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You’ve created an effective application, advertised, received applications, and ruled out unqualified applicants using a fail-proof easy-to-follow system. (Shameless Self Promotion: See 1-Minute Fit Blog). Now what you have left are great applications. Are you ready to commit to a 15-30 minute phone interview? Or would you like to rule out even more applicants, and […]

You’ve created an effective application, advertised, received applications, and ruled out unqualified applicants using a fail-proof easy-to-follow system. (Shameless Self Promotion: See 1-Minute Fit Blog). Now what you have left are great applications.

Are you ready to commit to a 15-30 minute phone interview? Or would you like to rule out even more applicants, and save yourself countless hours of time on the phone?

If you are ready for phone interviews stop HERE.

If you want to find out more about the applicant’s motivation, ability to follow instructions, and their analytical thought process – all in just a few minutes of your time – then continue reading.

Copy, Paste, Send

Use a template e-mail questionnaire to identify the applicants that can follow instructions, have the right motivations, and show a desire to work for your organization. Although your time commitment throughout the application process has been minimal, qualified applicants have spent a significant amount of time on their application – and you will be able to tell.

The template I use (See Below) has 3 standard questions, and I will add up to 2 additional questions based on the information on their applications. The questions are insightful and not position specific so you’ll be able to use the template for any position you are hiring for.

E-mail Questionnaire

Thank you for your interest in the Customer Service Position at CMS. We have a few additional questions for you. Once you have completed the following questionnaire please forward your responses to teamr@continentalmessage.com. Do not reply directly to this e-mail address.

Please answer the following questions:

  1. Assign a percentage to the following categories based on their importance to you out of 100 percent: (Example: Work Environment 40%, Compensation 30%, Opportunities for Advancement 30%)
    1. Opportunities of Advancement
    2. Compensation
    3. Work Environment
  2. Why did you decide to apply for this position?
  3. What about your previous work experience do you believe would lead you to be successful at CMS?

Analyzing the Questionnaire

Can they follow Instructions?

Thank you for your interest in the Customer Service Position at CMS. We have a few additional questions for you. Once you have completed the following questionnaire please forward your responses to teamr@continentalmessage.com. Do not reply directly to this e-mail address. Please answer the following questions:

Let’s start with some basics. Can they follow instructions? It is completely acceptable to not read instructions when putting together a piece of furniture (Yes I still have to put my furniture together. Where do you shop?), swing set, or to not read a map, but in a professional capacity it is not acceptable to not read instructions.

In the email you can see that I have asked applicants to forward their response to an email address that is different than where I send the questionnaire from. They are specifically asked to not reply directly to the email. So if they do, you can assume that they can not follow simple instructions or read directions thoroughly. Also, I judge how quickly they respond. If they take more than 5 days to respond I rule them out.

What’s their motivation?

  1. Assign a percentage to the following categories based on their importance to you out of 100 percent: (Example: Work Environment 40%, Compensation 30%, Opportunities for Advancement 30%)
    1. Opportunities of Advancement
    2. Compensation
    3. Work Environment

I feel that I can accurately gauge a person’s intelligence. For example, I am the smartest person that I know. Seriously though, you can gauge intelligence by the thoroughness of the responses, the relevancy of responses, and the overall effort throughout the application process. What I have a hard time judging is an applicant’s motivations. They may have many years at one organization which does show overall motivation, but what other underlying factors kept them there so long? This question is designed specifically to help me gauge what the applicant is looking for from a company, and whether or not what they are looking for is representative of our organization.

Asking the applicant about their motivation will give you a ton of insight into why he or she is applying. Their answers also provide an excellent talking point during the interview

If they are 100% interested in compensation I know that the job is only about a paycheck and this is a person that is more than likely going to jump at a higher paying opportunity regardless of their opportunities for advancement and/or environment. If they answer above 50% on work environment then they have more than likely had a bad work experience and this number will give you the opportunity to discuss that with them. If they answer high on opportunities for advancement, I know that this person is interested in getting ahead.

2. Why did you decide to apply for this position?

This is another question that provides insight into motivation. We are in the courting position, and I want ,to know why they are interested. Are we the last single sitting at the bar at the end of the night or are we the one that attracts all the attention at 7pm while everyone is still sober?

I expect to see a couple sentence answer to this question. We are starting a relationship. I want to be wooed. I want to know why we are a good match. I want an even response about what is good about us and what is good about them. If they respond with a couple words, a single sentence, or desperation, I rule them out. I like to see answers that reference previous work experience, that they were referred to our organization, or that they are interested in opportunities for advancement. Another great talking point for an interview.

Why are they a good fit?

3. What about your previous work experience do you believe would lead you to be successful at CMS?

I believe customer service is universal. No matter what industry you work in you are expected to provide good customer service. Unless of course you are a cell phone company, cable company, satellite tv company, a bank, or an internet powerhouse (you know who you are Google, Apple, and Amazon). Let me rephrase and say that if you are small business or a frontline employee at a large business dealing with consumers, you are expected to provide high quality customer service. Therefore no matter where they have worked, they should be able to relate their skills and previous work experience to our organization.

We are an outsourcing call center and I like to see how someone with a retail background or food service will relate their experience to their possible job role. I expect a two sentences or more answer to this question. I rule out any applicant that has one word or one sentences answers.

Once you have received the e-mail response from the applicant, then review their answers and determine if they are a good fit for a phone interview. I will address the rest of the application/interview process in future blogs. Please feel free to e-mail me with questions, suggestions, etc.

By Last Updated: April 8, 2021Categories: Blog5.8 min read