Interviewing – Legal Interviews
Written by Thomas Eckardt on 29th November, 2016
Firstly, congratulations! You have an interview. Celebrate that win. It is a tough market generally for legal professionals who are searching for the right role.
The hardest part about interviewing is that it is often quite some time between interviewing for jobs so learning the basics again can be tough. Helping you prepare is what we aim to do at EG Consulting, below are some basic tips.
- Be early and know the details
Interviews are stressful. They are designed that way to see how you react under pressure. Reduce that pressure by knowing all the details before you walk in the door. Know the location, the start time, who you are interviewing with, the dress code, the process on arrival. The aim is stress limitation.
- Know your own experience and CV
If you put something on your CV be ready to talk about it in detail. It always amazes me how often people are shocked to be asked a question about something that is on their CV. You may not think that something you have put on your CV is of huge importance (which raises the question of why you put in on your CV in the first place) but the hiring manager may see value in exploring it. Particularly foreign languages! This is so easy to test and so easy to get caught out with, generally if you are not fluent then don’t put it down.
- Potential questions;
- Tell me about yourself
Keep it short. Keep it relevant. Keep it interesting. HAVE AN ANSWER. A good way to answer this question is by telling a story about yourself. Stories are great because they are naturally engaging. Always try to bring the relevance of why your background makes you appropriate for the job.
- What are your weaknesses
This is a dreaded question. DO NOT answer with the age old ‘I just work too hard’. Answer this with a weakness that you are working on. A development point.
- Can you explain your grades
This is another dreaded question. It should be irrelevant at this stage as the hiring manager has obviously identified that you are capable of doing the job they are hiring for based on your CV. However, if asked, be honest and explain what happened. Don’t make excuses.
- Why are you interested in our firm/company
This is where your research comes into play. Hopefully it should not be a hard one to answer. Think about what you want from a job and why this job suits you. What you want from a team and why this team suits you. What industry you want to work in and why this company matches that.
- Behavioural based questions.
Behavioural questions are most commonly asked by a HR professional as they give a more objective rating system for applications. The key is to hit key responses and structure your answer using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).
- You need to ask questions.
Typically an interview will end with the interviewer asking if you have any questions. HAVE QUESTIONS. It makes you seem more genuinely interested in the position. I suggest preparing 10 questions before any interview and hopefully a lot of those will be answered during the interview.
Potential questions include;
- How is work assigned?
- Who will oversee/supervise my work?
- Are new associates assigned to a specific partner or to a department?
- What is the training programme?
- Are there any professional development programmes?
- How quickly can I expect to have direct client contact?
- What are the process for advancement?
- What projects are you working on right now?
- What is this office’s relationship to other offices?
- In what sectors do you project growth?
- By when do you expect to make a decision?