Trainee blog: Video Interview Tips

With training contract and vacation scheme application deadlines fast approaching, many of you will shortly be turning your attention to the next stages of the recruitment process. For many firms, including Michelmores, the next stage for shortlisted candidates is a video interview. 

Michelmores' video interviews are hosted by Launchpad and give you the opportunity to add some character and personality to your application by demonstrating your communication skills in real time. During the video interview you will generally be asked four questions on screen and will have one minute to respond to each. The best part is that you can complete the video interview at a time and place that is convenient for you. You will just need an internet connection and a webcam.

So far so good - it all sounds very simple. However video interviews are full of potential pitfalls. I recently attended a law fair and one of the most common questions I was asked by students was how to prepare for video interviews. With that in mind, we've come up with a few 'top tips' to help you prepare:    

Check your technology

Before you start your interview check your webcam, internet connection and the software that you have been asked to use. Make sure that the picture is clear and the sound quality is good. It is important that you can be seen and heard clearly.

Check your surroundings

Make sure that you have planned ahead where you are going to undertake the interview. You need good lighting and ideally a plain background so that you are the main focus of the screen. You also want to ensure that you are not going to be disturbed.

Look at the camera 

One of the biggest tips that I was given prior to my video interview was to look at the camera. It is very easy to instead watch the screen to see how you are coming across. A video interview is your chance to connect with the watcher – looking at the camera helps!  

Prepare

Preparation is vital, as with any interview. Prepare to the same extent as if you are attending a face to face interview. Make sure you know your application form inside out and are up to date with current affairs and the latest news from the firm. You can be asked anything.

I created a 'cheat sheet' of notes which I kept by my computer during the interview. Before you answer each question you are given some thinking time which gives you an opportunity to refer to your notes. Use this time wisely.

Practice

Talking to a camera doesn't come naturally to most people. Record yourself to see how you come across. Everything from your body language to the way you sound will be analysed. A few test recordings will give you great feedback allowing you to address any issues beforehand. It is also a good chance to check your surroundings and technology before the real thing.

Dress to impress

Don't be fooled into thinking that you don't need to dress professionally for a video interview. First impressions count, make sure you create a positive one.

The above points are all very obvious; however it is important that you don’t overlook them. Training contracts are notoriously competitive and the video interview is a now a main gatekeeper between you and an assessment centre. With proper preparation and planning you will increase your chances of making it through. Good luck.