Candidate Services - Interview Preparation
Without a doubt, the key to a successful interview is preparation. As soon as the interview is arranged, start thinking about your potential new employer, your aspirations and any questions you would like to ask.
Check that you know the exact location of the interview, the best way of getting there and the estimated travel time, add an extra 10/15minutes to allow for any unforeseen circumstances. Make sure that you know who will be interviewing you, what position they hold and the likely form that the interview will take. Read through your CV, this will likely form the basis of the interview so make sure you can swiftly answer any questions arising from your resume.
Research your prospective new employer; start with their website, read up on the types of work and clients that they deal with. A lot of firms have archived press releases and articles which are very useful. Look at Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners to gain an insight into the firm’s size, the percentage split of work, key individuals and their competitors. Check the legal trade press and any business pages.
Find out as much as you can about the department in which the vacancy exists and make sure you are familiar with the full job specification.
Research has consistently shown that impressions of people are formed within the first few minutes of meeting and that they rarely change either for the better or worse.
With this in mind, pay special attention to your appearance. Wear your smartest suit, polish your shoes and smile. Leave your right hand free for handshakes.
Good timekeeping is essential, it is far better to be early rather than late. On arriving at reception make sure that you are polite and friendly to the receptionist, if you have time, read any files about the firm that are on show. Ensure that you know the names of the interviewers.
Remember that this is your chance to showcase yourself. Show off your knowledge of the firm and your enthusiasm. Maintain eye contact with the interviewers and smile, give succinct (but not just “yes” or “no”) answers to any questions.
Sample Interview Questions
What are your reasons for wanting to leave current firm? (Do not be negative/criticise)
Why are you looking to join our firm?
What do you know about us?
Why did you choose the law as a career?
What do you enjoy about your current role? What do you not enjoy?
What sort of culture do you fit into best?
How IT literate are you?
What successes have you enjoyed in your current role? How did you achieve these?
What sort of supervisory/mentoring/management experience do you have?
Give examples of trials/deals you have been involved in.
What do you currently bill in fees/what is your billing track record? What is your charge out rate?
What contacts have you introduced to the firm? Do you have a following?
What do you want to achieve over the next 2/3/5 years?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What do you like to do outside of work?
Remember that an interview is a two way process, ask intelligent, pertinent questions and give honest, truthful and succinct answers.
Questions you may like to ask at interview
What is the structure of the organisation/department?
What are the future plans of the business/department?
What types of individuals are in the department currently?
How many files on average will you be expected to handle?
How many chargeable hours are staff expected to bill per month?
What is the ratio of support staff to fee earner?
Will you have responsibility for any junior members of the team?
Is the office open plan or cellular?
Who would you report directly to?
How much business development will you be expected to be involved in?
Does the organisation encourage marketing, development of client relations?
What is the culture of the organisation?
How much training, support and development opportunity will there be?
Who do you regard as your main competitors?
How do you appraise the performance of your staff?