The recent outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for firms to become virtually savvy when it comes to interviewing.
While a number of searches/processes have been put on hold while the pandemic plays-out, it is clear that the use of video conferencing in recruitment processes is here to stay. Given that the average person in the US changes employer roughly every one to five years across their career, it is vital to understand the key principles and tips behind preparing for a digital interview so you can stay ahead of the curb. We have drawn on over a decade of experiences and knowledge from the Rutherford team to ensure you are nailing your video interview.
Preparation is Key
With some of your ability to use physical cues to strike rapport with the other party removed, the importance of carefully preparing for the interview dramatically increases.
Ask your recruitment consultant for guidance on their experiences with the hiring manager and firm in general. What is their culture like? Is there any preparation that the firm has asked candidates to do?
Conduct research on the firm, try to understand their business & markets as best you can. Do you work in a similar field that you can contrast your experience with? If not, how would your experience change and what is going to differentiate your profile from someone that is already working in the sector.
Don’t BS – excuse my French – too many times have we heard clients highlighting a candidate’s ability to over compensate their experience & knowledge, most interviewers will not expect you to know every question raised but they are expecting a pro-active response of how you would go about answering the question. For example; questions around a topic might require an idea as to where to find the information.
Find recent news on the firm, this shows you have done your research and are up to date with the direction the firm is heading.
Background research on the interviewer, do you know mutual people? This is great for building rapport and enhance your position just by doing some minor research. You can find this information through LinkedIn or just by knowing places the interviewers have worked. Your recruitment consultant might also be able to provide advice on this.
Lastly, if it has been some time since your last interview, go back through your CV and experience, what parts are going to be most interesting/relevant to the interviewer and what experiences are going to be worth drawing on throughout the conversation. Be ready to talk about your personality and motivation, the interviewer is trying to understand – through a screen – how you would fit into the team.
Getting Set Up
Like a face-to-face interview, presentation is crucial in building first impressions. It is important that you are in a suitable space that is distraction free and your device is ready for the interview.
Initially, make sure you have the right software/app to take the video call and additionally have set up an account. Ensure your WIFI is strong enough for fielding the call, this point requires some thought due to the amount of usage at this point in time.
Make sure you are in a quiet space without noisy distractions such as other mobiles, voices, street noise or other.
If possible, try to position your camera to ensure it is above or in line with your head to ensure you have a better angle. This may require stacking some books under your laptop. It is not essential although it will improve your image on the call.
Log in with time to spare. Try to stay away from the holiday pictures as your virtual background.
Ultimately your ability to connect & impress the interviewer will determine your success during the interview.
Having to build rapport through a screen will require preparation, ensure you are confident around the topic that you are going to talk about. Again, preparation is key.
Dress like you would for a normal interview. Your recruitment consultant can provide insight as to what might be expected at this firm.
If you have time, you might want to have a rehearsal with a family member or partner.
During the interview, ensure effective eye contact, ideally at the camera and not to your notes or at your phone. Like in person, pay attention to body language, sit up straight and speak clearly. Again if you are able to rehearse the sound and your appearance beforehand this will ensure your appearance is appropriate.
Lastly, ensure you leave appropriate time for the other party(s) to make their point, there may sometimes be a delay between you speaking and the other person receiving.
On average, ‘New Yorkers’ average over 42 hours in the office a week. There is a distinct need for sourcing candidates who adhere and resemble the culture and values of the firm/team. In the absence of being able to identify what these social and cultural cues might be in-person, you will need to explore other channels to provide you with some clues.
Online videos & podcasts are a great way of getting to understand the values of the firm. An abundance of firms showcase senior leaders providing their vision for the future and how the firm is making a difference in a wider setting.
What do third parties and other firms have to say about the company. Are there any reviews on websites like Glassdoor or Google that provide any further guidance.
Again leaning on your recruitment consultant can allow you to be informed on what the expectations would be for this role. They should have an indication as to what can be expected.
In addition, you should be careful of your own public image through social media channels. Ensure the appearance is appropriate for anyone who chooses to view it.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the use of video conferencing has dramatically increased although we hope this is an interim solution, we do now know that use of video interviewing is here to stay. If you would like some more personalised guidance on interviewing in the Legal or Compliance space, do not hesitate in contacting Rutherford Search.
Rutherford is a boutique search firm that specialises in legal, financial crime and compliance recruitment within the financial services and legal sector, with London and New York being the main focus. We use our carefully curated relationships, networks and market knowledge to find the best fit for the clients in hand. We work with a wide range of clients, spanning from advisors, corporate and commercial banks, brokers, exchanges, MTFs and financial tech, through to global investment managers, hedge funds, private equity firms and investment banks.