How to prepare for a paralegal interview
In this article, leading specialist job board TotallyLegal offers top tips and handy hints to help Institute of Paralegals members succeed at video interviews.
Despite localised lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions, many law firms and other legal employers have resumed their recruitment efforts and begun to hire for new Paralegal vacancies. However, it is not entirely ‘business as usual’, with government-ordered social distancing requirements forcing many organisations to move their hiring and interview processes online.
If you are a job-seeking Paralegal, there’s a very real possibility that your interviews in the coming weeks and months will happen remotely. For those who have not taken part in one before, the prospect of a video interview can be daunting, but try not to let it panic you. After all, your success will depend on many of the same factors that contribute to a successful face-to-face or phone interview, while the differences can be prepared for easily.
If you follow these seven simple steps, you will be giving yourself the best chance to succeed at your next Paralegal video interview.
How to prepare for a paralegal interview? Dress to impress
Many people get stuck at the first hurdle, but this one is easy. If you find yourself wondering what to wear for your video interview, just remember that you should be wearing the same outfit you would if the interview was in person.
Employers want to see presentable and professional Paralegals who are serious about the role at hand, so dress appropriately for the job you are interviewing for. If you’re not sure about the correct level of formality, just remember that it’s always better to be overdressed.
Not only will your sharp attire impress your potential employer, but it will also help to get you into the right mindset for an interview, which can be difficult to achieve when you’re sat at your own kitchen table.
Choose the right location
There is no point in looking your best if you end up taking the interview in a messy or disorganised room, so set up your computer somewhere with a neutral, tidy background. You want the interviewer to be completely focused on you, so do not give them anything to be distracted by.
Ahead of your appointment, check the lighting in the room to ensure that your interviewer will be able to see you properly. Ideally you don’t want bright light directly behind you, nor should it be too close to your face.
To prevent any distractions from disrupting the flow of the interview, it’s vital to think ahead and eliminate any potential interruptions before they have the chance to happen.
For starters, let any housemates, partners or family members you live with know that you are taking an important call and are not to be disturbed, then switch your phone on to silent mode and mute any notifications on your computer. For the best sound quality, use a pair of headphones with a built-in microphone to eliminate any background noise.
Avoid technical glitches
Download and install any necessary video conferencing software on your computer ahead of the interview, ensuring any usernames and email addresses you use are professional and appropriate.
If your interview is to take place on FaceTime or another mobile based application, make sure the app is downloaded to your phone and that the location you are in has reliable signal or Wi-Fi.
Additionally, we strongly recommend running a practice call with a friend or family member in advance of your interview to ensure that the camera and microphone on your device are functioning properly.
Handle tech issues with grace
If, in spite of your preparation, you encounter any technical issues or mishaps during your video interview, make sure you handle them promptly and with grace.
For example, if you cannot hear the interviewer due to a weak Wi-Fi connection, alert them and try to resolve the problem in a calm manner. You may well feel frustrated, but don’t let yourself get worked up. No employer wants to hire a Paralegal unable to deal with unexpected problems, but if you can demonstrate the ability to calmly resolve issues in a stressful situation, you’ll be ticking at least one of their boxes.
How to prepare for a paralegal interview? Build rapport with the interviewer
Video interviews let you show off your interpersonal skills and ability to build rapport in a way that a phone interview never could. Ensure that you are making eye contact, smiling and using affirmative movements to quickly develop rapport with your interviewer and show them you are attentive and interested.
You might be saying everything they want to hear, but if you’re looking away from the camera or slouched over with your arms crossed, you’ll be sending out the wrong signals. Ensure your movements match your words by maintaining good posture and utilising positive body language throughout the interview.
Wrap it up
As with any type of meeting, virtual or otherwise, it’s essential to thank your interviewer for their time at the end of the appointment. Make sure to ask any final questions, reiterate your interest in the role and, if it has not already been covered, enquire about when you can expect to hear back regarding any next steps.
TotallyLegal is the UK’s leading niche job board for vacancies in the legal profession. View the latest Paralegal roles today or visit the blog for careers advice, industry insights and other exclusive content.