
  • Helps improve hiring precision. 
  • Helps reduce hiring mistakes. 

For Candidates 

  • Enables online assessments that can be taken from anywhere. 
  • Offers a flexible interview process.  
  • Helps get to know about the basic job sill requirements earlier.  
  • Rejection during earlier steps in a hiring process saves time and effort from the applicants' side as well.  
  • It improves the candidates' approach to applying for new job roles, helping them choose more suited roles and include a targeted approach while applying.  
Commonly used Types of Prescreening Tests 
  • Prescreening tests: Online MCQs/Q&A, in- person tests 
  • Prescreening interviews: Phone call, virtual medium, in- person interviews 
How to conduct a Pre-screening test/interview? 
  1. Select the type and mode of the prescreening assessment to be conducted. 
  2. Prepare the list of questions to be asked along with the preferable answer. 
  3. Choose a tool or a platform to conduct and automate your pre-screening assessment
  4. Conduct a test version of the prescreening assessment. 
  5. Schedule calendar invites and conduct the test. 
  6. Notify the test results to the candidates. 
Best time to conduct prescreening tests 

A prescreening test/interview can be conducted at any time in a talent acquisition process. They are undertaken mainly before the CV screening process or before the final interview round.  

Tests conducted during the earlier stages of the recruitment process help recruiters weed out unqualified candidates, thereby saving time and effort spent on CV screening, background verification, and conducting skill assessment tests and interviews Whereas running this assessment during the later stages of recruitment aids hiring decisions such as choosing one from a bunch of top candidates. 

Tools for conducting pre-screening tests 

A pre-screening test can be conducted easily using a Google or a Microsoft form where you can ask a set of questions to be answered. But forms have limited functionalities, so recruiters cannot automate or customize a technical skill assessment.   

Here are some of the best candidate assessment tools and platforms where you can customize and conduct job-based skill assessments, including job simulations.  

  • TogglHire 
  • Talview 
  • Prevue HR 
  • Codility 
  • Skillmeter 

There are a wide range of pre-screening and pre-employment tools available in the market; where some tools allow asking basic questions while others enable you to customize your test by offering a platform to conduct some of the most common types of specialized skill assessment and personality tests. The challenging part is choosing the most suitable type, and the platform for assessment as most of the tools offer only certain functionalities and charge per month.  

As hiring is not a monthly event but a periodic and need-based event, recruitment management suites that offer a customizable pre-employment screening procedure as part of their hiring service provide promising solutions. 

Final Takeaways 

Prescreening assessment offers immense benefits to recruiters, organizations, and candidates. Each can make use of this and make a quick decision about moving forward in the hiring process. Automating a well-designed prescreening test within your existing recruitment pipeline improves your hiring efficiency by several manifolds and significantly cuts down the overall hiring turnaround time. 

Having quantitative candidate selection data makes creating a talent pool and sorting and ranking talent easier. But before setting up a prescreening assessment process, make sure to know about the types and importance of specific questions that can be asked for each kind of job role. Fill this form by populating the Template Name field with "Prescreening Tests" to receive a go-to list of prescreening questions.    

Signing off:

Vidhya V,

13th August 2022

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