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Using Taleo - Designing Prescreening Questions


Be sure to check the bottom of this page for printable user guides.
Skip ahead:
Adding questions to your requistion from the library
Creating new questions
Setting up requirements and assets

Planning Your Questions

With the rest of your requisition put together, we can focus our attention on the prescreening questions. These questions are vital for your job posting. Their purpose is to help you find the best candidates to interview, and they do that either by excluding unqualified candidates or by bringing highly qualified candidates to your attention. 

So every prescreening question must be based on the listed qualifications for your position. If something is necessary for the job, it should be clearly listed in in the description before the candidate applies. That said, not every qualification can be accurately gauged in a prescreening question. You'll need to exercise some judgment to discern which should be included.

An ideal question should be both valid and reliable.
  • A valid question actually gauges the qualification you're asking about.
A common application question goes something like this.

Do you have good time management skills, and are you able to handle multiple projects at a time?

  • Yes
  • No
A good way to see if a candidate has good time management skills is to have them recount a time when they had to handle multiple projects at once. A simple yes-or-no question doesn’t capture that information in depth. Any candidate coming to this question would answer Yes, whether they have the qualification or not. So this question is not valid, because it measures how much a candidate wants to look good on the application, not whether or not they actually have the qualification. Time management is a subject better handled in the interview
  • A reliable question measures the right qualification every time.
Another common question asks about a candidate's level of skill.

Are you proficient with Microsoft Word?

  • Yes
  • No
Proficiency means different things to different people. One person unfamiliar with Microsoft Word may think proficiency means being able to type, save, and print, while someone truly familiar with the program may understand how to use templates and macros. Both candidates will answer Yes to this question, even though they have very different levels of skill.

So this question is not reliable, because it doesn’t measure the same qualification every time. A better prescreening question lists the specific tasks the candidate should be able to do.

Creating Your Questions in Taleo

In Taleo, you can choose from questions already housed in our questions library, or you can create your own.

Use the actions bar in the Prescreening Questions section of your requisition to choose or create questions.

To choose from the questions library, click the Add button.

To find questions in the library, you can use the Quick Filters box on the left. Questions are sorted into categories by code, so if you have the code you can find the question that way. You can also search by question phrasing.

To find questions in the library to use, click Add and use the Quick Filters.

The filters will narrow down the questions listed to the right. You can choose a specific question to use by clicking the Select button next to the question.

To add a question, click Select.

Continue adding questions until you have found all that you will use. Then click Done.

When you have selected all questions, click Done.

You can use the Create Question button Create a Question to make a question of your own. When you click this button, the question form will appear. First select the type of question you want to use.
  • A single-answer question offers a range of answers, from which a candidate selects one.
  • A multiple-answer question offers a range of answers, from which a candidates selects as many as are applicable.
  • A text answer question offers an open-ended question, and the candidate can enter a free form response.

Select the type of question you want to use.

Next, enter the phrasing of the question as you want it to appear in the application. Be sure to ask it in a way that is both valid and reliable.

Next, enter the question phrasing.

Finally, enter all of the answers that you will include. Remember that all single- and multiple-answer questions should have a "None of the Above" or "Not Applicable" answer for candidates to choose who do not have any of the qualifications.

Enter all possible answers

When you are finished with the question, it will be listed at the bottom of your list of questions.

Now you will indicate whether the questions are gauging Requirements or Preferences. Because you've based your questions on your list of qualifications, it should be clear which is which.
  • Requirement questions are those that disqualify candidates who do not possess job requirements.
  • Asset questions are those that rank candidates higher when they possess job preferences. 

Avoid measuring Requirements and Assets in the same question. You will risk rejecting qualified candidates. Use separate questions to gauge Requirements and Assets.

First set up your Requirement questions. Passing answers should be marked as Required, and failing answers should be marked as Not Applicable.

For requirement questions, indicate passing answers as Required and failing answers as Not Applicable.

Some questions will have multiple passing answers. In single-answer questions, any answer that could be a passing answer should be marked as such, like in Question 5 below. A candidate with 6-18 months experience meets the qualification; a candidate with more than 42 months also meets it. So any answer that could pass is marked as an Asset.

For multiple-answer questions, every answer will be marked as a passing answer except "Not Applicable" or "None of the Above."

A question may have multiple passing answers.

If you have any further questions about how to set up your prescreening questions, feel free to ask HR. These questions are very important in helping us to manage our candidate pools.
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