4 ways to improve your pre-interview process (almost instantly)

Last updated:
December 16, 2020
June 14, 2023
min read
Recruitee Team
Table of contents

A bad interview experience can cause a high-value candidate to lose interest in an open position. In fact, 83% of candidates cite a lousy interview experience as a reason for changing their mind about pursuing an open role with a company. Conversely, 87% of individuals from the same survey said a positive interview experience helped them feel good about the prospective job.

There’s a number of factors that can contribute to a poor interview experience. For example, miscommunication between a hiring manager and a recruiter could lead to an interviewer not fully understanding the position being offered or what questions are important to ask.

In other cases, a recruiter may just be facing a lot of interviews in a short span of time. This can be tedious and distract them from providing a positive interview experience for each candidate.

These factors create big problems for recruiters and their companies because candidates can sense this. Thus, it is crucial for a recruiter to be able to conduct each interview to the best of their ability and not allow any of these factors to influence their meetings with each prospective candidate.

One way to enhance the interview process, for both recruiter and candidate, is to spend time improving your pre-interview process. By sharpening the steps before the interview, you’ll ensure that you have only the best potential fits sitting across the desk from you.

Here are four tips you can use to improve the pre-interview hiring process.

1. Communicate with hiring managers and other team members

The most immediate step to take when improving your pre-interview process is to focus on communication. A lot of missteps happen in the hiring process because of a disconnect between management and recruiters.

These miscommunications can mean recruiters don’t fully understand the positions that they are filling and what qualities and requirements are needed for those roles. If multiple recruiters are interviewing applicants for the same position, there needs to be a cohesive understanding of these components. However, this communication goes beyond simply explaining the hiring process and the job role. Recruiters need to be comfortable coming to a hiring manager for support or as a resource.

When recruiters are fully supported by their hiring managers, they are much better suited to find the right candidates and be able to fully explain the job, its responsibilities and answer any questions the applicant may have.

2. Review all candidates’ LinkedIn profiles

LinkedIn is a valuable source for recruiters in the pre-interview process. This is a step that many recruiters go through, but it may not be used to its fullest. Not only does a LinkedIn profile provide you with extra information about a potential candidate, which can give a more natural interview, but it also allows you to move away from their resume and references.

These materials are flawed because any troublesome information is omitted. Studies show that 85% of applicants lie on their resume and 51% include factual inaccuracies. Similarly, the reference section is groomed to include only individuals that would speak highly of the candidate.

LinkedIn can provide fresh insight into a candidate, whether it’s reaching out to an old co-worker that wasn’t included in their reference section or finding a discrepancy between their LinkedIn profile and resume, which may suggest intentionally omitted information.

3. Develop a pre-interview questionnaire

One of the fastest and most effective ways to measure a candidate’s fit, before you sit them down for an interview, is just to ask. A pre-interview questionnaire allows a recruiter to ask the essential, make-or-break questions that are vital to the position. Based on these answers, they can immediately eliminate a lot of names off their list. This “first cut” will dramatically reduce the number of job seekers you have to interview, while also ensuring that your second-round interviewees are the best of the group.

But, it isn’t all about whittling down how many interviews a recruiter has to complete, these pre-interview questionnaires have several other benefits:

  • You can learn additional information beyond what a candidate provided on their resume, such as their interests and values
  • Including a question about minimum pay will help you in later stages, when it comes to salary negotiations
  • A questionnaire creates a more natural interview process, by providing extra information about the candidate
  • It may confirm your pre-existing feelings about candidates based on their resumes, references, CV and other documents
  • These questions will identify the most motivated job seekers in the pool

As many as 70% of employers now implement some level of pre-interview questions and screening into their hiring process.

4. Start Texting

Text messages have become a vital tool for recruiters. It’s a less invasive means of reaching out to applicants with news or information about an interview. With a staggering 95% open/read rate (email, on the other hand, is only able to muster up 20% open rates!), your messages are sure to reach the eyes of candidates. Plus, 91% of SMS-users report that their devices are always with them. So, your messages will be seen and responded to quickly.

For recruiters, having text conversations with potential candidates allows them to exchange essential information, without having to leave unanswered voicemails or waiting for an excellent time to reach out to a potential new employee. They can even have active text conversations with multiple different candidates at once.

Cataphract, a UK recruiting agency, was able to use an SMS service to improve their response rates with applicants. Because some of the messages needed near-immediate replies, traditional emails or phone calls weren’t effective. With text messages, the recruiters were able to communicate back and forth with candidates and quickly resolve background checks and other paperwork-heavy steps of the process.

Pre-interview efficiency saves time

Recruiters shouldn’t have to waste time interviewing candidates that, at the end of the process, lack the qualifications or interest in the position. By improving your pre-interview process, you can better guarantee that the candidates you meet with for interviews are 100% invested in joining your company and helping it succeed further.

This was a guest post written by Anastasia Sviridenko.

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