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16th Jul 2020

Q&A – Practical Tips When Looking For Your Next Role

Following our recent article in the ACC Magazine we received some excellent feedback that also included several queries.

Following our recent article in the ACC Magazine we received some excellent feedback that also included several queries. We thought it would be useful to share some additional thoughts, the queries, and our responses.

Tips for Interviews via Videoconference.

Q. I have been notified by some of my recent applications that the assessment centre stages may be held via videoconferencing. I do better in face to face rather than digital. Are there tips you can provide in this area?

A. A couple of quick tips for an interview via videoconference:

  • Dress for the interview, as you would if you were meeting in person. This is not purely for the interviewers benefit but also to get you in the correct frame of mind and feeling your most confident for the interview.
  • Test the tech. Ensure your internet connection is stable, that your microphone and speaker is working. Second to this, also have a look at what is in the background of your webcam. You do not want something distracting or cluttered in your background, but a quiet, clear, bright space.
  • Ensure you look comfortable in front of the camera. You are sitting upright and comfortable in a chair and not trying to hold a phone at arm’s length in front of you where you look awkward.
  • Make eye contact and engage the interviewer just as you would in person. Nod, smile, use hand gestures when appropriate.
  • Ensure you have limited all distractions and background noise. Kids, pets, washing machine, turn your mobile phone to silent and do not have anything else running on your computer.
  • If you know a videoconference is a weakness of yours, practice so you feel more comfortable. Now is a good time to ask your friends for a virtual coffee and get comfortable in front of the webcam. Practice and record yourself so you can watch it back.

Training to perform well in video interview/conferences will become an increasingly important skill. We feel it has become so important and that training can make such a significant difference that we have engaged a professional video producer to teach us, our lawyers and our clients how to better engage using this medium. The benefits we have seen from this training has been incredible. Remember you only need to be 1% better than the next candidate to get the role. Check out this video for some more tips to excel at a videoconference interview.

Should I remove my photo from my CV?

Q. I found it interesting that you say there should not be a photo on your CV. I have a photo on mine, and do not think it detracts from the content:

A. We suggest not having your photo on the CV to ensure you control the narrative. Imagine that the shirt you wear, or your haircut reminds the interviewer of a partner that they detest. Consciously or subconsciously the interviewer may be influenced by the picture – all beyond your control. The idea is to control as much of your story as possible.


  • There is no need to have your home address on your CV – more a Sydney issue.
  • There is no need to have your school on your CV – more a Melbourne issue.
  • You do not need to say how long you have lived in that location for – more a Perth issue.
  • Some lawyers I know even choose to remove their wedding ring for interviews and do not mention their family – entirely up to you to control your own narrative.

Attire – Specifically Ties

Q. Do you think one should wear a tie these days to interviews or is that considered a bit “stuffy”?

A. If you are most comfortable in a tie, wear it, likewise if you are not then do not.

You should however, dress in a smart professional manner regardless of tie. I recommend a shirt, jacket, trousers and dress shoes or suit without tie. But only one button undone on the shirt. I once heard it said that the acceptable number of buttons undone on a shirt depended on where you live – one button for Melbourne, two for Sydney, and three for Brisbane.

If you are more comfortable wearing a tie, then I suggest wearing a suit.

One of few organisations that typically expect an applicant to wear a tie are law firms.

Personal Grooming

I feel like I should not have to say it, but from experience I think these points need to be expressly made, predominately for men – sorry guys… Ensure you have: –

  • Clean and cut fingernails
  • Washed and tidy hair
  • Do not wear too much fragrance
  • Clean and pressed clothes
  • Guys – trim the facial/ear/eyebrow/nose hairs
  • Polished and well-kept shoes
  • No under arm/collar stains
  • Clean reading glasses
  • Do not wear sunglasses during the interview/meeting
  • Clean teeth and fresh breath – no garlic spinach pizza beforehand
  • Do not rush to get to the meeting so you are not hot and sweaty

After interview

A lawyer recommended and I agree, you should follow up with an email to the interviewer to say “thanks”.

Should I/Should I Not Apply for the Role?

If you are thinking this, you should apply – typically you do not have much to lose and a lot to gain: –

  • Expand your network
  • Learn more about a company
  • Practice your application and interview skills
  • Land a new job you love

Remember that the job ad is a “wish list” of skills that the organisation is seeking, just as you have a wish list for your next role. A successful placement will most likely be a compromise from both the employer and employee.

We are always happy to hear more tips if you have any more recommendations – just get in touch, also check out our series of video in-house legal market updates.