Amelia Mah is currently studying the DPLP at the University of Dundee after completing a Scots and English Dual Qualifying LLB with First Class Honours. She secured a traineeship with CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, starting in 2021, after attending its CMS Academy and subsequently founded See Through Law, a website dedicated to sharing her top tips for securing an internship or training contract.
Many firms now use recorded video interviews as part of their application process and, once you click on the link assigned to you by the firm, you only get one shot at it. So here are my top tips for making the best impression in your video interview for an internship or training contract!
Before you start
It's worth keeping in mind why a video interview is part of the application process for an internship or training contract.
The firm is testing a number of things, such as your professionalism, communication skills and general character. They want to know how well you conduct yourself in a professional setting, such as in an office or a client meeting, and how you interact with people.
Confidence is key and the firm want to know how you come across as a person! With these things in mind, here's how to make your video interview as professional as can be...
Camera and microphone
You'll likely be doing the video interview on a laptop or computer, which may have a built-in webcam and microphone. If so, you're good to go. I would probably advise against completing the interview on your phone, just because the screen is smaller and you won't be able to pick up on some of the smaller details.
If you don't have access to a webcam, ask someone if you can borrow their laptop or computer. And if you're really struggling, speak to a member of the recruitment team. Sometimes your university's career service or library may also have equipment you can borrow.
Make sure your laptop is on a flat and even surface, and think about how far away you are from the camera and microphone. Ideally, you only want to see the top half of your body.
You must be aware of your surroundings during your video interview! This includes:
- Choose a place that is preferably silent
- This could be a room/office area
- Avoid libraries and cafes etc
- Your video interview should contain you and only you
- Make sure no one is walking around or behind you during your interview
The best backdrops are:
If you're in your room, consider if there are any posters or paintings on the wall that could be distracting. A completely clean backdrop is ideal.
Though not compulsory, your video interview will look much more professional in business dress. If you have long hair, makes sure it's not covering your face!
Your body language gives away a lot about you in a video interview. The best practise you can do is to stand in front of a mirror and talk or film yourself answering questions like in the real interview to assess how you come across.
Watch out for:
- Don't slouch
- Sit up straight
- Don't cross your arms
- Playing with hair
- Nail biting
- Hand movements
- Keep looking at the camera at all times
- Don't look around the room
- Smiling is so important!
Your video interview is likely to be your first opportunity to impress the firm 'in person', so you must be (or at least look) comfortable. The more practice you get in before the real video interview, the more relaxed you'll be and be able to give a better interview.
If you enjoyed reading this and want to find out more about interviews, have a look at my blog covering the most common questions about interviews.