Before you hit record, make sure to follow these interview tips.

If you're currently looking for new opportunities in the job market, chances are you'll have come across at least one job application that requires a pre-recorded video interview. This type of interview usually occurs at the beginning of the interview process as the initial candidate screen. What makes it different from a phone screen or other video interview is that the interviewer isn't physically present when the candidate is answering interview questions.

Recruiters and hiring managers usually prepare a set of questions about the role advertised ahead of time and send candidates a link through which they can record their answers. Once the video recording is submitted, recruiters will evaluate the answers and determine whether to invite the candidate in for a face-to-face interview.

But how do you succeed in this type of job interview, exactly? Luckily, we have a few pre-recorded video interview tips and best practices for you to keep in mind.

Pre-recorded video interviews won't replace face-to-face interviews

One important thing for a job seeker to note when preparing for a pre-recorded video interview is that it's only used to assist with the initial screening of candidates — not to completely replace face-to-face interviews. Also, some recruiters find this screening process helpful as they might not get all the information they need solely from your resume. Other reasons for this  interview? Time and efficiency.

Pre-recorded video interview questions during the hiring process allow recruiters and companies to screen through a larger number of job candidates in a shorter amount of time. They can then proceed to invite candidates that succeed in the video interview for a physical meeting. On top of that, video interviewing allows recruiters to screen through job applications more objectively, as all candidates and job seekers are given a structured interview with the same set of questions, eliminating external distractions during the screening and allowing for a less-biased selection process.

Record in the right environment

When you think about how to succeed in pre-recorded video interviews, it's important to start from the background of your recording. Record in front of a wall with neutral colors, avoiding wallpapers and distracting, patterned walls. All the focus should be on you — not the background. Additionally, ensure that your workplace is tidy and clean before starting the video. You don't want those reviewing your videos to notice a mess. 

When it comes to recording, position your webcam so that it's at eye-level when you sit down, and be sure that you have sufficient lighting in the room so you can be clearly seen without shadows or too much backlight. Turn on all the lights in the room if possible, and close the curtains to prevent glare if you're recording in the daytime. Your recording space should also be quiet, so try to eliminate any possible distractions. Turn off your mobile phone and any other devices in the room that may create ambient noise. Also make sure that you have a great internet connection to prevent disruptions.

Practice, practice, practice

Although pre-recorded interviews may be shorter and less intense than face-to-face job interviews, you should practice for them with the same focus and thoroughness. 

Before you start recording, practice in front of the mirror and then the webcam, as if you're talking to someone sitting right in front of you. Eye contact is essential in any interaction, so be sure to look directly into the camera when talking — not yourself on the screen. 

Still do your research and come prepared 

Before the video interview process, be sure to read up about the company's mission statement, services and products offered, consumer base, and even any recent press releases they might have. This helps you to be informed about the latest happenings in the company and allows you to discuss them knowledgeably. Similarly, you should also be prepared to answer any questions about your past experiences. Be sure to review your resume right before recording the video and prepare some talking points. Lastly, dress professionally when you're recording your video interview, even if you're just recording in your bedroom. 

Stay calm while recording

It might feel awkward to answer pre-recorded interview questions without the interviewer physically present, but it's important to maintain a relaxed body language. Enunciate your words clearly as well, as the last thing you want is for your excellent point of view to be lost in your mumbling! Listen to each question, take your time to contemplate the answer, respond in a calm manner, and make sure that you're addressing the question being asked. Going off track and beating around the bush isn't going to do you any favors in a video interview — especially if there is a time limit on your answer (as some pre-recorded video job interviews have). 

Fortunately, some companies allow you to retry your answers. If you're given this opportunity, try to nail down your main points in the first few sentences. The first sentence of your response should set the tone by reiterating the question and addressing your perspective on it. From there, you can elaborate further based on your research and past experience.

Most importantly, be sure to have fun recording your answers, stay positive, and showcase your personality. Remember, interviewers and decision makers are interested in getting to know you as a person, not just listening to a memorized list of accomplishments.

Don't forget to follow up

The video interview process doesn't end once you submit your recorded answers; be sure to show your courtesy by sending a thank-you email to the interviewer or employer on the day of submission. In the email, you can indicate your interest by asking about the next steps and when you should expect to hear a response.

It helps to show your interest by keeping a constant stream of communication between yourself and the interviewer. You can email them once a week to follow up and reiterate your interest. But keep in mind, anything more frequent might make you appear aggressive and desperate! Following up is important, but not knowing how long to wait after an interview to send a follow up, or checking in too much can easily backfire.

Make sure to follow these tips before your next pre-recorded video interview and success will soon follow.

Hesitant to tackle a pre-recorded video interview? Our TopInterview coaches can help you feel cool, calm, and confident! 

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