Confessions of a Legal Recruiter: The Video Interview, Pause-Rewind-Reset

Live or recorded, video interviewing has arrived.

In person and more so on video, you have got to prepare for your interviews. Hand movement gestures including, touching your hair and face and tapping your fingers or feet are not a good idea.

“We prepare our candidates for the in-person and video interview,” Shari Davidson – President of On Balance Search Consultants.

Confessions of a Legal Recruiter TM .001

Follow these steps to ace the video interview:

Dress appropriately. Treat the video interview like you would an in-person interview.

  • Do not wear white (shirts, blouses or jackets) as white way too bright and distracting.
  • Avoid wearing pure black as this can cause your face to wash out a bit due to overexposure. And super-bright colors (reds, yellows, pinks, etc.) can give your skin a slight reddish, unnatural tint on camera.
  • Men, do not wear pinstripes, hound’s-tooth, herringbone, or anything that has a busy pattern. As the camera tends to distort images.
  • Softer, solid colors will work great. A dark, deep blue is one of the best options. Avoid any high contrast between two colors, as it won’t do well on camera.
  • Make sure your nose and forehead are not too to shiny. Men can apply some cream and women apply makeup not to appear too pale.
  • And if you wear glasses, make sure they are glare-proof and that we can see your eyes. If you have contacts, this might be a good time to use them.

Some video interviews are Skyped live and some only give you one shot at the video recording. Make sure you prepare. “It is so important to get the video interview right. Remember, in this new digital world your video lives in perpetuity. Be sure you make it great,” says Shari Davidson.


  • Find quiet place to record your video.
  • Set up a neutral backdrop (at least 2 feet behind you to limit back shadow).
  • Set up the camera so that the angle is eye-level and about one to two feet from you when recording.
  • Look into the camera – not the screen. Looking at the screen may distract you.
  • Have lights placed about 2.5 – 3.5 feet on either side of you and at least the same height as the camera while recording. This helps achieve even lighting across your face to diminish shadow and wrinkles.
  • When preparing, adjust the camera angle, sound and lighting as needed.


  • Practice in front of the camera by rehearsing your responses to interview questions. Don’t stammer, stutter, pause or start saying “uh-huh” or “like” or “um”.
  • Keep your answers short and get right to the point, you will have a limited amount of time to respond.

The Interview

  • Many people find being in front of the camera to be distracting. Make sure you are comfortable, calm, cool and convey confidence during the video.
  • Project a nice, smooth, natural gaze.
  • A good rule is to not sustain eye-contact for longer than 5 seconds at a time. Then break eye-contact, look away briefly, breathe, then reconnect.
  • Try having a friend sit behind the camera. Don’t to at the camera but to your friend. This will give your video that authentic personal touch. And help set you apart from the competition.
  • Smile, but not too much. Come across as friendly and personable. And don’t grin.
  • Posture conveys confidence. Sit upright in your chair and keep your back straight.
  • Face directly into the camera and don’t show too much of a side angle.
  • Find a comfortable balance between leaning far forward and reclining too farback. Also adjust your chair to make sure you’re not too low or high in the frame.

Final Thoughts

Before going live, schedule a test video interview with a friend. Then critique your performance. Be sure to have your resume, job description, and your notes handy so you can refer to them between questions. And have a water bottle close by should you need to stay hydrated.

Good luck on nailing your next video interview!


About On Balance Search Consultants

On Balance offers great insight and industry intelligence. Shari Davidson, president of On Balance Search Consultants, advises law firms on how to take a firm to the next level and helps rising talent make the transition to the right law firm.

Contact us today. Call 516.731.4300 or visit our website at

Please note that the content of this blog does not constitute legal advice and is only intended for the educational purpose of the reader. Please consult your legal counsel for specifics regarding your unique circumstances and the laws in your states pertaining to social media and any legal restrictions regarding the law.