Law firms are using online interviews more and more as part of their recruitment processes to screen candidates virtually before inviting them for a face to face training contract interview. This page will detail all you need to know about a training contract online interview.
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An online training contract interview generally takes one of two forms:
Live Training Contract Online Interview
These are generally conducted via Skype, FaceTime or a similar application and as such are a virtual form of face to face interview. Members of the graduate recruitment team and/or solicitors at the firm are usually present. In advance of your online training contract interview, you may receive more precise details of who will be interviewing you on the day.
Pre-Recorded Training Contract Online Interview
You will be required to answer between four and eight ‘pre-recorded’ questions which will flash up on the screen intermittently. For each question, you will be given a period of ‘thinking time’ before being filmed providing your answer, which again will be time limited to a minute or two. Once the interview is complete, the recording will be automatically submitted to the law firm in question.
‘Pre-recorded’ training contract interviews tend to be used in the early stages of the recruitment process as a means of whittling down the number of candidates.
Training Contract Online Interview: Preparation
On the day of your training contract online interview, it is important to ensure that you create a calm, professional and organised environment in which to complete your interview. Ensure that:
The room is quiet and there will be no disruptions. Stick a ‘do not disturb’ note to the door if necessary!
The lighting in the room is sufficient and that no shadow is cast over you. Turn the camera on in advance of the interview to test this.
Your computer is far enough away to allow the whole of your upper body to appear in the shot rather than just your face. This allows you to be more animated and employ hand gestures, where appropriate, to make a point.
There are no background distractions on the walls (e.g. Star Wars posters) or otherwise that may distract the interviewer.
You are not surrounded by clutter and your desk is clear during the interview.
Your computer is set up well in advance of the interview. This will help to prevent any last minute technical glitches, for example discovering three minutes before the interview that you have no internet connection or your camera doesn’t work!
You may want to create some prompts in relation to the more standard questions, for example, ‘why do you want to be a solicitor?’ If you do decide to do this, you could try sticking post it notes with key words to the side of your computer screen, so that during the interview you are not looking down and shuffling through reams of notes.
What Will I be Asked at a Training Contract Interview?
When the day of your training contract online interview finally arrives, here are our top tips to do well:
Speak in a clear, positive and friendly voice.
Be confident! Remember you have been invited for an online interview because you impressed with your training contract application. There is a lot to be confident about!
Watch your body language. Rather than looking at your screen try to look directly into the camera to give the illusion of eye contact. Retain good posture and remember to smile!
Short pauses to consider the questions are absolutely fine! Much better to do this than dive in with unformulated, knee jerk responses. This helps to ensure both clarity and conciseness in your answers.
Draw on examples of any relevant skills and attributes where appropriate to support your answers. For example, when have you demonstrated teamwork or problem-solving skills?
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