by Caroline Jaques (L’22)
I participated in the Southeastern Minority Job Fair (SEMJF) last October. Typically, SEMJF is held in Atlanta in July, but because of the pandemic it was conducted virtually in 2020. I did ten interviews with firms primarily in Texas, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Almost all of the interviews and networking sessions took place on the Flo Recruit platform, which is the same online system that the CDO will use for OCI in August.
I was a little apprehensive about doing virtual interviews on Flo Recruit because I had never used it before, but I can assure you that it is very user friendly! My favorite thing about Flo Recruit is that it allows you to test both your audio and camera settings before jumping on the call. I made sure to use this test feature before all of my interviews. I strongly suggest you do this to make sure your background is free of anything you do not want your employer to see. Flo Recruit, Zoom, and GoogleMeet all seem to have different frame sizes so it’s always good to double check what is captured in your video any time you use a new program.
I had multiple interviews back to back with only a five-minute break in between them. I found it helpful to create a “cheat sheet” on each firm and would use that five minutes to drink some water, review my cheat sheet, and walk around a little bit if I felt like I needed a break from sitting. As long as you’ve prepared for your interviews in advance, it shouldn’t be too difficult keeping each employer separated in your head even if you are doing the interviews one after another. I also found it useful to take a few notes on each employer following my interviews to help me write specific thank you notes.
Try your hardest not to be drinking water (certainly do not eat) during your virtual interviews. It is tempting to get a little too comfortable when you’re in your own space, but you want to be sure to keep the focus on you by not distracting your interviewer. On that same note, watch how you’re sitting. I know I have a tendency to slouch in my seat but sitting up straight will certainly come through on camera. A tip I found to be very useful for me was to stack a few casebooks under my laptop to give it some height, which allowed me to angle the camera slightly down. I find that this is a touch more flattering than having the camera coming straight on at your face. Again, this is where testing your video comes in handy– I strongly suggest taking the time to find a camera position and lighting that make you feel comfortable and confident.
If you have a technological glitch do not panic! My internet connection shut down during one of my interviews, and it was super nerve racking. I was able to contact the recruiting coordinator and switch the entire interview to a phone call, and the remainder of the interview went very well! Because mishaps and glitches are inevitable, the best thing you can do is to remain calm and try your hardest to be professional and flexible. Employers know that glitches occur and don’t forget that this is new to them too!
Good luck and don’t forget to write your thank you notes after your interviews!
Caroline Jaques is a 2021 summer associate with Hirschler, a Richmond law firm that conducted her initial interview at SEMJF.