And, what to expect on a pre-recorded video interview…

We are now familiar with having Zoom and Skype interviews. Like or hate, we understand this is likely to be the way we conduct interviews for the remainder of this year and perhaps beyond. So, what about a pre-recorded video interview?

This method of interview isn’t new but is certainly being used more and more frequently given the current climate. With the current pandemic forcing us to explore alternative working practices this method of interviewing is becoming more and more common.

What is a pre-recorded video interview?

It’s a sophisticated piece of software that allows interviewers to pre-record a selection of questions relating to that job. These recorded videos can then be sent out to multiple candidates via email in the form of a link.

This style of the interview will probably be the first stage and will be used to screen candidates against the essential criteria. It’s a cost and time-saving method of conducting multiple interviews.

Watch out for the tight Deadline

When you receive an invite to the pre-recorded interview there will be an expiry date. It’s probably not going to be more than 5-days. So, it makes sense to start preparing your examples at the same time as applying for the vacancy. Ideally, it’s best to start preparing your answers and examples when you start looking for work.

If you are employed, you have even less free time to prepare for interviews and that’s why I’m suggesting you do as much preparation before you start being invited. Of course, you’ll need to tailor or tweak your examples to fit each job and company, but this is a lot less time-consuming than starting from scratch.

How to handle the Questions

The questions will appear on the screen as text. The interview could be a recording of a person asking questions, but not always.

You will have a set time to answer the questions. You’ll generally get 1 minute to compose yourself and think about the question. This minute will go very quickly, so it’s not supposed to be used to prepare your answer from scratch. You should use this time to select the example that best answers the question.

There could be a question that you have to prepare from scratch – as you might not have a prepared example that exactly fits. Being prepared for this to happen will help. Consider the nature of the job and try to predict some likely scenarios.


There is likely to be a clock in the corner of the screen to allow you to manage your time. Usually, you’ll get 3 to 5 minutes to answer the questions. The time will go very quickly. That’s why I’d suggest you practice timing your answers before the interview.  

Again, if you anticipate being a little nervous, practicing a few times will definitely be an advantage.  Set the timer and use a logical step-by-step process to talk through your examples.  You can use the S.T.A.R. (Situation, Task, Action, and Results.) process or try C.A.R. (Challenge, Action, and Results.)

Here’s a quick video to explain: What to expect on a Pre-recorded Video Interview

How do you prepare for a pre-recorded video interview?

It takes quality time to review all the information about the job and company and create specific examples. So, as soon as you start looking for jobs you need to start putting your examples together.

When you start looking for work, that’s the ideal time to start thinking about creating some examples to share.

It’s really important once you’ve prepared some examples, that you practice talking through your answers. Particularly for a pre-recorded video you absolutely need to time your answers.

If you are very chatty, you need to make sure your answers are concise and don’t go over the time allotted to each answer. And, if you are quite quiet then you want to try to maximize the time allotted, otherwise, you are reducing your chances of providing all the evidence.