Imagine this: you’ve stumbled upon an advertisement for your dream job. The description of the position sounds perfect—something you’ve always wanted. You apply for the job and instantly receive a generic email to introduce yourself via a pre-recorded video interview.
Upon opening the email, you start sweating and trembling while going through the questions you need to cover in the video. All you’re thinking about is dropping it before even giving it a shot.
The thing is, these interviews aren’t as horrible as you may think. With our tips for a pre-recorded video interview, you’ll learn how to rock them!
- Pre-recorded video interviews are similar to classic interviews, where a recruiter asks candidates questions. The key differences are that there is no recruiter, and it’s not done in real-time.
- These interviews are of great help for a recruiter or hiring manager, as they allow them to reduce the number of candidates and speed up the selection process.
- In a pre-recorded video interview introduction, you’re expected to present yourself in the best light possible and answer a set of given questions.
- Though many people dread them, pre-recorded video interviews are easy to master, provided that you have good guidelines to follow.
What Is a Pre-Recorded Video Interview?
A pre-recorded video interview is a one-way recording of a candidate answering a set of questions provided in advance. A candidate can record a video on their own and then email it; alternatively, they can use special recruitment software like Vid Cruiter or Shine Interview. How the video will be made depends on the recruiter themselves or the agency hired to carry out the recruitment process.
If you’re shooting the video on your own, you can take as many tests as you wish until you make the perfect one. Next, you upload the video and send it to the recruiter. When recording a video via a designated platform, it will be uploaded automatically. However, the test takes are pretty limited—you can take just a few of them before the final version is uploaded.
While candidates might not see any benefits in such a form of interviewing, they are extremely valuable for recruiters. This way, they have an opportunity to pre-screen candidates and shortlist the ones that will move on to the next stage.
In addition, pre-recorded video interviews let recruiters assess candidates’ specific skills necessary for the position, such as communication skills, language proficiency, and how they come across on screen.
The Importance of Pre-Recorded Video Interviews
Pre-recorded video interviews are generally perceived as a nuisance among the candidates. Barely anyone likes to see themselves on the screen—it gives the impression that you’re talking to yourself.
Recruiters, on the other hand, use these interviews to evaluate candidates’ motivation for the job. Namely, making them involves extra effort to get out of your comfort zone and shoot a video. Therefore, recruiters see this as a huge drive.
In line with this, video interviews give candidates an opportunity to show their enthusiasm for a job. Even well-crafted resumes and cover letters may not adequately express the keen interest a candidate may have in the position. In a pre-recorded video interview, they have a perfect opportunity to express how enthusiastic they are about a job as if they were in an actual interview.
In addition to accelerating the entire recruitment process and saving recruiters’ time, these interviews save candidates’ time as well. They don’t have to take a day off from work or rush to a scheduled interview. Instead, they are free to record it any time they like, provided that it’s within the recruiter’s timeframe.
How to Prepare for a Pre-Recorded Video Interview
Even though you have no interlocutor, you still need to prepare for the interview. Here’s how to do it:
#1. Read the Instructions Carefully
Before you start recording the video, the recruiter will send you the instructions you should follow, so peruse them carefully. Doing so will boost your chances of nailing the interview, as you will demonstrate that you pay attention to all details and instructions.
If you wave off this step or simply take an uninterested glance at the instructions, the recruiter may disqualify you even before they lend an ear to what you have to say. Don’t make assumptions about the interviewing process, such as that recruiters know everything they should based on your application. You’re highly likely to be wrong.
#2. Practice the Interview
The great advantage of pre-recorded video interviewing is that you have all the questions in front of you, so you have an opportunity to practice. Read the questions and think about how to provide the best possible answers. There would be no extra questions and, thus, no opportunity to clarify or add something you forgot to mention.
Preparing the script with answers is a good idea, as it will help you remember everything. Once you have made it, record the video as many times as necessary until you make a perfect one. Be careful here, though, since this is only possible if you’re shooting the video on your own. If you’re recording it via a platform, you will have three to five practice shots available.
If you’re uncomfortable sitting in front of the camera, as most people are, try practicing with a mirror. Once you get comfortable, move on to the camera.
#3. Research the Company
The gravest mistake you can make on a job interview is to pop out without researching the company. This rule of thumb applies to both online video interviews and their pre-recorded equivalents. By failing to do the necessary research, you risk coming off as uncommitted, unconcerned, and uninterested.
Explore the company’s mission and achievements, the products or services it offers, the consumer base, etc. You can even read the latest press releases if they have any. This way, you will stay informed about happenings and trends in the company.
#4. Check Technical Requirements
Make sure that you check all the technical requirements, such as camera and mic settings, if there are any. You don’t want inadequate settings to ruin your chances of landing a perfect job.
Also, don’t wait for the very last moment to start checking your equipment, only to realize that your camera or microphone isn’t working properly. You’re most likely to start panicking for not being able to figure out what’s wrong.
Keep in mind that, on some occasions, you may be expected to send some additional material along with the video, such as a portfolio, application letter, or resume. Check if this is the case, and if it is, prepare everything you need to send beforehand.
#5. Mind the Time
The pre-recorded video interview practice offers you a perfect opportunity to mind the time of your video. In the majority of situations, you will be limited to about three minutes per question. This should be just enough time to say everything required of you in the instructions.
Note, however, that time management can be quite tricky when it comes to such videos. Three minutes could be too short if you’re ill-prepared and start adding too much fluff and unnecessary information.
Likewise, your stage fright and anxiety may force you to finish in under one minute, failing to speak intelligibly and mention everything a recruiter would like to know about you.
Neither of these situations is good, so to prevent them from happening, practice as much as you need until you’re fully prepared.
#6. Have Your CV or Application Form Handy
Just like in a regular interview, you should elaborate on your achievements and experience in a pre-recorded video interview as well. Thus, have your CV, resume, or job application next to you so that you can highlight all your skills, knowledge, and expertise. You can also demonstrate your hard and soft skills, educational background, and certification.
Make sure to match your skills and achievements to the advertised position. There is no point in discussing your teaching skills if you’re applying for the job of a marketer.
7 Tips for Nailing Your Pre-Recorded Video Interview
If you are camera-shy or have no experience with such one-way interviewing, coming up with a perfect shot may seem inconceivable. However, this is far from the truth. With our tricks and tips for pre-recorded video interviews, you can nail it!
#1. Don’t Talk Fast
When recording a video, talk as naturally as possible. Yes, anxiety and nervousness might make you speak as if ghouls were chasing you, but do your best to keep calm and talk as coherently and intelligibly as possible. Incoherent articulation may make a recruiter ditch your video and disqualify you from the hiring process.
Therefore, take a deep breath, keep a moderate pace, and speak your mind clearly and concisely. After all, this is why you prepare and practice before you press the recording button.
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to smile—never underestimate its power. Treat your pre-recorded interview as a two-way interview, that is, as if you had an interlocutor on the other side of the screen. You don’t want a recruiter to think you’re the Grinch who has never smiled, let alone laughed, in their life.
Smiling makes you appear more approachable and enthusiastic. Don’t keep a straight face all the time, but don’t grin uncontrollably, either. Smile naturally throughout the interview, particularly in the introductory part and when conveying your interest in the position.
#3. Dress Professionally
Even though you’re not heading to the company’s premises for a live interview, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress properly. First impressions matter, and your creasy shirt, overly informal blouse, and unkempt hair will only create a negative perception of you.
It doesn’t matter if you’re recording the video from the coziness of your humble abode; you still need to dress as you would for an in-person interview. Put on professional clothes that are suitable for the position and the overall company culture.
Besides conveying your commitment to the position, dressing professionally will boost your confidence and, therefore, your chance to land a job.
#4. Mind Your Body Language
Just like in everyday interaction, body language is vital. Try not to hunch or slouch over the camera; likewise, don’t lean too far back in the chair. Sit up straight (though not too uptight); this will show the recruiter or employer that you are confident in yourself, your skills, and your abilities.
Don’t forget to maintain eye contact. Imagine you were talking to a recruiter and looking directly into the camera lens. This will create a sense of connection and engagement with the recruiter. It is okay to glance at your notes occasionally, but don’t overdo it.
#5. Find a Quiet Spot
Secure a quiet space where no one will interrupt you. You don’t want your dog barking, your cat meowing, or your children fighting while you’re making your video. If you share a house with a roommate or with your family, warn everyone not to disturb you for a while.
In case the noise is coming from outside, try to eliminate it as much as possible. Close the windows, go to another room, and look for a spot without noise pollution. Also, don’t forget to turn off notifications on your smartphone or laptop. You don’t want any distractions, particularly loud ones.
#6. Avoid Busy Places
In addition to being noisy, busy places are also distractive for the recruiter and should, therefore, be avoided. Plus, all the people passing by and glancing at what you’re doing may distract you as well.
Your background should be as simple as possible—ideally, a plain wall with very few details. Thus, no flashy images, light shows, or passers-by; you should be the only person who is not only visible but also audible.
#7. Mind the Light
The light can be your best friend or your worst enemy, so you should take it into consideration as well. You don’t want to look weary and bone-tired with dark circles under your eyes, even though you don’t have them, nor are you tired.
Natural light is what you need to consider. As it typically comes from the window, make sure that it falls on your face and not against your back. To achieve that, sit facing the window.
If it’s not possible to make use of natural light, try to balance out shadows using lamps or other sources of artificial light.
Pre-Recorded Video Interview Questions: Examples
A recruiter or employer relies on pre-recorded video interviews to find out more about candidates, their skills, expertise, and accomplishments. Therefore, the questions that you can expect are similar to those you get in a pre-screening interview.
Typically, there are 5 to 10 questions, depending on the position. If you are applying for senior roles, you can expect fewer but more complex interview questions. At the beginning of each interview, candidates are expected to introduce themselves and then answer the qualifying questions.
Some of the most frequent pre-recorded video interview questions are listed below:
- What can you tell us about yourself?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- Why are you interested in this position?
- Why are you the best candidate for the role?
- What skills can you bring to this role?
- What do you know about our company?
- What’s your greatest accomplishment?
- Why did you leave your previous job?
- What’s your ideal work environment?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- How do you measure success?
- Can you describe your work ethic?
- Why were you laid off from your previous job?
Note that these are general questions that may vary from one interview to another. You may also be required to answer more technical and role-specific questions so that the recruiter or employer can assess your knowledge and skills.
For many job seekers, the idea of making a pre-recorded video interview is rather distressing. The main reason behind such a feeling lies in the fact that they need to talk to themselves, i.e., that there is no interlocutor on the other side of the screen.
What can be even more upsetting is that these one-way interviews are becoming more widespread. This is because recruiters find it more convenient to shortlist the best candidates that way.
The truth is, however, that pre-recorded video interviews needn’t be so disturbing. With the right preparation and tips that we have provided, you’re not going to make a perfect video; you are going to nail it and land that dream job of yours!