Acing the Pre-Recorded Interview

Congratulations, you’ve been invited to a pre-recorded interview, now what?

Generally, a live connect interview is preferred to a video interview when you can land one.  It is common though, especially in early-in-career-roles, that you will come across a request to complete a pre-recorded interview first.  Here are some tips to help ease your pre-recorded interview jitters and secure that dream job! 

Why do companies use pre-recorded interviews?

Recording platforms help companies with high demand positions sort through hundreds of applicants and give all candidates an equal chance to prove themselves.  This can be better than the alternative where a recruiter only views 50 of the first 200 applications and stops there after identifying a handful of talented candidates.  The pre-recorded interview helps recruiting teams manage their time and resources while still maintaining access to all interested candidates.   

Why are pre-recorded interviews good for candidates?

Pre-recorded interviews may not feel too comfortable in the moment, but they can be a great opportunity for candidates who want the chance to “get in front of” a hiring leader to convince them that they are right for the role.  This live recording is a small dose of the authentic you and complements your CV/resume. 

Pre-recorded interviews are a chance to show your personality and ensure your resume/CV does not get ruled out due to lack of experience.  Maybe your resume/CV alone would have ruled you out as a candidate or doesn’t easily connect to the role, but your pre-record interview is the opportunity that you need to highlight your interpersonal skills and abilities! 

Other benefits to pre-recorded interviews include the option to record the interview answers during a time that works best for you (maybe after business hours, or after your kids go to bed), and also the opportunity to read the question being asked, rather than just hearing it on the spot live.  All perks!

What are recruiters looking for in the pre-recorded interview?
  1. To understand why you are applying/why you are interested in the opportunity. 
  2. To check your knowledge and interest in the company.
  3. To get an understanding of your experience and transferrable skills that align with the role.
  4. To get a feel for your presence & energy
    1. Customer service role: may require certain energy.
    1. Professional/Senior role: may require a certain presence.

Questions you will most likely see in a pre-recorded interview.

Pre-recorded interviews are meant to be short and sweet (for you and the recruiter to watch back!).  They aren’t intended to cover every aspect of your eligibility, but instead to get a quick feel for your presence and a general understanding of your candidacy.  Questions that are typically asked and that you should prepare for:

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Why are you interested in this role?
  3. Why are you interested in our company?
  4. What do you know about our company?
Prep is key:
  • As part of your preparation, spend time running through your CV in chronological order so your experience is top of mind.
  • List 3 projects that you have lead or been involved in. Note down what the project was, what went well, what you learnt and what you may change next time. This is valuable information you can draw upon when asked those pesky competency-based questions that force you to think on your feet!
  • Research the company! What are their values? Have they had any positive press recently? Why do you want to work for a company like this? Like dating, companies want to feel special like you are interested in them and have done your research. 
  1. Once you receive the invite, complete the pre-recorded interview as soon as possible.  Don’t put it off for days or weeks, this can show your interest level.  Make it work for you, but in a timely manner!
  2. Try to avoid holding your phone if you can when recording yourself, it can be distracting to the reviewer and sometimes deemed as non-professional or show a lack of preparation.  If you don’t have a stand or tripod, use a stack of books to prop!
  3. Don’t spend hours prepping or read directly from a script like a robot!  Prepare intentionally, jot down a few powerful keywords or situations to help you remember experiences you want to share, and get it done!
  4. Make sure your room is quiet, well-lit and free from any distractions. Put a note on the door that says “Interview in Progress” if needed and turn that smart phone OFF!
  5. Body language and eye contact – in the virtual world we’re living in, this is more important than ever. Sit up straight, face forwards and smile as appropriate 😊 
  6. Ensure your appearance is neat and tidy and your video and microphone on before pressing record! First impressions still count!
  7. If you have the option to re-record and you want to take it, do it!  But don’t become obsessive.  Recruiters aren’t looking for perfection, they are looking for the authentic you!  (You would say “um” in a live interview and not get the chance to re-record 😊).
  8. Be YOURSELF!  No one is you but you. That is your SUPERPOWER!  Lead with authenticity, mention a brief hobby or passion project that helps the interviewer get to know you on a personal level if it feels appropriate.

Pre-recorded interviews can feel uncomfortable for candidates at every level!  Remember to stay positive, be yourself, don’t overthink it!  Once you ace the pre-record, you’ll soon be able to showcase yourself in the live interview! 

Happy Interviewing! 

Special thank you to Annabelle Williams and Meaghan Mitchell at Wiley Talent Acquisition for writing this article!

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For careers at Wiley, click here.

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