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5 Best Practices to Keep in Mind for Virtual Attorney Interviews

5 Best Practices to Keep in Mind for Virtual Attorney Interviews

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, companies have now largely moved to virtual interviews to evaluate candidates — and this is true of the legal industry, too.  Virtual attorney interviews are largely the same as in-person interviews, but the “virtual” nature of these interviews means that there’s a number of additional considerations that you’ll want to keep in mind so as to leave them with a good impression.

Here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, our legal recruiters have decades of experience working with attorney-candidates to prepare for the interview process, helping them with mock interviews and instilling “best practices” for the interview itself.

Here are five best practices to keep in mind for your virtual interview.

Do a Test Run with the Software

Make sure to do a test run of the video call software that you’re going to be using for the virtual interview: Zoom, Facetime, Google Chat, Skype, etc.  Settings for each set of software can vary significantly — from lighting to sound — so it’s best to resolve any potential issues before they crop up in the interview.  Play with the settings, and possibly call a friend for a test call just to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

Dress Professionally

Virtual interviews may seem informal, but it’s best that you treat them as though they are formal.  Dress professionally — wear whatever you would normally wear to an in-person interview.  This will give your interviewers a positive first impression.

Ensure the “Scene” is Well-Lit and Aesthetically Pleasing

Too often, virtual interviewees begin their interviews in rooms that are poorly-lit, making the interviewers strain their eyes to see properly — try to use natural light where possible.

Regardless of the type of light that you use, however, make sure that it is not behind you, as this can darken the foreground and completely obscure the visibility of your face.  If the interviewers can’t see your face, then they’re much less likely to form the sort of connection necessary to hire you!

Keep Notes on Your Computer

Virtual interviews provide an excellent opportunity for attorney-candidates to prepare for challenging interview questions, as you have an opportunity to bring “notes” to guide you in response.  Some candidates like to use post-it notes, while others simply have another program open on their computer (i.e., a Word file or a Notes file) with bullet points to help them remember how to address certain questions, and perhaps with topics to ask the interviewers about (regarding the firm/in-house department).

Using notes is particularly useful if you expect to discuss a highly relevant project, and you don’t want to “stall” as you attempt to remember all the details.  As you have the opportunity to make use of notes, be sure not to waste it!  Expect your competition to make use of this advantage, too!

Use Body Language to Convey Familiarity and Confidence

Virtual interviews are fundamentally challenging in that you lose the intimacy of the in-person setting.  It may also be more difficult to convey confidence non-verbally in a video call, especially if you are not a frequent user of such software.

So, how can you convey familiarity and confidence in a virtual interview?  Consider the following tips:

    • Sit with your back straight and your shoulders even — but try not be too stiff.  To avoid stiffness, make sure to use your hands to communicate, as this can provide the natural looseness and movement necessary to appear more natural.
    • Smile and laugh when appropriate — don’t feel the need to be “excessively” formal if the situation allows for moments of informality.  For example, if you are discussing a pro bono project that you enjoyed working on, it’s okay to smile and be visibly excited and passionate about the project and the people that you helped.  This passion is likely to leave a positive impression.
    • Maintain eye contact at an equal level with the camera — as though you’re speaking  directly to the camera.  You can achieve equal level by stacking books beneath your laptop, or by raising your chair higher if necessary.

Contact Garb Jaffe & Associates for Recruitment Assistance

If you’re interested in making the transition to a new position, and are concerned about how to navigate the virtual interview process, don’t worry — we’re here to help.

Here at Garb Jaffe & Associates, our experienced Los Angeles legal recruiters help attorney-candidates articulate their career goals, identify target firms and in-house departments, prepare for the hiring process, and secure the ideal position.

We have extensive professional networks in the California legal industry, and use these networks to gain deep insight into what is necessary to succeed over the course of the hiring process — these insights are valuable for attorney-candidates looking to gain an advantage in a competitive field.

Ready to speak to a legal recruiter at Garb Jaffe?  Call us at 310-207-0727 or complete an intake form through our website to schedule a meeting today.

We look forward to assisting you.

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