Prior to 2020, agencies and the majority of businesses in the legal sector would typically interview a candidate in person for every stage of the process. Now that everything is remote for the most part, how does this impact your job search?
We’ve pulled together some helpful information on how to get the most out of your remote job search experience. It’s likely that even when things return to normal, some of the practices that have become familiar to us over the pandemic, will remain in place.
Not visiting the law firm:
Remote interviewing means you don’t get to see the offices or feel the environment of the law firm you are potentially joining. Ask about this – either the agent you are working with or your contact at the firm if you have applied direct. What are the offices like? What facilities are there? Are there break out spaces? Do you hot desk? And perhaps most importantly nowadays, how often will you be expected to be in the office?
Another factor which has always been important, is location – it’s easy to dismiss this when interviewing remotely, or when work has been home based for so long. Remember, many firms will want to return to office working at least for a few days a week, so you have to ask, what will the commute be like? When restrictions allow, we always recommend doing the ‘commute’ to see how long it takes, and how you feel about it.
We will be spending less time in the office, but it’s equally as important you know what to expect from your work environment! Do you like a quiet office? Do you like a more relaxed office and a hot-desking approach? It’s important to get an understanding of what to expect, so you can work out if it’s an environment you’ll be comfortable, and productive in!
Preparing for video interviews:
Video calls seem so straightforward, but preparation is key, as to with any interview! Making sure you’re prepared with the tech you need; you have the link, good lighting, and a quiet space (as much as possible!) are all vital for ensuring the interview will run as smoothly as possible.
Get settled 15 minutes before, open the invitation up so you have the link and will be on time to log in. Make sure everything is connected, and your camera, microphone etc are on. Ensure you have enough battery or keep your device plugged in! These might seem basic, but it’s so easy to miss something, and always better safe than sorry.
A bonus is that can have any notes on the screen or table during a video call – this could be any questions you want to ask or key achievements you want to highlight about your experience that you don’t want to forget.
Obviously a big plus point to video interviewing is that you won’t have to rush across town to make it to your interview, you don’t have to move at all! You can settle in your own space and ensure you’re comfortable and prepared ahead of time.
It’s all about trying to control the variables you can so you don’t get flustered and put any unnecessary pressure on yourself!
Given the choice, most people would prefer to interview in person – you build better rapport, get to see the location and offices, meet other members of a team etc. However, as highlighted above, there are some plus points to video calls, so make sure you take advantage of these, whether it’s making sure you’re as comfortable as possible, or having your interview notes to hand on the desk and out of sight.
One final thought, make sure you dress as though you are attending an interview in person – no one will criticise you for this, but if you look too casual, it may be frowned upon by a partner. Recently a candidate of ours interviewed for a position and took for granted that because it was a Zoom call, he could dress down. The feedback we received – “hadn’t really made an effort!”
May sound obvious, but always put your camera on! You wouldn’t be able to not show up to a face-to-face interview, so please always turn on your camera so you can meet your interviewer. This will also help read their body language, and see when they’re finished talking, which is a little trickier over the phone.
Prepare more questions – you won’t get to walk through an office, past a team, go for a drink to meet the team, etc, so ask about the nuances of team and company culture or anything else that is important to you.
Wear something smarter than lounge/activewear! You wouldn’t show up to an interview in a hoodie, so please make sure you’re appropriately dressed for a video interview. Always ensure you’re appropriately dressed and groomed and the person interviewing you can see you have made an effort and prepared accordingly!
Wherever possible, choose a place with the most stable internet connection, and ask people you live with to give you the time you need – we all know working from home comes with its quirks, but try wherever you can to give yourself the best chance to avoid unnecessary interruptions.
And finally… good luck!
We hope these tips will help you to get the most out of remote interviewing.
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