With pre-recorded interviews, the clue really is in the name – candidates are normally given a set of interview questions and asked to record themselves answering these questions.
While it sounds simple enough, pre-recorded interviews can actually be pretty tricky to master, particularly if you’ve only been given a set amount of time to give and upload your answers. In that case, the pressure really is on.
It is important to have everything in place before you begin. You want to limit distractions so the focus is on you, not what’s in your background. Follow these simple guidelines and you will have a proper recording space in no time.
- Position your webcam so when you sit, it is at eye-level.
- Establish how you should adjust your lighting. Proper lighting is essential for good video quality.
- The background light should be the brightest in the room.
- A simple desk lamp can be used as your main light source.
- Turn on any available lights in the room, close all windows, and check to make sure there is no glare on your monitor.
- Never use your monitor as your light source.
- Be mindful of your background.
- Position yourself in front of a wall with neutral colors; avoid patterns, wallpaper, and mirrors.
- Clean your recording area. A tidy workspace conveys professionalism to your future employer.
- Turn off all appliances or devices that may create ambient noise.
- Your recording space should be quiet and comfortable.
- Allot yourself ample time to answer each question in your chosen space – an hour should be sufficient.
- Eliminate all possible distractions and interruptions. Turn off your cell phone and if you’re at home, make sure people in the house know you are taking an interview.
Treat It Like Any Other Job Interview
Be sure to do lots of research around the company you are interviewing for and try and demonstrate this knowledge within your answers.
Also you might feel a bit silly dressing up smartly in your living room – but remember, employers will see you and first impressions count so don’t let yourself down by recording your interview in your favorite hoody or comfy old t-shirt. That said; it is important to try and dress appropriately for the company you’re interviewing for. For example, while a suit and tie might be perfect for a finance job, it’s probably a bit too over the top for a digital job with an agency that’s famous for favoring casual dress.
Practice, Practice, Practice
With a pre-recorded interview, you might have the advantage of knowing what questions you are going to have to answer, so practice and prepare to make the most of it. Think about some key points you definitely want to cover in each answer and practice answering each question.
You could even try and practice in front of family and friends to get an idea of how you might come across – or you could even record yourself practicing to see where you can improve.
Remember, You’re Not a Robot
When it comes to pre-recorded interviews, it can be really easy to come across as a bit robotic and stiff, especially if you had time to practice your answers. Rather than creating proper paragraphs for each answer, jot down key bullet points that you want to answer – and use these as reference when recording your answers.
Similarly, employers want to see that the candidates they’re considering have a bit of a personality – so try and ensure your answers have a bit of a life in them – e.g. a monotone voice and no movement probably isn’t the way to go. So, think about how you talk normally and try and replicate this in your answer
Don’t Rush It
Employers want to employ people who are confident, have clear communication skills and can keep calm under pressure – so if you are mumbling, rushing through your answers and getting flustered, you’re probably not going to impress.
Before you record your answers, take a big deep breath and think about what kind of impression you want to make and what you want to portray and try and bear this in mind throughout the course of your interview.
Take Advantage of the Situation
With a pre-recorded interview you essentially get to have a job interview from the comfort of your own home, so you need to take advantage of that. Remember, the employer will only see what you let them see (e.g. your background), so it is a good idea to use the space around you wisely.
Just like a Skype interview, it is a good idea to stick post it notes to the outside of your screen or on the wall in front of you which contain your answer bullet points and notes on the company – and then use these as reference throughout your interview. Also, if there’s something you are trying to avoid (e.g. playing with your hair or looking at the floor), stick behavior pointers on your post-it notes too.