What Is A Self Paced Interview?

What-Is-A-Self-Paced-Interview

In today’s modern world, employers are finding more and more ways to carry out their recruitment processes. The different options allow a great deal of flexibility and offer the opportunity to assess a higher number of candidates in a shorter time.

The methods used will depend on the individual needs of each company – what works for one company won’t necessarily work for another, and the same goes for traditional hiring practices. 

One such technique that has emerged in recent years is the self paced interview. This is essentially a video that the candidate records of themselves answering a set of questions.

There will usually be a time limit for each question or for the whole thing, so you should get a good idea of how much they are expecting. You may have heard of digital interviews, on-demand or one-way interviews, which are different names for the same fundamental idea. 

Once you’ve recorded your interview, the hiring manager will review it in their own time. They can assess videos one at a time or in groups, depending on their preference.

This element allows both candidates and employers to fit the interviewing around their schedule, so they’re not restricted by rigid appointments.

Seeing the questions will give the employer a good idea of whether or not each candidate would be a good fit for the job and if their application should progress to the next stage.

Who Uses Self Paced Interviews?

Self paced interviews can be customized to fit the particular company and the job role they’re advertising, which means all sorts of businesses are now using them as part of their hiring process.

You could be expected to do one for any job you go for these days, but they will be especially common with highly competitive roles that require an in-depth screening process. 

Job posts that are opened up to candidates living far away from the company headquarters are likely to use self paced interviews, so that these candidates don’t have to travel a long distance for around half an hour of contact time.

They are usually also chosen by employers advertising remote roles, as it means that applicants don’t have to visit the company in person at all.

Pros And Cons Of Self Paced Interviews

Self paced interviews are neither better or worse than traditional interviews in an absolute sense. Check out our pros and cons list to learn about the potential advantages and disadvantages of them.

Pros

  • Candidates can complete the interview at a time that is convenient for them
  • Candidates are given all the questions ahead of time, so that they can prepare appropriately
  • Employers don’t have to use up valuable resources and company time accommodating in-person interviews for the first round; it is an effective way to pre-screen candidates
  • A self paced interview is a great solution for neurodiverse candidates, as they know what the questions are and won’t be caught off-guard by anything unexpected. It also means they don’t have to force themselves to keep eye contact or navigate confusing social rules during their interview
  • All candidates are asked the same questions, which means they each get the same chance to show off their skills
  • Candidates can save money and time that they would otherwise have spent on travelling to the workplace

Cons

  • Some people struggle with talking to a camera and not having an actual human to look at
  • Candidates may be tempted to memorize all their answers, which will make them sound too rehearsed and robotic
  • There is no scope for asking unprepared questions, which would help the employer assess how candidates react under pressure
  • Candidates are required to have access to suitable technology that will allow them to record high quality footage

Tips For Acing A Self Paced Interview

So, you know what a self paced interview involves, but how do you make sure you perform your best?

This can be especially tricky for candidates who have never come across this interview style before, and are used to more traditional routes. Here are our best tips that can help you come across in the best way possible:

  • Remember that this is an early stage in the application process, and you only have a limited amount of time to say what you want to say. The employer will be looking for reasons to shortlist you, so do briefly mention things that might set you apart, but don’t get carried away with all the details at this point. If they invite you back for a face-to-face interview, they may ask you to elaborate on them further.
  • Even though it’s a recorded video rather than a live one, you will still probably get only one chance to answer. You will be using some kind of portal or software that has been specially designed for this purpose, but it isn’t a case of one size fits all. If you’re given a practice question to familiarize yourself with the format, use this as it will give you an idea of how the interview will go.
  • Try to focus on looking straight into the camera. If you’re not used to doing video interviews or even video calls, the image of your face on the screen can be distracting – you may get sidetracked by a hair that’s out of place and forget what you were going to say. It is a natural reaction, but try and avoid it where possible. You don’t have to keep constant eye contact with the camera, though, and it’s perfectly fine to look away briefly while thinking.
  • Make sure you’re wearing an appropriate interview outfit. You may not be meeting your interviewers in person, but you should still respect the occasion and show them that you’re taking it seriously. Dress as smartly as you would for any other interview, and don’t be tempted to slack on your bottom half, as this could become distracting and take you out of the zone.

Conclusion

Self paced interviews offer a different approach to the hiring process for employers who want to save time and resources in this area. They can also be better for the candidates, who don’t need to travel in person to meet the interviewers.

Many job seekers will feel more comfortable being able to answer questions in their own home, where they can just concentrate on showing the best side of themselves. 

It is still important to prepare properly, though, a self paced interview is not something that you can treat lightly, as the interviewers will be able to see right through you.

Read our tips to learn how you should tackle it, and don’t be afraid to ask for further information from the company if you’re still unsure, as they will want to help you do the best you can.

Jamie Willis