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A recruiter’s guide to pre-recorded video interviews

It was during the Covid-19 health crisis that live video interviewing became particularly popular as a “next-best” option. A few years on, video interviews are increasingly being used in a pre-recorded format, and have even taken on a pivotal role for recruiters, who save time and increase efficiency in the recruiting process as a result. Let’s take a deep dive into how recruiters are using pre-recorded video interviews and how this innovative approach affects candidate experience, flexibility and screening time.
A recruiter’s guide to pre-recorded video interviews

What is a pre-recorded video interview?

A pre-recorded video interview is a more flexible job interview option for both recruiters and candidates. Interview questions (usually between three and five) are drafted by recruiters in advance, either for a specific candidate or for all candidates applying for the same position. Then, with the help of a process automation tool, candidates answer the questions at a time of their choosing. When the recruiter automatically receives the interview video, they can view it when it suits them best.

The aim of this new format is to help recruiters save time, including:

  • Spending less time setting up application pre-screening and screening interviews: There are no interview appointments to schedule in neither the recruiter’s nor the candidate’s calendar.
  • Spending less time actually interviewing: The average 30-minute face-to-face (in-person or live video call) interview turns into a mere 3-minute viewing session with pre-recorded video interviews.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Introducing this innovative soft skills- and personality-centric recruiting step will also boost your company’s image.

How should pre-recorded video interviewing be used and by whom?

The first thing you need to be aware of is that pre-recorded video interviews are not a plausible substitute for an in-depth discussion between a recruiter and a candidate. They’re great for supplementing or replacing pre-screening or screening interview phases.

They’re also particularly useful for recruiters in need of a quick and easy method to identify which candidates to take through to the role-specific interview.

To what extent does video interviewing address all recruiting challenges?

If you relate to one of the situations described ahead, then pre-recorded video interviewing could relieve your workload.

Table 1
Purpose Step in recruitment process Use
The company receives far too many applications for certain positions and my recruiting team doesn’t have time to consider all of them. Pre-screening candidates First step after a candidate submits an application

Video interviews can be a gateway into the recruiting process. Candidates receive an automated invitation to record a video interview the moment they submit their application.

This acts as a preliminary filter for only reaching candidates who are truly motivated.

My recruiters can’t afford to spend 30 minutes pre-screening each and every potentially interesting application. Pre-selecting candidates Second step, i.e. after resume pre-screening phase

Video interviews can be introduced once recruiters have completed a first round of resume screening.

The most relevant candidates are invited to submit a pre-recorded video interview, which replaces what would usually be the first telephone interview phase.

My recruiting team are having a hard time getting hiring managers on board and choosing the right person out of the top applicants for a position. Assessing personality and selecting the right candidate among those shortlisted End of the recruiting process

When the recruiter and candidate meet face to face, the recruiter can invite the candidate to pursue the next step of the process in the form of a pre-recorded video interview.

Thanks to the candidate’s video, the recruiter can go beyond their discussion of the candidate’s resume and assess their personality or, for example, assess consistency with the company’s values and culture.

The video can also be passed on to the hiring manager and the candidate’s potential future team.

Find out more: Sports brand Courir banks on pre-recorded video interviewing to tackle application overloads

How do pre-recorded video interviews work?

Pre-recorded video interviewing is facilitated through a tool that centralises all related tasks in one place: drafting question sheets (manually or with standard questions), email sending (manual or automated, depending on defined rules), video saving, video viewing, etc. Not only highly useful, these tools are also easy to use for recruiters and candidates alike.

👉 Would you like to benefit from a re-recorded video interviewing tool adapted to your needs? Discover our pre-recorded video interview tool

If you choose to incorporate pre-recorded video interviewing into your recruiting process, these are the four main stages to follow.

Stage 1: Designing the video interview and drafting interview questions

The recruiter drafts questions and chooses a response format (video, audio, text) that best fits their recruiting needs.

For each question, the recruiter then sets a specific amount of time for each answer and specifies whether the candidate is allowed to practise and if so, how many tries they get before submitting the interview.

The recruiter can by all means also prepare content that provides an overview of the company. This might be a video of the company’s CEO addressing candidates, for instance.

Stage 2: Inviting candidates and recording responses

Candidates receive a personalised invitation email, either automatically as soon as they submit their application, or at any other stage in the process. It’s up to the recruiter to decide.

When the candidate receives the email, they click on the link provided, which then prompts them to select a recording device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.). The candidate reads the instructions and advice for recording, and answers the set questions.

Stage 3: Assessing the video

The recruiter receives a notification whenever a video interview is submitted.

From that moment on, the recruiter can:

  • View the video
  • Read any written answers
  • Assess and rate the candidate on specific criteria
  • Leave comments about the candidate
  • Contact the candidate

Stage 4 (optional): Sending the video to other stakeholders (hiring managers, team members, etc.)

The recruiter can share the most relevant candidate videos with other people involved in the recruitment process.

All stakeholders can then discuss the application and make a group decision regarding which profiles should move on to the next step.

👉 Find out how to set up pre-recorded video interviews easily: request a demo!

How different is pre-recorded video interviewing from conventional interviewing?

There are several differences between the two approaches. Let’s explore.

Different purposes

The first difference between a standard interview and a pre-recorded video interview lies in the purpose the interview serves. As mentioned earlier on, pre-recorded video interviews are extremely useful at pre-screening and screening stage. If you need to communicate directly with your candidate, pre-recorded interviewing won’t help. But if you want to avoid wasting precious time during the screening phases, introducing pre-recorded video interviewing is a smart move.

Recruiter and candidate freedom

Conventional interviews already differ from live video interviews in that with the former, the candidate is expected to make their way to company premises or another location. As the number of passive candidates is increasing and recruiting difficulties are intensifying, why not offer candidates more freedom by offering them the possibility of undertaking interviews remotely? Some recruitment processes can be incredibly lengthy (3 interviews – if not more!), so it makes sense to require that candidates come to you only if it’s absolutely necessary. Especially seeing as these passive candidates are already employed.

Pre-recorded video interviewing caters for this flexibility, with an added bonus: no travelling AND no strict schedule. This also means any potential transport and accommodation costs incurred are kept to a minimum.

Ability to “relive” interviews

While face-to-face and/or live interviews arguably make interacting easier, note-taking is indispensable (unless the interview is recorded in some way or another, but this is not common practice). Recruiters must therefore pay extra special attention to multitask the following: ask the right questions, dig deeper into candidate answers, listen, and also take notes to make sure they have all the necessary info for making a decision on whether to take the candidate to the next step or not.

By default, these video interviews are recorded with the candidate’s consent and can be viewed several times by the recruiter, but also by the team who is looking to recruit their new team member. Repeat viewing makes it a lot easier to analyse the profile of the candidate, whether alone or as a group effort.

A different kind of stress for candidates

Job interviews – live or recorded – bring with them their fair share of pressure. Candidates often experience feelings of stress in the run-up to a face-to-face interview, not only in relation to the questions that may be asked and answers they’ll give, but also about arriving on time, what to wear, adopting a good posture, etc. Although recording a video interview can also be stressful, the fact that the process provides advice on how to successfully record the video can help relieve stress. A little pedagogy goes a long way!

Pre-recorded video interviewing requires a dedicated tool

The last difference is tech-related. Whereas in-person interviews don’t require any specific tools, live video interviews are often conducted via Skype, Zoom, etc. As for pre-recorded video interviews, if your aim is to speed things up for recruiters and candidates, you’ll definitely need a software solution. Not only do dedicated solutions take care of the recording aspects, they also provide all the necessary technology for automating the entire process, from emails to invitations, to sharing videos, and more.

👉 Would you like to benefit from a re-recorded video interviewing tool adapted to your needs? Discover our pre-recorded video interview tool

Good to know: Pre-recorded video interviewing tools are far simpler than conventional video call tools, which often require the installation of third-party systems, including on candidate devices. All it takes with pre-recorded interviewing is a link sent to the candidate via email, which they can open without having to download anything.

Advantages of pre-recorded video interviews for your recruiting

Improving employer brand

Introducing pre-recorded video interviews into your recruiting operations can have a positive impact on your employer brand image. Not only does this new approach point to your efforts to improve your recruitment process, it also shows that you’re investing in tools to select candidates based on increasingly important criteria: soft skills and personality.

The technology is innovative yet easy to use and you won’t risk losing your candidates because of complex and time-consuming tasks.

Adopting pre-recorded video interviewing is also an excellent way of showing candidates who you are and convincing them that they’re making the right choice by applying for a position within your company.

Find out more: 4 benefits of pre-recorded video interviews for employer brand

Increased focus on candidate experience

As mentioned previously, pre-recorded video interviews offer candidates a great deal of freedom: they can stay at home and decide to answer interview questions when they have time and when they’re ready, without having to attend a fixed interview slot.

This perfectly meets current candidate aspirations to engage in quick and easy recruitment process, especially considering that beyond 3 weeks, candidates deem the recruiting process to be too long.* By spending less time on the screening phase thanks to pre-recorded videos instead of conducting conventional interviews, recruiters are in a much better position to get back to their candidates quicker with an answer to let them know if they’ve been selected for the next step or not.

Leveraging pre-recorded video interviewing will also allow you to prove to your candidates that they’re not just any candidates. Indeed, the whole process can be tailored to them: their name appears in the invitation email they receive, interview questions are tailored to their profile and the position they’re applying for, etc. If you’re hiring internationally, there are pre-recorded video interview tools on the market that are available in different languages to help you take the personalisation factor even further.

*Source: Meteojob, 2022

Lighter workload for recruiters

Pre-recorded video interviews carry 4 main benefits that make life easier for recruiters.

  1. Time saver: Recruiters can view 4 or 5 pre-recorded videos in the amount of time they would otherwise spend interviewing one single candidate, thus saving precious time on the pre-screening phase. Good to know: You can configure a maximum duration for each answer, to make sure the video doesn’t exceed the duration you’d like it to last.
  2. Quicker time-to-hire: Saving time on the pre-screening or screening phase means you can provide candidates with feedback (positive or negative) more quickly, and you’ll have more time to spend on the steps that can’t be automated, i.e. in-depth interviews, tests, case study exercises, etc.
  3. Preliminary filter for motivation: Although recording a video interview is a relatively simple process, candidates still need to invest time preparing. So if they go ahead with it, then they’re keen on joining your company and aren’t just sending in an application for the fun of it. This means you won’t waste your time considering candidates who aren’t serious about the process.
  4. Collaborative recruiting: Unlike in-person interviews (or even over-the-phone or video-call interviews), seeing as pre-recorded video interviews are, by definition, recorded, it becomes incredibly easy to share a video and discuss talent with one or several members of the team seeking to hire a new employee. This is a great opportunity for improving communication with hiring managers.

Find out more: How pre-recorded video interviews facilitate collaborative recruitment

Recruiting work-study students using pre-recorded video interviews

Pre-recorded video interviewing can also be useful in specific situations and for specific audiences.

For example, young professionals and students are particularly suited to the pre-recorded video interview hiring approach. When you meet young professionals at a job fair or other employment event, consider inviting them to record a video interview and submit answers to a series of questions based on their profile type.

Facilitating this precursory interview is a great way of keeping a tab on the profiles you might be interested in the coming years, either to take them on as work-study students or first-timers. Their pre-recorded video interviews will allow you to constitute comprehensive quality candidate pools for years to come.

Internal mobility and pre-recorded video interviews: a match made in heaven

On the subject of young audiences, it is worth noting that some academic institutions use pre-recorded video interviews to conduct certain exams for assessing student progress. And if universities and the like are using this approach internally, so can companies!

It can be particularly relevant for cases of internal mobility. If you’re opening up a vacancy for company employees, you can of course conduct standard interviews, but leveraging pre-recorded video interviewing can also be a way of removing any biases that may arise from your prior knowledge of the people who’ll be applying. This means all candidates get treated in the same way.

Best practices for setting up pre-recorded video interviewing

Draw up a list of questions that encompass your needs

Adopting a specific tool for pre-recorded video interviews will unburden you of much of your workload as a recruiter. Emails get sent automatically, videos are available for download, videos can be shared at the click of a button, and the list goes on.

Your role will mainly be to think up the questions to ask your candidates. To succeed in this task, you must create a corpus of questions which you can use without having to come up with new questions every time a new vacancy is posted. You can of course design a very specific questionnaire if you like, but we recommend to work with some general questions as early as possible as it provides a solid basis for the rest of the process.

Some pre-recorded video interviewing tools offer libraries of set questions to use as templates or for inspiration. If you want to use your own questions, here are a few tips.

  1. Make sure your questions are short and concise: Your candidate won’t have the opportunity to ask for clarification before providing an answer. Make your questions easily understandable and unambiguous. Doing this will ensure the answers you receive are on point and useful for your assessment.
  2. Ask open questions: Although this may seem obvious, drafting questions isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds. If candidates can provide a simple yes or no answer, then the question isn’t open enough and you risk not getting much information out of them. One way around this is to draft your question in two parts: a closed question with a request to go into more detail. For example: “Do you enjoy team work? Explain why by providing an example.”
  3. Limit the number of questions and include different types of questions: We advise recruiters to include a maximum of 3 to 5 questions for a pre-recorded video interview. Don’t overload your candidates or you’ll risk putting them off. The aim of these interviews is to gain a better understanding of your candidates with the help of a few well-targeted questions. To succeed in doing this, make sure your questions are as varied as possible. For example, include a question to assess personality, a question for experience, another for skills, and a last question to get the candidate to address a key aspect of the job description.
  4. Turn your questions into a narrative: Creating your questionnaire is important to get a better idea of who your candidate is and their suitability for the position you’re looking to fill. That said, your questions also reflect part of who you are as a company! Showcase your sense of structure by starting with simple questions to break the ice and then progress towards the more complex questions. Provide context for your questions by explaining why a particular topic is so important for your company. In short: As your candidates read and answer your questions, they too will get a feel for whether they have what it takes to fit your bill and, conversely, whether you can meet their expectations.
  5. Ask a question that tests the candidate’s skills: Pre-recorded video interviews can be a great way of testing one or two skills with questions that put the candidate in real-life professional situations. For example, you can assess someone’s level of Spanish by asking a question in Spanish and requiring the candidate’s answer be provided in Spanish. You can also present the candidate with a given scenario and ask the candidate how they would deal with the situation.

Good to know: For each question, don’t forget to mention whether the candidate is allowed to prepare their answer and how much time (set amount or unlimited) they’re allowed. You can very well allow preparation time for some questions – those for which you’d like to assess the candidate’s thinking skills – and not others.

Find out more: How to choose the right pre-recorded video interview tool?

Answering candidate concerns and offering advice

Any interview is sure to foster feelings of apprehension for any candidate. This is no different with pre-recorded video interviews, but it is easy to provide some reassurance to your applicants with a sprinkle of pedagogy.

For example, you can add a step explaining how the pre-recorded video interview will take place, and only then provide access to the interview questions. In this preliminary step, you can choose to present your company, explain why your company decided to set up pre-recorded video interviewing, what is expected of candidates, and how the process will unfold.

Some pre-recorded interviewing tools provide FAQs that address candidate concerns, including in relation to technical aspects. It’s up to you to explain the purpose of this interview stage to make candidates feel as comfortable as possible.

The good news is, you only need to do this once. All of your candidates will have access to these questions and you won’t need to repeat the process every time you open a new vacancy.

Choosing the right pre-recorded video interviewing tool

It goes without saying that pre-recorded video interviewing comes with its share of advantages and can really help recruiters in some steps of the recruiting process. So the question is: How to choose the best pre-recorded video interviewing tool? How can you be sure it will make things easier for you and that you will get long-term use out of it?

There are many factors to consider. Here are four aspects to bear in mind:

  1. The solution you choose must allow you to customise your interviews (colours, logos, extra content, choice of questions, email sending, etc.) to make your brand visible.
  2. The tool must be able to integrate with your ATS to ensure data centralisation.
  3. It must offer a technical support service to solve any issues and bugs you run into and not leave you stranded to figure it out on your own.
  4. The solution must comply with confidentiality and data protection standards, including GDPR requirements.

We recommend that you list all of the features that you and your team need. This way, you’ll know what to look out for when choosing a pre-recorded video interview solution so you can make the most of it with the best ease of use.

👉 Would you like to benefit from a re-recorded video interviewing tool adapted to your needs? Discover our pre-recorded video interview tool

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