29/8/2017 by Katherine Memery
With more and more law firms now open to remote working, it’s no surprise that many are also incorporating technology in their recruitment processes. Increasingly, video interviewing is being used by forward-thinking employers to assess candidates.
Interviewing remotely is beneficial for a number of reasons. Not only do firms get a sense of what an applicant is like before deciding to interview them in person, but it can be useful if the candidate lives abroad or if or hirers are struggling with schedule constraints.
There a few different formats a video interview may take:
A live video call via Skype or FaceTime
This is the most straightforward kind of video interview; more formal than a phone interview but more relaxed than a face-to-face meeting
A series of automated questions provided using third-party software
This format is particularly popular with firms recruiting for their vacation schemes or in the early stages of screening training contract applicants. You’re given a set amount of time to think about and record your answers which are then sent to the recruiter.
You might be asked to create a video profile, in order to introduce yourself, explain your experience, strengths and weaknesses. In the video, you’ll be expected to explain why you’re interested in the role at hand and what you’re looking for from your next law firm. While this might sound daunting, don’t panic; your Realm consultant will be on hand to answer any questions you have to help you tailor your video to the firm you’re applying to.
Even if you haven’t got a video interview lined up, it’s highly likely you’ll have one in the future. Our guide below will help to make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Do your research
Like you would for any other interview, it’s essential that you thoroughly research the firm you’re interviewing with and the role at hand. Reflect on your relevant experience, your strengths and weaknesses and what you can bring to the role at hand. For more information on interview preparation, check out our earlier blog, here.
Test your technology
To avoid any embarrassing technical issues, make sure your camera and microphone are working beforehand. If you’re using your phone or tablet to complete the interview, check that they are sufficiently charged and that you’re connected to a reliable internet connection.
Prepare your environment
While employers and recruiters don’t mind too much where you complete your interview, they don’t want to see your messy bedroom or your partner/children/dog in the background. Tidy up and make sure that you’re somewhere quiet where you won’t be interrupted. Position yourself at a table against a plain, neutral background.
Elevate your camera and check the lighting in the room
When it comes to setting up your camera, it should be just above your eye line. Elevate your laptop or tablet to avoid starting down into the camera. Practise sitting in front of it and adjust your lighting to make sure that the interviewer will be able to see you clearly. Natural light is best, so sit next to a window if possible.
While the interview might be taking place in your bedroom, it’s still important that you dress the part. Make the same effort as you would if you were meeting the interviewer face to face. Not only will this ensure that you come across as professional, dressing smartly will also help to get you in the right frame of mind and will improve your performance.
Close other tabs or applications and silence your phone
No prospective employer wants to see those trainers you've been lusting after or what you've been listening to on Spotify. Make sure you close all other tabs or applications you've got open on your laptop and turn your phone to silent or 'do not disturb'.
Once you’ve got a handle on the kinds of questions you might be asked, practise saying your answers out loud. Rehearse in front of the mirror or pre-record yourself on your phone or laptop. Practise looking into the camera and focus on speaking clearly and at a measured pace.
If you’ll be taking part in the pre-recorded answer format, make sure that your answers fit into the one-minute timeframe, without you speaking too quickly. Watch yourself back and think about how you can do better. Keep practising until you feel ready to start the real interview.
Use post-its as prompts
If you think it will be helpful, write helpful prompts or questions for the interviewer on post-it notes and attach these to the screen of your laptop.
Make sure you have the essentials
Pour yourself a glass of water and make sure you have a pen and notepad to hand in case you want to note anything down during the interview. It's also useful to have the phone number of the interviewer in case the connection is lost.
During the interview
Think about your body language
The way in which you hold yourself during the interview is also important. Sit upright in your chair, don’t slouch and try not to fidget.
Make and maintain eye contact by looking directly into the camera. Stay focused and try not to look at yourself in the corner of the screen as this can be distracting for the viewer.
Have a copy of your CV to hand
Like most face-to-face interviews, the interviewee will likely go through your past experience with you and ask you questions based on the contents of your CV. Unlike in a conventional interview setting, in a video interview you can have your CV next to you to refer to if you need it.
Use the preparation time wisely
If you’re pre-recording your responses, you’ll be given a short amount of time to prepare your answer beforehand. Have a pen and paper to hand and note down any key points you want to touch upon in your answer.
If you’re speaking to an interviewer via video call, you might also want to jot down some keywords beforehand. These points might help jog your memory during the call, however, it’s important that you keep these discreetly out of view and don’t depend on these too much.
There’s a danger that having a ‘cheat sheet’ in front you could stop you from coming across candidly; if you think doing so might hinder rather than help your performance, don’t bother with one.
When it comes to answering the questions, be yourself and give your responses with enthusiasm. Structure your answers logically as you would in an ordinary interview and demonstrate your interest in the law firm and role at hand. Explain what you have to offer by communicating your competence, experience and, crucially, your personality.
Ready for a change? Start your legal job search with Realm
If you’re set on a change of direction, the legal recruitment experts at Realm are here to help. Check out our latest vacancies or get in touch to find out how we can help you make that next exciting move. Call us today on 03300 245 606 or email email@example.com