How To Be Successful In Virtual Interviews!

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

The legal field was firstly struck by technology requiring it to change from a brick and mortar structure to an innovative hub willing to constantly change. But then came a pandemic which, with its impacts on health and daily working lives, pushed law firms to revolutionise and become integrated with technology.

What has changed?

Remember the training contract applications: first the online form then the face to face interview with the HR department. Well that is no longer the case as virtual interviews have taken the spotlight.

The thought of virtual interviews can be daunting due to the fear of the unknown. How can I do well from the comfort of my house? How can I impress someone through a blank screen? Well this article will take you through 5 steps to successfully impress a law firm.

1. Setting up for the interview

Before you embark on the interview and enter that virtual room there are a few steps you will need to take to prepare the environment. Wearing a smart suit will not be enough to look presentable.

Firstly, ensure that your background is as blank and neutral as possible. Consider having just your wall with no pictures, items or any distracting materials as you want the interviewer to focus only on you.

We are all human beings and distractions and noises will be inevitable, however there are ways to reduce the noise to the minimal. Consider wearing headphones as this will dilute any background noise and will increase the clarity of your work.

2. Presentability

During a webinar with a top law firm, the recruiter stated a few tricks to make you look more presentable. He advised to use the natural light by facing the window or if you want to be a little fancier (like myself) consider buying a light such as selfie ring light to brighten your features and presentability.

Another trick to appear better is to ensure you position your laptop correctly. Use a box or book, one of the huge equity books dusting away on your shelf, to make the laptop eye level. It is important that the camera does not face upwards or downwards, it should be eye level to enable you to look straight into the camera.

3. Setting up the technology

Before the interview starts, a couple hours before, it will be ideal to download any software you need and practise the interview by calling a friend or a family member to test the audio, video and the position of the camera.

A tip for those who are worried about their internet connection would be to wire the internet connection as this will increase your stability and will reduce the chances of your internet crashing.

4. The interview phase

It is important to remember to treat the virtual interview as if it were face-to-face. Dress to impress like you would to a normal interview, do not sit in your shorts thinking no one can see. I have heard of nightmares where people spilled coffee over themselves and jumped up to expose their funky bottom half.

Further, if you are wearing the full kit including your shoes it will really lift your confidence as well as your spirit to ace that interview.

If you’re nervous and afraid of forgetting what you were planning to say, you can stick post it notes around your laptop screen. However, ensure they are just buzz words and not lengthy scripted answers as this will be obvious and distract you from the actual question.

5. How to stand out in a virtual interview

One important thing to remember is that the interviewer is also human, so greet them with a smile and a soft expression as soon as you join the interview. First impressions last forever they say so ensure to be engaging, look at the camera not yourself, and treat it like a conversation: hi, how are you, hope everything is okay.

Do not forget that the interviewer wants to see who you are as a person, your personality and commitment. It is always important to ensure you are communicating with the interviewer through your body language, nod when they are speaking, smile and really focus on the interviewer and not your surroundings.

You should always be prepared to introduce yourself and ask question, treat it like you are out having a coffee with a partner. Ensure to build a rapport with the interviewer, you need to understand that they have many interviews and will only remember you if you have made an impact.

One amazing tip that was given to me was that you are only assessed on what you say, not what you do not say. Therefore, do not be threatened by what someone else says or by the strength of your answer. It is always important to state what you think.

So how do you succeed? Just be yourself, that is all it takes.

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