The Lawyer’s Guide to the Job Interview15 Feb, 20235 Minutes
You’ve worked hard to land this interview. Countless hours combing through adverts, applicat...
You’ve worked hard to land this interview. Countless hours combing through adverts, applications, word of mouth openings, and you’re now one of the chosen few that have been given the chance to prove their worth. There’s never been a more crucial time to demonstrate your charisma, tenacity, and lawyer-like skills. And while many will inevitably succumb to pressure, you want to ensure that you approach that final hurdle in the best, most impressive way possible. Here’s how.
Dress for Success
As the saying goes, always dress for the job you want, not the job you already have. That doesn’t mean that we’re advocating you turning up in a pair of casual slacks, or overdoing it in your favourite eveningwear. Pick something professional and presentable that shows your potential employer that you’re a serious candidate.
Ultimately, you want to ensure that your appearance is as polished as your CV- you’ve obviously made a great impression with you work experience and qualifications, but now it’s time to demonstrate your approach and personal attributes in dynamic fashion. Don’t destroy months of preparation with a poor professional image.
Research and Memorise
Law firms always take great pride in their history, particularly in their successful climb up the ladder, as well as practice versatility (or exclusivity) which is imbedded in their workplace culture. As such, employers will expect you to take a great interest in their background, so do ensure that you’re taking the time to research the practice thoroughly. Try to retain specific facts and case studies, as you’ll inevitably be questioned about why you wish to work for this particular firm.
A great place to start is to read the company’s website, and chat with any associates from the target firm. This will allow you to develop a detailed insight into the business and provide you with the tools to demonstrate your suitability to the practice. It’s also beneficial to research any particular accomplishments of the firm; have they won any awards or have recommendations from Legal 500 or Chambers & Partners? Again, be sure to make a note of this, as you’ll need to display your vast company knowledge to your interviewer.
Questions, Questions, Questions
There are many brilliant books and websites out there that prepare you for which questions to expect in an interview, from soft questions (‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?’) to the hard ones (‘Give me an example of when you formulated a productive solution to a critical issue’). No one enjoys the interview process, but it’s ultimately about showing how well you can perform under pressure. When you’ve perfected your skills to answer difficult questions, you’ll demonstrate yourself as a more than worthy candidate.
It’s also vital to prepare questions of you own. You will tend to find that this part of your interview takes place at the end, so don’t get caught out as you’re rushing for the exit. Incorporating potential questions in your background research will enormously benefical, as you’ll be able to revise them before your interview. Look into information such as continuous learning and training, charity support and donations, as well as a general idea as to where the company will be heading in the next few years. This shows an interest in the future of the business and, like a good lawyer, ensures you know what the answer will be in advance of asking.
So many candidates go through the arduous process of finding a job opening and sitting through the interview, but forget to follow up in the aftermath. Set yourself apart by taking the time to ring or email your recruiter to thank them for their time, and politely enquire as to whether they have had time to review your credentials. There are ways and means of going about this- try to be enthusiastic and professional rather than coming across as pushy or difficult. You’ll therefore demonstrate a confident and proactive approach, which will be sure to stand you in good stead.
Interview success is never a guarantee in life, but doing your best to go above and beyond the ordinary efforts of the typical candidate will give you a leg up on your competition. Be your best self, show your potential, and you’re one step closer to landing your dream legal role at your chosen firm.