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Your guide on how self paced interviews fit into these digital times

Your guide on how self paced interviews fit into these digital times

Artwork by: Nadiia Zhelieznova

  • What is a self paced interview?
  • Self paced interview: why are hiring manager’s using them? 
  • What you can learn about the job and company
  • Five tips for acing a self-paced interview
  • Key takeaways

Have you received an invitation to a self-paced interview and are wondering how to prepare for this one-way process? As hiring managers increasingly utilize technology to streamline the recruitment process, here is our guide to acing a self-paced interview!

While it may seem strange to sit in front of your laptop alone and talk to a recorded interviewer or prompt, the reality was that during the height of the pandemic we had no other option. Hiring managers were forced to get creative in the interviewing process and self-paced interviews provided a solution. But how do self paced interviews fit into these digital times?

Technology has become significantly more advanced and accessible in recent years across all aspects of our lives. In terms of the working environment, this has not only enabled remote working but also virtual hiring. If these approaches save us all time, money, and energy, it makes sense that they are being adopted by more and more companies.

So, what exactly is a self-paced interview, how do you approach this type of interview format and make sure you perform your best? Here is our go-to guide on self-paced interviews where we explore:

  • What is a self-paced interview?

  • Why are hiring managers using self-paced interviews?

  • How can you learn about the job opening and company in a one-way interview?

  • Five tips for acing a self-paced interview

Statistical Insight

According to Forbes, video technology is being used by at least 60% of hiring managers and recruiters. From a survey of 507 companies, 47% use video interviewing to speed up the hiring timeframe, and 22% would consider this option for candidates who don’t live locally.

What is a self paced interview?

Self-paced interviews (also known as “one-way” or “on-demand” interviews) assist employers with their initial screening process. The format typically comprises a selection of preselected interview questions that candidates answer by recording their responses on a virtual hiring platform using a PC, mobile device, or smartphone. 

In terms of timescales, self-paced interviews are usually five to 15 minutes long and often have time-restricted questions that you need to be mindful of. Many self-paced interviews offer the option to record and re-record answers to questions, but some may not allow the re-record option so it’s worth checking this before you start and factoring it into your preparation.

Expert Tip

The majority of self-paced interviews have time-restricted questions. Set a timer on your cell phone or computer so you can check you are on track and not running over your allotted time.

Self paced interview: why are hiring manager’s using them? 

Self-paced interviews offer some great benefits to both job applicants and recruiters, so they are becoming increasingly more popular across a wide range of industries. The reasons behind this include:

  • Hiring managers seeking to fill roles with high-volume applicants and requiring an in-depth screening process find the self-paced interview quicker and more cost-effective. 

  • Candidates looking to relocate for a job opportunity or those applying for remote work don’t have to travel a long distance to attend a preliminary interview.

  • Recruiters can tap into a new talent pool previously difficult to reach such as stay-at-home parents or one-parent families who may struggle to attend an in-person interview.

The flexible nature of self-paced video interviews means that you won’t miss out on a job opportunity as you can complete your interview when it fits into your schedule. Clearly, harnessing technology in the hiring process offers a win-win situation for everyone.

What you can learn about the job and company

While the interview is technically “one-way,” hiring managers and potential colleagues can still find ways to engage with you so you can decide if the role itself and the company are a good fit for you too. Recruiters can:

  • Create engaging videos or audio recordings where they pose interview questions

  • Include welcome videos at the start of the interview featuring the hiring manager or leadership team

  • Provide specific work scenarios so candidates understand what the potential job will involve

  • Apply impactful visuals to positively represent the company brand

Five tips for acing a self-paced interview

Understanding what a self-paced interview actually involves is one thing, ensuring you deliver a strong performance is another. If you have never done a self-paced interview before, don’t panic. Here are five top tips for acing your self-paced interview.

1. Self-paced interviews are typically a preliminary interview and last from approximately five to 15 minutes. Following instructions and adhering to specific time limits is important to show you can take direction. Keep your answers direct, succinct, and relevant while also trying to set yourself apart from the crowd.

2. Be mindful that portals and software used to record the interview won’t all be the same. You may be able to re-record responses on some platforms, but other portals/software might only give you one chance to answer the question. Usually a practice question is provided first so this will give you an indication of the format for the rest of the interview.

3. Practice your responses. Practice talking to the camera and being as natural as possible. Speak slowly and clearly, while looking into the camera as if you are talking directly to the interviewer. 

4. Select a perfect recording space. Find a quiet place with great lighting and a clean-looking background. Avoid poor lighting due to windows as well as background noise or a messy spare room as these will all be distracting to the prospective employer and could present you as unprofessional.

5. Ensure you wear appropriate interview clothing. Treat this interview as you would an in-person interview and dress smartly to show you are taking the process seriously.



Use your typical speaking voice as this will help your video sound authentic. While it’s great to be energetic and upbeat, this tends to make voice pitches go higher which does not sound natural or genuine.

Wear interview clothing that clashes or blends into your background. Solid, neutral colors work best. Take a test run to make sure you don’t give the hiring manager a migraine or look like a floating head!

Key takeaways

  1. Self- paced interviews offer a great option for recruiters who benefit from a speedier and cost-effective interview process and candidates who get the convenience of a flexible, home-based interview.

  2. Preparation is key, so take time to get ready for the interview. Practice responses to interview questions and complete a test run to build your confidence and check that your video looks on-point.

  3. Video interviews are the future. This model is totally new to many people, and it’s normal to feel awkward at first. Using our guide to self-paced interviews will help you successfully navigate this process with ease.

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