THE GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEWS.

Law Society Recruitment Aid

For some candidates interviews can be a stressful business and for most people an interview is as welcome as a trip to the dentist!

However, there are ways in which you can improve your interview performance and clinch that dream job.

Follow our step by step guide to interviews and youíll already be half way there:

BEFORE THE INTERVIEW

  1. Ensure you know all you can about the firm and the job you are applying for. You can gain valuable information from a firmís website, corporate brochure, colleagues knowledge and your recruitment consultant. Even if you do not have the opportunity in the interview to display your knowledge just knowing you have done Ďyour homeworkí will give you greater confidence.
  2. Think about the type of questions that will be asked prior to the interview. Be prepared to discuss anything that is on your CV, in particular you may be asked about your reasons for leaving your current/previous employment. Do remember not to be too negative about a previous employer, if you are negative, this will not help you present yourself as a team player able to get on with all sorts of personalities.You may get asked classic personnel type questions such as your strengths and weaknesses, if you think about this in advance it becomes much easier to back up your answers with examples. Always remain positive even when discussing your weaker points, indicate ways in which you can or have improved this weak area.
  3. In the interview you are likely to be asked why you want to work for this firm/company. You need to give thought to this prior to the interview, if you donít know why you want the job you are unlikely to be offered the post. Donít be afraid to show enthusiasm for the position, as long as you donít go over the top this will work in your favour!
  4. If the job involves your relocation to persuade the firm you are going to stay long term you must demonstrate either that you have an interest/knowledge of the area (including cost of living considerations) or friends and family nearby, ensure this is stressed in the interview.

ON THE DAY

  1. Dress smartly and conservatively (unless you know that the dress code of the firm/company is different). Be aware of your body language, these are obvious points but if over-looked can be extremely detrimental to your chances.
  2. Arrive in good time for the interview and if you are early take the time to sit in the reception area and get a feel for the firm/company. Ensure you are polite to everyone you meet (the secretaries/receptionistís opinion may be as important as a fee earner.) If the meeting is delayed, try to stay calm and relaxed. If you show visible irritation the firm will pick up on this and this may make them re-consider whether you would be a suitable applicant for them.
  3. Be prepared for anything. Although psychometric testing and other tests involving your legal skills are not the norm at first interview, they do happen. Your ability to not be phased by this and adapt quickly is as much a part of the interview process as the test itself.
  4. Listen carefully to the questions and do answer the specific question put to you. If this naturally leads into another area you want to talk about donít launch straight into this area forgetting about the initial question. Answer the initial question first and then move on.
  5. As well as being asked about your technical legal skills you may be asked about your business development/marketing skills and increasingly about your IT experience. For many firms business skills are as crucial as your technical skills. If the firm is looking to recruit a future partner you will need to demonstrate a genuine interest in the future development of the firm.
  6. Donít panic if you are interviewed by an inexperienced interviewer who doesnít take control of the interview. Most solicitors/partners have never had formal training in how to interview, donít let this situation put you off. You can use this opportunity to gently guide the interviewer and concentrate on the areas you want to talk about.
  7. Do ask questions (usually at the end of the interview). This is your opportunity to find out whether this job is for you. Remember this is a two way process and this is your chance to interview your potential new employers.
  8. Be yourself. If you get the job you will be working with this firm/company for 5 days a week, you need to know your personality fits in with the firmís ethos and chemistry.

Finally, donít forget to report back to your consultant with your feedback. The firm/company will usually ask the consultant for your feedback and if you have not told the consultant you are interested it may give the firm the impression you are not that keen to get the job.

 

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