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How to prepare for a pre-recorded video interview

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Pre-recorded interviews are automated and generally used for screening large amounts of job applicants. Employers use this automated process to help speed up the interview processes, which means your application will be screened quicker. 

Generally used by larger companies, pre-record or ‘one-way’ interviews are used in the same way a phone interview is traditionally used – to ask some quick standard questions and confirm that you’re suitable for a full interview. 

Pre-recorded interviews have other benefits too, mainly they will help you to sell yourself and give a full overview of your skills and personality to the employer. It’s an opportunity for you to highlight your experience, passion, and personality for the role and the company that you are applying for. 

How does an automated pre-record interview work?

Automated interview assessments are generally easy to use, with lots of support available if you encounter issues when trying to access links etc. Once completed the assessment is sent to the hiring teams, allowing them to quickly review your application.

By completing this automated interview, you give the hiring team a much better insight to who you are and why you would be a great fit for this role. The Talent Acquisition teams can then make a more informed decision about whether you are suitable for the role. 

Pre-record interviews can also be a great way for employers to avoid unconscious bias. Niamh O’Connor, Senior Client Services Manager at Cpl, speaks from her experience: 

In the past we have found that these interviews support with diversity and inclusion. Employers who use these automated interviews reported back that they are seeing increased diversity coming through in their successful hires.” 

Overall although pre-recorded interviews might seem a little nerve-wracking or unnatural, but if you’re prepared and have the skills there’s no reason to be nervous. Read on below for our guide to pre-recorded interview tips and for more advice you can download our Video Interview Handbook.

Can you decline a pre-recorded video interview?

 If you are nervous or uncomfortable you can say no. If your skills are in demand and the team really wants to interview you, they may still consider your application but have no obligation to. If you can’t do the interview due to accessibility reasons let them know.

Pre-recorded or one-way video interviews usually follow the same format:

  • You will be sent a link with pre-recorded questions

  • You will be given a set amount of time to answer each question – you are usually given a few attempts before choosing which answer to submit

  • Questions are submitted and this is usually part one of the hiring process

  • If you’re successful, you’ll then be invited to the next round of interviews (often a live video interview) or if possible, an in-person interview

Typical pre-recorded video interview questions

A pre-recorded video interview is used to learn more about you, your interest in the company and your skills. Questionsare usually straight forward, for example:

  • “Tell me about yourself”

  • “Why are you interested in this job?”

  • “What do you know about this company?

  • Questions about your professional experience and CV

  • Availability and salary expectations

  • Questions about the skills needed for the job, for example, if it is a Customer Success role, you may be asked about previous Customer Success experience or a specific skill that is listed on the job spec

Tips for a good pre-recorded video interview

  • Check the technology requirements – some companies will state if it’s ok to use a smartphone, while others will prefer a laptop. If no specifics are listed a laptop or computer is a safer option

  • Introduce yourself at the start, for example, “Hi, my name is X and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to interview with you today”

  • Read the instructions and ask questions in advance If you’re confused about anything

  • You’ll usually be given a deadline to complete the video interview, for example, “Submit your pre-recorded interview before December 9th.” Take note of this due date and don’t miss it!

  • Practise your questions and time yourself. Each question usually has a time limit so keep your answers concise – focus on quality, not quantity

  • If you’ve never recorded yourself before do a few tests. Some people can find filming themselves distracting, by doing some trial runs you’ll appear more natural and confident

  • Don’t panic if you slip up – everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you act afterwards that matters

  • The interview will be a video recording so don’t forget about your body language

  • Dress professionally, as you would for a regular interview or ‘live’ video interview

  • Think about the pre-record interview as your ‘virtual cover letter’ and use it to highlight the information you think is relevant to the job

Pre-recorded video interviews save employers time and give them an opportunity to interview more candidates. This gives you the chance to communicate your skills and show them you’re suitable for the role.

Like any interview, from a phone to a regular in-person interview, the most important thing is preparing and practising.  

For more tips and advice on video interviews download our free Video Interview Handbook or get in touch. You can also follow us on LinkedIn for regular career advice updates.