Back to overview

The Oracle

Tips for video interviews as law responds to coronavirus

updated on 24 March 2020

Dear Oracle

I have seen that law firms are moving recruitment online due to coronavirus social distancing measures. Do you have any advice for a successful video interview or live-streamed assessment centre?

The Oracle replies

Coronavirus is forcing firms to think creatively about their recruitment processes. You’re right that many employers are planning video interviews and online assessments in lieu of traditional face-to-face work placements and assessment centres. The details of such plans are still being worked out in many cases, but we can give you plenty of relevant advice to help you prepare, whatever the set-up at the firm you are applying to.

Here are LawCareers.Net’s top tips for video interviews and online assessments:

  1. Prepare a tidy space for your video interview

It sounds obvious, but don’t let anything in the background distract your interviewers – move that drying rack with the old pants hanging limply into shot away from your webcam! If possible, have your interview in front of a neutral background in a bright, well-lit room.

  1. Set up your computer in advance

Make sure your internet connection, speakers and camera are working 90 minutes before the interview is due to start. Set up the computer so the camera is slightly above your eyeline if possible – avoid a low shot that will have recruiters peering up at the contents of your nostrils, or a close-up that looks like a NASA moon survey. Ideally, position the camera so that most of your upper torso is in shot. Test how the background and lighting look on camera, so you have time to change your set-up if necessary. Close any other open applications on your computer.

  1. Get housemates and pets out of the room

Recruiters will view your housemate or dog barging into shot or making distracting noises off-camera as unprofessional. Let other people know when your interview will take place and that you need to have a room undisturbed for a set amount of time. If your pet is unable to understand – or refuses to acknowledge – this heads-up, ensconce them safely in another part of the house. If your fish refuses to heed your words, they must still stay in their tank – they have won this round.

  1. Silence your phone and household appliances

You don’t want an alarm to go off or someone to call you during the interview. Similarly, if you have a washing machine or dishwasher that plays a charming ditty when it completes a cycle, make sure this cannot be heard from the room you are going to use, or – even better – ensure that it is switched off.

  1. Wear business dress

Dress exactly as you would for a formal interview. That includes lower body – it’s unlikely that you will need to move during the interview, but if you do, the decision to wear tracksuit bottoms will have backfired.