Let the tech do the talking

Rachel Charlton is Shoosmiths’ recruitment manager based in Manchester, here she shares her top tips for preparing for a live telephone or video interview, an increasingly common feature in recruitment processes, particularly in law firms


Many of us still believe that the best way to make an impression in a recruitment process is through a face-to-face meeting.

However, in these busy, tech-friendly times, businesses are increasingly having or even choosing to screen or interview candidates through other methods.

A plethora of options – the likes of WebEx, Skype, MeetingBurner, TrueConf, Whatsapp are on offer when it’s not possible to travel or coordinate everyone to attend in person.

If you get invited to a telephone or video interview, you need to be prepared to give the best account of yourself through this medium. Here are my five top tips on how to handle a live telephone or video interview:

First and most importantly – don’t discount the interview because it’s not in person – prepare as thoroughly and carefully as you would for any first stage interview;
Get your head around the technology and read all user guides!

- See if you need to upload any new software or if there are compatibility issues

- Check the audio – make sure that the sound is on and at the right level

- Check your webcam is switched on or activated beforehand and take note of how much of you/the background will be seen. Ensure that what’s going to be visible is appropriate/professional!

- Check your battery is charged and/or you have signal    

Small talk – be ready and willing to use small talk in the same way as you would in person – either if you’re waiting for others to join a conference call or video or just as an ice-breaker at the start. This provides the same opportunity to get your personality across as you have in person – don’t feel you have to sit there in silence;

Eye contact – you might be in a situation where one interviewer attends in person and one by video conferencing. When you’re asked a question, be sure to address the answer to the relevant person – don’t just ignore the person on the video or phone. Even if you’re only participating by video – the interviewers will get a sense of how you present yourself;

Issues – if you can’t hear people or are unsure whether you can be heard – raise it – 'Can I just check that you can hear me ok' or 'I’m sorry but I can’t properly hear what you’re saying'.  If you lose sound or the technology fails – don’t panic – that’s not your fault and you won’t be judged for it. Keep a cool head while the connection is restored or problem solved and then carry on!

It’s often hard to tell how you’ve performed in an interview until you receive formal feedback and there’s no reason this should be any different. Always end the call or video in a positive and polite manner – even if you think it’s gone badly.

I hope these tips help get your preparation underway for interviewing at a tech-savvy workplace like Shoosmiths.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post, you may also be interested in reading 'How to ace your assessment centre' by Harry Warren or looking at Shoosmiths’ current vacancies here.

If you have any specific questions, you can contact the recruitment team via twitter or email [email protected].


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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