Articles From the Team
How to prepare for an online interview
The new era of virtual interviews is now in full swing, but for those of us who are new to this concept, it’s hard to know how, or indeed what to prepare when you’re asked by a prospective employer to interview online.
This new way of interviewing could be here to stay for a long time, so in acknowledgement of this, I’ve put together my top tips and things to consider when preparing for this potentially new interview experience.
First and foremost, make sure you’re in a good setting. Whether that’s a home office, your dining room or kitchen table, or outside in your garden/conservatory – make sure it is quiet, the interview connection and phone signal is good, and the lighting in the room is at a good level.
If you have any children or pets at home, make sure that you have confirmed sitting plans in place for them for the duration of the interview. There’s nothing worse than having an unreliable connection that causes the screen to freeze, looking like you’re sat in darkness, or having your dog barking loudly in the background for 20 minutes!
Regardless of it being a virtual interview, first impressions really do count. On this note, my advice would be to dress as you would do for an in-person interview. Top tip - just in case you need to stand up during the interview whilst the camera is live, I would also recommend wearing a formal trouser or skirt (rather than your WFH joggers – as comfy as they may be!).
Research the usual way
Will the actual interview be any different? Most likely not. The interview should (with most firms) be structured the usual way with usual interview questions, whether it’s face to face or virtual, so go about research how you would normally. Research the team, the firm, the job and the interviewers the same way you would if you were going to the interview in-person. In fact, in a virtual interview you have a slight upper hand of having your notes to hand! Use this to your advantage.
Familiarise yourself with the technology
The new virtual interview era has introduced us all to technology that we may not have used before – Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, WebEx to name a few, so it’s worthwhile familiarising yourself with the most common ones. You don’t want it to come to the day of your interview and you still don’t have the app downloaded, or haven’t the foggiest how to use it. If your interview is through a recruiter, make sure they've given you all of the relevant virtual tech information well in advance of your interview date.
Have notes to hand
Following on from the point mentioned earlier, re researching for your interview in the usual fashion - having notes to hand is a great advantage that probably doesn’t arise with interviewing in-person very often, so make sure that these are clearly laid out for you to reference.
It’s also a great idea to have your CV printed out in front of you, to allow you to confidently talk through your work history – as we well know, the most common request in an interview is “…so talk me through your CV”. To prep even further, it’s worthwhile jotting notes next to key cases, skills and experience that you may get asked about.
To take this one step further, you may also want to note some questions that you’d like to ask, that may ordinarily get forgotten when it comes to this point in an in-person meeting.
I hope you found this guide useful. BCL Legal send out a full candidate video interview guide to all of our candidates due to interview virtually with our clients. If you’d also like a copy of this, please get in touch with me.