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How to succeed at a video interview for that perfect legal job

Use a laptop or computer with a webcam, log in to the designated platform, and answer the questions you are given

The ever-increasing emphasis on efficiency has made law firms turn to less traditional recruitment methods in recent years; as a result, lawyers have turned to technology to provide a low-cost method of ensuring that they will employ the best of the next set of trainees and vacation schemers.

Having sent off your application, do not be surprised if you receive a link via email to take part in a video interview, which you will be asked to complete within a certain time.

This is not a face-to-face interview and you will not see another person; instead, there will be a series of answers to read on the screen, to which you will give a timed verbal response.

As with all interviews, it can be a little nerve-racking and in this case slightly surreal to be sitting in your bedroom answering serious legal questions; however, there are some tips to ensure that you are as prepared as possible to pull off your interview:

1) Make your background neutral

Whilst you may have to record the interview in your bedroom to ensure you have privacy and quiet, make sure that the background you present is clean, tidy, and as neutral as possible. If you have a white wall to pose in front of, this would be ideal. Don’t lie on your bed, and make sure there are no pictures or posters with dubious slogans or pictures on them in sight.

2) Dress up

Dress appropriately to the extent that you can be seen. You may wish to keep your slippers on, and can do so if you wish, but ensure that what can be seen makes it look as though you are attending a real face-to-face interview, which means business attire and neat hair. You may find that doing so will put you in the right frame of mind for answering professionally, much like an actor putting on his costume!

3) Practice, practice, practice

Before you start the interview, make sure your webcam is working properly. You could write a few questions down and record yourself answering them, or ask a friend to ask you some questions so that you can practice answering with limited thinking time. Preparation is the key to calming nerves.

4) Ensure you have a pen ready

It is a good idea to write down any thoughts on how to answer a complicated question in your thinking time, and to use these notes when you are giving your answer. This will help you to avoid any uneasy silences if you forget a point, or even forget the question!

5) Don’t fake it

You will not get very far if you act differently, which is likely to appear strange when the recruiters watch the interview. Act naturally and demonstrate your energy and enthusiasm for the legal industry when you are answering the questions. A bored-looking student who delivers an intellectually correct answer is less likely to succeed than an enthusiastic student who makes a small mistake.

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