Pre-interview screening is for the purpose of eliminating obviously unqualified applicants, thus saving the time of interviewers and applicants. The applicant is provided information about the company and general details about selling positions in it—a well-prepared recruiting brochure does this effectively and does not require an employee’s time for anything other than to hand it to the applicant. Also most companies ask applicants to complete interview application forms, which obtain information on the applicant’s basic qualifications, education, experience, health, and the like. No interview application form should be longer than two pages, and the applicant should be able to complete it in a few minutes. The interview application form fulfills its mission if it enables management to detect the presence or absence of predetermined minimum qualifications. Applicants not possessing these minimum qualifications do not receive appointments for interviews. The preliminary interview can be handled by a low-paid clerk or secretary, so this is generally the lowest-cost selection step.
The preliminary interview is short, perhaps no more than twenty minutes. Questions about the company and the job are answered while the company employee determines whether the applicant meets minimum qualifications. If this hurdle is passed and the applicant expresses interest, he or she is asked to fill out a formal application form, and an appointment is made for one or more formal interviews.
Source: Richard R. Still, Edward W. Cundliff, Normal A. P Govoni, Sandeep Puri (2017), Sales and Distribution Management: Decisions, Strategies, and Cases, Pearson; Sixth edition.