The Art Of Pre-screening

Kelly White

If you are like many in this industry, you are highly social, and meeting people is something you enjoy. Because of the social nature of the real estate industry, companies tend to give every candidate a shot at a face-to-face meeting or hour-long Zoom interview. Spending time in person, or without a proper pre-screen, can be a high-cost use of time.

In the first ten minutes of a conversation, it is possible to discover that someone is not a good fit for the job or the culture, and then it is difficult to extricate yourself from the situation without it being overt or hurtful. In the end, this isn’t good for the company or the candidate. This is why it is important to use a consistent pre-screening process for every candidate.

In T3 Talent’s hiring process, the pre-screen is the first step.

The pre-screen is intended to provide an opportunity to talk to all qualified candidates on the phone (or short video chat using Zoom), using a specific set of questions in order to determine which candidates meet the criteria and which ones warrant an in-person meeting. Remember, initially meeting someone in person or via Zoom for longer than 30 minutes is very costly.

The pre-screen will help you make sure that only candidates who are a possible fit get in-person or extended interviews. The data you collect from your pre-screen sessions can be used to compare candidates against each other and the talent profile.

When should you pre-screen?

Once you have found candidates, you will have résumés to review, and you can then begin the pre-screening process. You will conduct a pre-screen once you have determined someone is a valid candidate based on their résumé.

How should you pre-screen?

Spend 30 minutes with a candidate, either on the phone or via video. Using video to conduct the pre-screen is one of the most powerful tools you can use. It is almost as good as a face-to-face interview, and it allows you to test for other factors such as how well they use technology, how well they interact and if they are on time and ready for the call.

Use a specific pre-screen template, so that the questions asked for every candidate are the same – this allows you to compare candidates easily. The rule of thumb is to ask questions for each job on their résumé going back the last 10 years of work history (if they have it). Review each position, find out the amount of time they worked in the position, and ask them the following questions:

  • What was the greatest accomplishment in that position?

  • What did it take to accomplish it?

  • What caused them to leave that position or what would cause them to leave their current position?

Once you have gathered all of the pertinent information on their work history, you will want to find out more about exactly what they are looking for in their next position.

The most important question to ask during the pre-screen is, “What is your next ideal career opportunity?”

Have them close their eyes and really imagine their next ideal job, asking questions like…

  • What would you be doing?

  • What would your supervisor be like?

  • What would the work environment be like?

  • What would your co-workers be like?

  • What hours would you work?

Then ask, “What do you want to avoid in your next career opportunity?” and expand on that with questions like…

  • What type of tasks or activities do you want to avoid?

  • What type of supervisor do you want to avoid?

  • What type of environment would not meet your needs

  • In your past, what type of work environments have made you unhappy or discontent?

Once you are finished asking questions, give candidates time to ask you questions they have about the job. At the end of the session, thank them for their time and let them know when you will be in contact if you would like to schedule an in-person interview.

Once you have completed the pre-screen, you want to review your notes against the talent profile to determine if there are any red flags.

A red flag is something a candidate says that makes you think they don’t match the talent profile. When you assess there is a red flag, you should stop the process immediately.

Remember, the cost of a bad hire far outweighs the possibility of letting one good candidate get away. So, remember, you don’t want them in your office unless you want them in your office.

To discuss your hiring or job search needs, click here to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation session with the T3 Talent team.

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