job seeker completing an online job application

30 Applicant Prescreening Question Ideas You Can Use Today

Applicant prescreening questions can be major time savers in the hiring process. By asking potential candidates to answer a few questions along with submitting their resume and/or cover letter, you can get a better idea of who your top contenders are (and aren’t) at a glance.

You can also use applicant questions to quickly identify “deal breakers.” For instance, if your open position has an essential qualification, say a license or other professional credential, then ask the applicant about it in your prescreening questionnaire. Or, use it as an initial measurement of a candidate’s character and writing abilities with an open-ended, free-form question about their top strengths.

Note of caution: always avoid questions that are unrelated to the job and/or could get you in legal trouble. Also, don’t overwhelm your applicants with too many questions. Providing a positive candidate experience is critical. We recommend using 5 prescreening questions at most – save the rest for the interview.

Three common types of applicant prescreening questions are scale, yes/no, and written response (when you post your job with iHire, you can use all three). Here are 10 applicant questions for each category to help you start compiling your own list:


Scale (1–5) Applicant Question Examples

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How qualified are you for this position?

How would you rate your teamwork abilities?

How proficient are you in [required/desired skill]?

Rate your attention to detail.

Rate your ability to handle stressful situations.

How comfortable are you with computers?

Rate your overall knowledge of the [industry] field.

How important is customer satisfaction to you?

Rate your enthusiasm for professional development.

Rate your understanding of [job-related regulation, process, method, etc.]


Yes/No Applicant Question Examples

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Do you have reliable transportation?

Are you authorized to work in the United States?

Do you have experience in the [relevant industry] field?

Do you have a [required/preferred educational degree]?

Do you have a valid driver’s license?

Are you willing to travel as required?

Are you available to work evenings and weekends?

Do you have leadership experience?

Do you speak [foreign language]?

If offered the position, would you be able to start within [desired time period]?


Written Response Applicant Question Examples

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Please describe your management style.

Why do you want to join our team?

What are your top 3 strengths?

What was the most recent professional development activity you completed?

What are your long-term career goals?

What excites you the most about our open position?

What days and hours are you available to work?

Why are you seeking a new position?

Describe your community involvement/volunteerism.

What motivates you professionally?

by: Natalie Winzer, iHire
August 14, 2017