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The Screening Interview Question You Don’t Want To Ask, But Should

Posted by The ConveyIQ Team

We’ve all been there.

You speak to a candidate that is interested in a role and seems to be qualified during the screening interview. It’s all sunny skies during the screening process, and your mind drifts to the positive feedback you’re sure to get from your hiring manager for finding such a great candidate right off the bat. You may even want to get a second interview scheduled as soon as possible, so no one else is able to poach this “perfect” candidate away!

But as the old saying goes, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” So let’s take a step back, come down to Earth for a second, and consider three things:

  • In most cases, candidates who are top talent know they’re top talent.
  • You’re probably not the only company they’ve interviewed with.
  • Stronger candidates are also more likely to have strong networking pipelines.

In a moment like this, you need to ask one slightly uncomfortable, but wildly important screening interview question to make sure you’re not wasting your time chasing this particular star.

“Do you have any other offers on the table, or are you having final interviews with any other company?

We know it's awkward. But the answer could help you make better hiring decisions for several reasons:

It Saves Time

A candidate having multiple offers on the table is a red flag that they may be interviewing with you as an insurance policy. No one likes to play second fiddle to another company. Find candidates who truly want to work for you and aren’t using using you for leverage or to boost their ego. If you’re interested in cutting time-to-hire rates, it’s not going to happen chasing leads that are already lost.

It Shows You Know Your Business

If you’re starting the race for top talent well behind a competitor, showing you know how to manage the interview cycle is one of the few things you can do to stay in the hunt without dipping too far into your budget.

It Helps Build Your Brand

The prospect of a responsive and thoughtful interview experience is ideal for any candidate. Even a token effort on the part of an employer to accommodate a candidate’s search is going to rocket your organization to the top of their list, and help build a positive repertoire will help retain your talent pool. Sometimes it’s the little things that can drive the best outcomes and build a brand that lasts.

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