How to Prepare for a Pre-recorded Video Interview

Candidate taking notes in front of computer to prepare for a pre-recorded video interview

Pre-recorded video interviews have become an integral tool in the modern recruitment process. They offer a convenient means to evaluate qualifications, communication skills, and fit for the role before moving to more resource-intensive stages.

Recorded video interviews differ from traditional interviews in that they do not happen in real time. Instead, applicants record responses to predefined questions at their convenience.

This article provides practical pre-recorded video interview tips for candidates and outlines strategies for effectively showing your potential to employers.

Table of contents

Pre-recorded Video Interview Prep

Key Takeaways

Pre-recorded video interviews are a modern screening tool where candidates record answers to preset questions at their convenience, with no interviewer present.

  • Pre-recorded video interviews allow candidates to record responses to preset questions at their convenience, without the need for a live interviewer, making the process flexible and efficient for both employers and candidates.
  • Like in-person interviews, candidates should prepare by understanding the job requirements, practicing their responses, and ensuring their technology setup is functional to avoid disruptions during recording.
  • Candidates should dress professionally, maintain eye contact with the camera, and choose a quiet, well-lit space with a neutral background to ensure a professional and engaging presentation.

What is a pre-recorded video interview?

What is a pre-recorded video interview? This question may come to mind when you get an interview invite through platforms like Spark Hire.

A pre-recorded video interview, also called a one-way video interview, is a modern form of assessment where you, the job candidate, record answers to interview questions provided by a potential employer. This process allows you to respond in your own time and environment.

Employers use pre-recorded video interviews to gauge communication skills, personality, and suitability for the role without the scheduling conflicts of real-time interaction. This method serves as an initial screening step before selecting candidates for in-person interviews or further evaluation stages. It’s frequently used to replace or coincide with traditional phone interviews.

Candidate sitting in front of laptop preparing for a pre-recorded video interview

How does an automated pre-recorded interview work?

An automated pre-recorded interview streamlines the traditional process. Here’s a simplified overview of how it works:

Invitation and questions

The process begins with the recruiter, often in cooperation with the hiring manager, drafting and selecting relevant questions. These questions are then embedded within the pre-recorded interview platform.

Receiving instructions

Candidates are notified via email or SMS about the invitation to participate in the interview, detailing the following steps and one-way interview tips. With Spark Hire, you can access the interview through any mobile device or desktop computer from the link provided by the employer without downloading an app.

Deadline awareness

To ensure timely submission, you must account for deadlines and time zone differences. Set aside plenty of time to prepare for recorded video interviews. This ensures you don’t run into any technical issues and can reach out to support if you need assistance or the employer if you need to request a reasonable deadline extension.

Setup and test

Upon accessing the interview link, candidates are guided through the setup process. This enables testing the camera and microphone for technical reliability and watching a tutorial video. The tips for one-way video interview setup provided by the employer will likely include optimal camera and audio quality settings and internet connection speed.


It is common to be greeted with an introductory video from the recruiter or hiring manager, setting the tone for the interview experience. If provided, pay attention to this introduction video for important information about the team, culture, or interview process.

Practice Session

Some platforms, like Spark Hire, provide access to pre-recorded interview tips and the option to record practice videos. This feature is designed to help candidates become familiar with the recording system.

The interview itself

During the actual interview, you will encounter one question at a time. These questions may have unique settings regarding:

  • Answer Length: The maximum allowed duration for each response.
  • Think Time: The allotted time for considering an answer before recording begins.
  • Takes: Some platforms may limit or allow unlimited attempts to record a response per question.

Review and submission

Depending on the permissions allowed by the employers, after recording, you can review your answer and make adjustments, as permitted, before submitting.


After submitting all answers, recruiters may present an outro video. Candidates and employers typically receive email confirmation of the completed pre-recorded interview submission.

Want to see what it’s like to complete a pre-recorded video on Spark Hire? Watch this video:

Why is preparation key to success in your video-recorded interview?

Preparation is the cornerstone of success in pre-recorded video interviews, often called one-way video interviews. Unlike traditional in-person interviews or live video calls, candidates have a unique opportunity to present the best version of themselves without the pressure of real-time interactions.

This means the recruiter or hiring manager evaluates your best and most unique qualities beyond your resume from the earliest stages of the interview process. Here are a few ways to be prepared to show off your best self:

  1. Technology familiarity

Acquainting yourself with the video platform and equipment beforehand reduces technical difficulties. Testing the camera and microphone ensures a smooth interview process, and avoiding human error reflects technical proficiency and attention to detail.

  1. Structured responses

Practicing answers in advance is also beneficial. Try rehearsing common interview questions so that you can respond clearly and concisely. This preparation aids in keeping a steady pace and avoiding extended pauses while recording.

  1. First impression

As you’re not engaging with a live person, your initial impression must come across positively through the screen. Dressing professionally and ensuring a clutter-free, well-lit background projects seriousness and professionalism.

  1. Eye contact and body language

Maintaining eye contact with the camera, not the screen, is crucial to engage with the interviewer as if they were in the room. Confident video interview body language and appropriate hand gestures can also convey confidence.

  1. Post-interview etiquette

Proper follow-up after an interview is essential. A well-crafted ‘thank you’ email reinforces interest in the position and shows good etiquette.

How to prepare for your one-way video interview? 7 practical pre-recorded video interview tips

When preparing for a one-way video interview, you should take strategic steps to ensure you present yourself in the best light.

  1. Plan for time management

It’s critical you are aware of submission deadlines for one-way video interviews. Planning and recording early is always recommended, allowing time for retakes or edits if permitted. 

  1. Company and role research

Researching the company and specific role allows you to tailor your answers, making them more relevant and impressive. Understanding the organization’s values and job requirements can help highlight how your skills and experiences align.

  1. Follow instructions carefully

Employers assess a candidate’s ability to adhere to guidelines. Read the employer’s directions thoroughly before beginning. This includes understanding the content limitations and submission requirements.

  1. Perform a technical check

Perform a technology check before recording, even if you tested once before. Recording a final test video to confirm everything is in working order is good practice. Exploring the help center and watching tutorials related to the interview platform are also helpful in being proactive in case you need to troubleshoot. 

  1. Optimizing environment setup

Choosing a quiet, well-lit space for the interview is key. A neutral background is preferable. Lighting should be in front of you to avoid casting shadows and you should ensure that there will be no interruptions or distractions during the recording.

  1. Dress professionally

Interview attire matters even in pre-recorded formats. Dressing in professional, business-appropriate clothing can influence the interviewer’s perception. Being aware of the company’s culture when choosing what to wear for a virtual video interview is also a great one-way video interview tip to keep in mind.

  1. Practice makes perfect

Before hitting record, consider your responses carefully and practice your video interview body language to ensure a consistent message. This helps you deliver clear and concise answers, manage time limits, and reduce the number of times you need to re-record responses if the employer allows it.


As a candidate, what should you say in a pre-recorded video interview introduction?

When a candidate faces a broad introductory question such as “tell us about yourself,” it’s important they cover several key points concisely:

  • Begin with a snapshot of their educational qualifications or work history, emphasizing relevant elements.
  • The candidate should convey genuine reasons for their interest in the opportunity.
  • It’s critical to highlight how their skills and experience make them the right fit.
  • Concluding with an interesting fact adds a touch of personality, setting them apart.

Can you re-record your answers to the pre-recorded video interview questions?

Whether a candidate can re-record their answers in a pre-recorded video interview is determined by the take limit set by the recruiter. Different questions may have varying take limits.

  • Single-Take: Some platforms allow only one attempt, expecting you to answer promptly without edits.
  • Multiple Takes: Other setups may permit several tries, potentially giving you a chance to refine your response.

Candidates should carefully review the instructions provided for each question. This ensures an understanding of whether they have the opportunity to re-record their answers and, if so, how many attempts are allowed.

How much time do candidates usually have to answer each question in a pre-recorded video interview?

During a pre-recorded video interview, candidates encounter two types of time constraints: think time and answer length.

  • Think Time: This is the period provided for candidates to consider their responses before starting the recording. It can vary, with some questions offering unlimited think time as long as the overall interview submission aligns with the deadline.
  • Answer Length: Once recording starts, the length of the response is typically capped. Answers usually have a ceiling, ranging from 1 to 3 minutes.

These timings may differ depending on the specific question, so candidates should remain attentive to any changes in these settings throughout the interview process.

Can you decline a pre-recorded video interview?

While you can opt not to complete a pre-recorded video interview, it is not recommended. Typically, employers use pre-recorded video interviews as a standard part of the hiring process, meaning they are required for all candidates to advance to the next step.

Keep in mind that one of the reasons employers use pre-recorded interviews is to increase their interviewing capacity, allowing them to hear from more candidates than they’d be able to speak with using traditional methods. So, a pre-recorded interview should be viewed as a great opportunity to get in front of the recruiter and/or hiring manager faster.

Where can I find sample video interview questions and answers?

Candidates seeking to prepare for video interviews can find the most common video interview questions and sample answers on Spark Hire. With many video interviews conducted, Spark Hire offers a comprehensive list of the most typical interview questions and suggested responses. These resources help applicants grasp pre-recorded interviews and craft genuine responses.

How long should each of my answers be in a pre-recorded video interview?

In a pre-recorded video interview, one should focus on delivering concise responses, ideally lasting one to two minutes per question. Applicants must adhere to any specific time constraints provided by the employer and consider the allotted “think time” to organize thoughts before speaking. 

The goal is to succinctly encapsulate key points clearly, ensuring the responses are engaging and to the point without forgoing necessary detail.

Do I need to complete my pre-recorded video interview in one sitting?

Whether candidates must complete their pre-recorded interview in one session can vary. Platforms differ; for instance, some, like Spark Hire, enable pausing and resuming. Others demand an uninterrupted session. Candidates should carefully read the guidelines given by the employer or the interviewing platform to grasp the specific requirements.

Best practice involves allocating ample time to complete the interview in one sitting. Should technical or unforeseen personal issues arise, informing the employer promptly is advisable. Proactive communication is a key aspect of pre-recorded interview tips.

What should I do if I need more time for my pre-recorded video interview?

If candidates require additional time to complete their pre-recorded video interview, they should contact the employer or the hiring manager as soon as possible.

It’s important to clearly articulate the need for a deadline extension and provide a valid reason for the request. Communication should be polite and respectful, ensuring the employer understands the candidate’s continued interest in the position.

A suggested new deadline should be reasonable, reflecting the candidate’s respect for the hiring process timelines. By showing flexibility in their schedules, they exhibit commitment and adaptability. Clear and timely communication is crucial for navigating this situation effectively.

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