What Is a Pre-Recorded Video Interview?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Recruiters use many different tools and approaches to pre-screen candidates, and one of these is the pre-recorded video interview. As opposed to a typical video interview, a pre-recorded one only involves the candidate. Although they're not all that common, you're likely going to come across this at some point, either for a job or when applying for further education. In this article, we explain what pre-recorded video interviews are, their various benefits and tips for doing well in them.

Related: Video Interview Tips: How to Prepare for and Succeed in a Video Interview

What is a pre-recorded video interview?

Usually, a pre-recorded video interview is used as an applicant screening tool. This allows recruiters and potential employers to see applications from many different candidates without having to individually contact each of them for a pre-screening interview. Often, you're sent a link that takes you to some set questions. You're expected to answer these questions in your pre-recorded video. Record yourself on video while answering these questions, after which the video is sent to the recruiter.

There might be a dedicated browser-based tool for recording and submitting a pre-recorded video interview, or you might be asked to upload the video to a certain platform and submit a link with access for the recruiter. The primary way that these differ from a normal video interview is that you're alone in front of the camera in a pre-recorded interview. It's worth remembering that a pre-recorded interview is an alternative to a phone interview or other method of pre-screening candidates rather than a replacement for an actual interview.

Related: How to Succeed in a Virtual Interview

What are the benefits of pre-recorded video interviews?

There are various benefits to this method of screening candidates, both for recruiters and for the candidates themselves. For recruiters and employers, a pre-recorded interview system allows them to greatly streamline their screening and recruitment process. An alternative method of screening is with phone calls, which requires a lot more time and active effort from recruiters. Conversely, a pre-recorded video requires little effort once the system for receiving them has been set up. This can save employers a lot of time and money. Some of the major benefits of pre-recorded video interviews are:

They remove time constraints

Recruiters and candidates may have different time constraints, depending on their work commitments and geographical limitations. These may make it difficult to schedule a phone call at a mutually convenient time or set up an in-person interview. A pre-recorded video can be completed by a candidate at a time that suits them and then viewed by recruiters later. All that's required is access to some sort of device that can record video and audio, such as a laptop or PC with a webcam, a smartphone or a tablet.

Recruiters can handle more applications

Thanks to the removal of time constraints, recruiters can consider applications from many more candidates. As long as there's an automated process that receives and stores these applications, recruiters can set aside times for considering each applicant. This can save the company a lot of time in the long run, allowing them to handle more applications.

Related: 10 Common Telephone Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Recruiters can collaborate

If recruiters pre-screen candidates with phone calls, then only the person on the phone with a candidate can develop a first-hand impression of them. Recruiters could listen in on conversations, but they'd probably be better off calling up other candidates. This is why calls are often recorded. A pre-recorded video from the candidate means recruiters get a lot more information about them. This allows more than one recruiter to simultaneously watch an applicant's video and share their thoughts immediately. With this approach, recruiters can form small panels for watching and considering pre-recorded video interviews.

The ability to collaborate like this can make the process more engaging for recruiters. It also means they can get more input for every application. This is also good for candidates, as a live panel of interviewers can be somewhat daunting. By pre-recording it, there's more opportunity for the candidate to speak and behave naturally.

Candidates can promote themselves

Generally, your CV gives general background information to a potential employer, and a cover letter promotes your candidacy. A pre-screening phone interview can perform a complementary role to these two. However, some candidates are better at speaking than writing. Others are better at presenting and using their body language than simply speaking over the phone. By including these pre-recorded videos in the recruitment process, employers get the chance to see their candidates demonstrate a wider set of skills.

This can be especially important for jobs that require candidates to have good speaking and presentation skills, such as sales or public relations. It's always better to see a candidate's skills first-hand than to read them in a list on their CV. This is a great opportunity for candidates who are more comfortable speaking and presenting than writing to promote themselves.

Related: Interviewing Techniques and Tips To Make a Great Impression

Tips for your pre-recorded video interview

These sorts of interviews are quite similar to a standard video interview, although there's the obvious absence of an interviewer. Many of the same best practices apply, but with special considerations for the different format. If you're preparing to submit a pre-recorded video for an application, consider the following:

Prepare and rehearse

One of the major benefits of a pre-recorded interview over a normal one is that you're often going to know the questions in advance. Occasionally, there might not even be specific questions, and you're just going to be expected to generally promote your candidacy. If you have the questions beforehand, read them carefully and prepare effective answers to them. Research the company in question to find out about their values and priorities, which allows you to tailor your answers to them.

You can then develop a script for you to record, which you can practise and view yourself before submitting a final one. You might find it easier to use a script as a general guide rather than reciting it verbatim. This also means you can get input and feedback from friends and family. Wherever possible, watch a video before submitting it to ensure you're happy with it.

Dress appropriately

In any sort of video interview, the only part of you that needs to be appropriately dressed and presentable is what shows on camera. For many people, dressing fully as if they're going to an in-person interview helps them present more professionally and can even increase their confidence. While it may seem unusual to wear formal shoes that aren't even visible in your own home, little things like this may actually help. Try doing your recording like this to see if it makes a difference.

Specifically, what you wear depends greatly on company culture. For some employers, you may be expected to be dressed very formally. Others may have a more relaxed approach. Whatever the case may be, dress for the pre-recorded video as if you were going there in person.

Related: What to Wear to an Interview

Choose a suitable place to record

Usually, pre-recorded videos like these are done at home. Choose a part of your home that has good natural light, is far from any ambient or intermittent noise and has few distractions in the background. You might need to clear a certain part of a room to achieve this. There ought to be very little behind you, such as a wall, window or empty and tidy room. If you wear glasses, try to ensure that the light isn't directly reflecting off them.

Place the camera or other recording device slightly above your eye level and switch off anything that might inadvertently create noise and disrupt the recording. If you're in a relatively empty room with a hard floor, consider putting down a rug or even some towels on the floor and behind the camera, as this can reduce unwanted reverberations in the audio recording, thereby making you sound clearer.

Consider your body language

Doing some practice calls beforehand can allow you to study your own body language. If you're barely moving or have kept your hands in your pockets or your lap, consider presenting more dynamically. If you're unused to speaking to a camera like this, some practice can also help you to relax. Conversely, you can also ensure that your hand gestures are not too distracting to a viewer. Look at the camera, gesture appropriately and try to smile naturally.

You may find that either sitting or standing can affect how you present yourself. Try both if you're unsure. It might be a good idea to invest in a small tripod that can either take a webcam or hold your smartphone or merely elevate your laptop on a box if you wish to try standing.

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