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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Twenty Questions

Do you feel like you are playing twenty questions when applying to jobs on an employer's site? What's up with this? Why do they ask so many questions? Just take my resume and let's be done with it!

In today's market, employers have to sift through hundreds of resumes to find the ideal candidates for a job. During the application process, prescreening questions are used to filter through unqualified job seekers, enabling employers to spend their time looking at a short list of candidates. If executed properly, prescreening does work, saving hiring managers as much as 30% to 50% of their time.

You may be thinking to yourself, "how can I make sure I am part of that short list." Well, first it is helpful to know a little more about how prescreening questions work. There are normally two types of questions that will show up on a prescreening form: a knockout question or a scoring question.

*  Knockout Question - The knockout question is a job requirement that the candidate MUST meet to be considered for the position. For example, if you are applying to a truck driver position, there may be a knockout question asking if you have a driver's license.
*  Scoring Question - A scoring question is any qualification that doesn't absolutely, positively have to be there for the job seeker to be considered for the job. However, employers will weight these questions and will identify enough questions to separate "minimally qualified" job seekers from "ideal" job seekers.

Tips for Answering Prescreening Questions:

*  Answer Honestly - These questions are important to the hiring manager. Ensuring an accurate response means you won't waste their time and your time on future phone screens and interviews, if you do not meet the minimum qualifications.
*  Answer Thoroughly - The prescreening questions do influence whether you are considered as a candidate for a job, so it is very important to take your time and answer the questions to the best of your ability.
*  Use Draft Status - Most career site applications allow you to save your application in a draft state. If there are some questions that you could answer positively with some training (i.e. renewing your driver license) or by applying for a certification, please do this before completing the prescreening questions. It would be unfortunate to fail the prescreen because you have not updated your certifications or skills or if you made mistakes in your answers.

Good luck with your prescreening questions!

Best Wishes,

Doug Smith,
Director of Product Management, Talent Exchange