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Orbit Legal

As organisations navigate the “new normal” in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Orbit, (a Corrs Group Business), ACC Australia’s Mentoring Program partner, has continued to find lawyers to match their clients’ resourcing needs and have learnt a thing or two about how to help lawyers and clients prepare for virtual interviews. While there are many common elements to a standard job interview, there are some key differences to prepare for when conducting virtual interviews – and increasingly so in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Orbit have shared 9 tips for a successful online interview.

1. Check your technology

Ensure your device is fully charged and that your phone and all other devices are on silent.  And remember to check the internet connection is stable where you are sitting.

If there will be more than two attendees consider creating a virtual waiting room so that you can open the meeting once everyone is present, rather than awkwardly waiting for others to join.

Confirm that you know how to use the gallery view function so that you can see all participants at the same time, as this allows you to pick up on visual prompts and clues.

2. Prep your space

Find somewhere appropriately lit (avoid sitting with your back to a window) and quiet, ensuring others sharing your space – pets, housemates, children – are elsewhere and aware of your interview. Remember your space now also includes camera angles: try to elevate the webcam and show yourself from the chest up, and maybe hide that Beyoncé poster visible in the background.  

3. Plan your attire

Aim to wear solid colours where possible.  And avoid the temptation to only wear professional apparel on top; you never know when you may need to stand-up.

4. Write notes

As an interviewee, research the organisation ahead of time like you would for any interview and have questions (as well as a pad and pen) ready to go. 

Equally important for an interviewer, prepare a general overview of how you would like to structure the meeting and be sure to re-read the resume ahead of time. Remember you will also have the added responsibility of explaining company culture as your interviewee won’t have the benefit of experiencing it in-person.

5. Practise in advance

Rehearse your talking points beforehand and do a test run.  Try completing a mock interview with yourself and your camera before your real interview.

6. Be early

Log in five or ten minutes early to test connectivity and equipment so you can be calm and centred ahead of the interview beginning.

7. Show that you’re engaged

This is one of the biggest challenges of interviewing online.  When listening, nod and smile.  When speaking, use hand gestures where appropriate. And maintain “eye contact” by looking directly into the camera rather than at the screen or at your own picture.  Body language is very important in a video call.

8. Speak clearly

You want the microphone to pick up your voice clearly so that the person on the other end doesn’t have to strain to hear you.

9. Closing out

Even though you can’t physically shake each other’s hand, be curious and unafraid to show your personality.  Ask and answer questions normally with a controlled tempo. Interviewers are equally interested in soft skills and communication. There is no better way to demonstrate this than in a video/virtual/online interview.

And don’t forget, manners go a long way: say thank you for setting this time aside.  The shift in work hours and caring responsibilities has made time a precious resource and it is important to acknowledge the effort made.

What are we seeing in the market?

Most organisations are taking a conservative approach to new hires for legal teams during these unprecedented times, with many enforcing hiring freezes. However we are seeing buoyant activity in certain sectors such as finance, technology, construction, energy and government.  Business are also turning to the gig economy so as to increase flexibility in their workforce and reduce costs associated with permanent headcount.  There have of course also been a tremendous number of casualties as a result of the pandemic including the retrenchment of many lawyers across a variety of industries.  While extremely unfortunate and no doubt very stressful, take it as an opportunity to re-evaluate your career and personal goals and use the time to assess what you really want to do on the other side of the pandemic.

Orbit Legal Resourcing is a Corrs Chambers Westgarth business that helps legal teams manage workloads more efficiently by placing experienced in-house counsel in contracting roles with our clients. 

If you’re looking for a flexible and practical legal resourcing solution on an unexpected project or a temporary gap in your legal team, contact Linda Grace for a confidential conversation on how Orbit can work for you.

Linda Grace

Director of Orbit

Phone: +61 3 9672 3509