10 Pre Screening Interview Questions Recruiters Must Ask

The state of the world has forced many companies to adopt a remote working model. One of the best ways to ease your company into remote work is by hiring dedicated candidates who can function independently and with others virtually. But how do you know what pre screening interview questions to ask when talking to the candidates for a remote position?

This blog will help you understand the 10 essential pre interview questions that will enable you to know your potential new hires better and feel more confident in your decision.

1. What is your experience with remote work or working from home?

The first pre screening interview question should be related to the candidate’s experience with remote work. The recruiter can learn if the applicant would be productive and reliable in the absence of supervision and how well they can manage their time.

2. How do you communicate and collaborate with teams when working remotely?

Collaboration tools are essential to remote work. You can use these tools to improve communication and build trust with your team members, whether on a different building floor or far away from them. Another pre screening interview question to ask the candidate is to demonstrate using Google Meet, Slack, Skype, Teams, Zoom, or similar tools. The more information they have about using these tools, the better their productivity. Also, investigate some of the challenges they have faced when using a particular software.

Related Article: 6 Tips for Nailing Your Remote Interviews

3. Do you have any experience in working with distributed teams?

When hiring for a remote position, the hiring managers should ask a series of pre interview questions from the candidates about what they think of working in partnership with a distributed team. The answer will provide insight into how they would interact with others to determine whether they are a right fit for the company. A candidate who has had a good experience working in the past may be more likely to succeed at the job than someone who has not.

4. How do you manage your time, or what strategies do you use to complete tasks when working from home?

This pre screening interview question asks more than “when do you work?” It gets to the heart of how the candidate schedules their day and how they prioritize tasks. This is important for both remote workers and in-office employees. Managing time can help both employees and employers be more productive at work.

5. How have you stayed organized, productive, or efficient?

This question is a great way to ensure that you are not wasting your time on someone who does not understand modern workflows. They will have to be able to answer this pre screening interview question. However, they will also have to communicate why they use specific tools to achieve productivity. In addition to learning about their organizational habits, this pre-interview question will also give you an insight into what types of software the candidate likes or dislikes. This could mean less training time for the candidate down the road.

6. Tell me about when you successfully met a deadline without being able to report to the office physically?

It is essential to understand how candidates manage their time when working remotely. The distance between you and your manager means no one is looking over your shoulder and holding you accountable for every minute of every day. This is a genuine concern for some people, but it does not need to be. A recruiter can learn about a candidate’s time and resource management skills by asking the following questions.

– When working remotely, how do you manage your day at work?

– How did you manage multiple deadlines assigned for the same day or week?

– How will meeting deadlines help you achieve your goals?

7. What projects have been most successful when working remotely?

Completing projects shows commitment and dedication. It is a red flag if you have not completed a single project. Therefore, this pre screening interview question would help you assess how the candidate handles a task in their working environment. It also reveals how they take the pressure and if they can work with others remotely. For example, suppose they cannot think of any successful projects. In that case, that tells you something about their ability to take responsibility for their work.

When asking pre screening interview questions, try not to make assumptions about what makes a project successful or unsuccessful. Instead, frame it to make them feel good about themselves. Do ask them about the positive feedback from their client.

8. Give an example of when you resolved a workplace conflict with your manager or a colleague?

Hiring managers ask questions, but very few ask about conflict resolution in their pre screening interview questions. Suppose you are considering someone to fit well with your team. In that case, you need to find out if they can resolve conflicts effectively rather than run to the management to point fingers at others. If there were times when the candidate had problems due to a lack of communication skills, they might not be suitable for the job.

9. Tell me about your last challenging project. How did you handle it successfully? What would you have done differently?

Hiring managers should ask the candidates about completing a challenging project in their pre screening interview questions. Listen to what they have to say and then dig deeper. Ask them what steps they took to overcome challenges.

If the candidate can explain how they resolved a problem in the past without sounding robotic, in that case, they can create solutions again when faced with similar situations in future work environments.

10. How do you balance your professional and personal life, especially when there are looming deadlines?

This simple pre interview question determines if the candidate takes care of their well-being. Indirectly, it offers an insight into a candidate’s ability to manage their time effectively. Since the candidate will be working remotely, it is necessary to understand whether they would complete assigned tasks in time or not. If a candidate is ahead of their projects, they are spending more time on projects and less time with their family. If they are missing the deadlines, the opposite is true.

A candidate who cannot achieve work-life balance is likely to burn out or get sick: stress, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and high blood pressure to name a few. In the long run, the candidate would be a liability than an asset. Therefore, it is imperative that you ask these pre interview questions to weed out the weakest applicants.


If you feel the candidate is ready to take your business by storm, they are probably a good fit. The key to success in remote work is keeping communication open with your team and not allowing things to fall through the cracks. You want candidates who will be proactive about setting goals and staying accountable for completing tasks on time. Ask them more questions if you feel unsure that a particular candidate has what it takes.