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Screening questions is one of our most popular premium features for companies here at Europe Language Jobs. It can be used alongside our location filter and relocation package field to ensure you recieve the most relevant applications. If you have ever published with Premium in our job board, you have most likely noticed your “post a job” tab allows you to “save” and “save & manage screening questions”.
Figure 1. Saving with or without screening questions
What is the difference between “saving” and “saving and defining screening questions”? What are “screening questions” anyway? Do they hurt? Will my candidates hate me for “defining” them? And most importantly, how will they help me, a recruiter, find candidates and make my job easier and faster?
In the following lines we explain everything you need to know about this interesting tool, so keep reading to find out more!
Despite their threatening name, screening questions are one of the most useful tools you can employ at Europe Language Jobs, and that is the reason why we include screening questions with the great majority of premium services we offer.
The easiest way to explain this is that screening questions act as “an exam” your candidates have to pass in order to be able to send you their application. Once the candidate presses the “apply” button in your job offer, if you have defined screening questions, they will be redirected to a form with several questions and answers set by you and your company.
Europe Language Jobs filters candidates through their language settings, but that filtering is not enough sometimes – here is where screening questions come into play. Perhaps you need your candidates to have a very specific license or diploma, or maybe you are curious as to what their city of residence is, or their availability, or to whether or not they have a European working permit. Screening questions are the place in which you can ask about all of these topics and many more.
Figure 2. Sscreening questions form
There are three main aspects that one needs to consider when defining screening questions. The first one is obviously the question per se. Which kind of information do you need to obtain from your candidates in order to consider them for the position?
Make sure to set clear and straightforward questions for your candidates to reply, and to start a new question for every element you want to ask about. Instead of asking “Can you work on weekends and also on holidays?”, you could ask “Can you work on weekends?” in the first question and “Can you work on holidays?” in the second one. The clearer the question, the easier it’ll be to obtain a straightforward answer!
Here are some examples on the kind of screening questions companies at Europe Language Jobs ask their candidates:
- Do you have a European working permit?
- Do you have a drivers’ license?
- Do you have the First Certificate in English diploma?
- Do you have permission to work in the UK?
- Would you need relocation support in order to access this position?
- Are you currently living in Paris?
- Would you be available to work during the weekends?
Feel free to set whichever questions you think are relevant for the position. If you have any doubts as to which questions you can set for your candidates or how to formulate them, make sure to contact your account manager for some extra tips!
Defining more than one answer is a necessary step to take in order to create effective screening questions. Once you set screening questions, candidates will need to respond to them if they want to send you their application, so make sure to provide enough answers for candidates to choose from!
For clear questions that can be replied with “yes” or “no”, make sure to include a third answer, so that candidates who cannot locate themselves in this binary will also have a middle-ground option. For instance, if you need your candidates to have a European working permit, make sure to include other options besides “yes” or “no”. If you include a third answer such as “not yet, but I will soon”, candidates who do not have a working permit will have fewer chances of lying in their applications in order to pass the filter.
Pro tip! In a perfect world, recruiters would not need to add third answers to their questions in order to prevent lies, but unfortunately, many candidates find themselves in difficult situations that demand them to find a job quickly. This might lead them to falsify some of the information they provide to companies in order to be considered for the position. If you want to prevent this, make sure to define alternative answers for your candidates.
In order for those answers to be effective, you need to define a point system for each question. You can change the number of points to any system that works for you, but in this case, we can keep it simple and define “10 points” for the correct answer, “0 points” for the wrong answer(s), and “5 points” for the middle-ground options, which can sometimes be correct or wrong, depending on the question. After defining these points, you are ready to set the threshold!
Defining a threshold is the most important aspect of setting screening questions. The threshold is the number of points that a candidate must obtain in order to be considered for the position. If we think of screening questions as an exam candidates must pass in order to send you their applications, the threshold is the minimum of correct answers candidates must obtain in order to “pass the test”.
Defining a threshold means you will receive less applications. However, you will still see their application in the section “job list” of your account. The difference is that their application, instead of appearing as “incoming”, will be marked as “irrelevant”. This means that the candidate did not obtain enough points in the screening questions and as a result, they may not be the best candidate for the position. You can however review their application and contact them at any point. This system is set in order to help you save time while you review applications, but you can use it in any way that works for you! The candidate does not recieve any notification about this.
In order to define the threshold, you need to ask yourself what is the bare minimum a candidate must reach in order to be eligible for the position. For instance, if we go back to the example of the European working permit, candidates who do have a working permit are eligible for the position, and those who don’t have a working permit cannot be considered for the job. Additionally, you need to think about the third answer: would a candidate who is in the process of obtaining a working permit be adequate for the position? Questions will correlate to points, which will eventually add up to your decided threshold that makes their application 'relevant' to the position.
You can use different thresholds for each question, in order to have a better control of the responses. Candidates will not see the threshold nor the number of points in each answer, so they can’t know if their application is going to be auto-discarded or not.
Figure 3. Example of screening questions
If you do not set a threshold to your screening questions, candidates will still need to respond to them before sending you their applications, but unsuitable CVs will not appear as “auto-discarded” in your account. Setting a threshold is a great way of saving some time in the recruitment process, but it is always, as per usual, up to you.
Screening questions are thus a great way of saving time and making recruitment easier, but they need some preparation. Get in touch with your account manager or with [email protected] if you have any questions, we’ll be happy to help you further!
Whether English is your native language or you enjoy speaking English as a second language, there are so many locations and job opportunities waiting for you around Europe!