Securing an interview is an achievement in itself, but the key to success is preparation. Ensuring you are ready for your next legal interview is significant to showing a potential employer your passion and enthusiasm, and your ability to take on the role you have applied to.
Reaching the interview stage is perhaps one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome when you’re on the hunt for a new legal job. You can go through hundreds of job application forms and CV submissions until you finally get the perfect job interview for you.
With both the excitement and nerves that come along with reaching the interview stage, it is normal for it to be a daunting process. However, we asked our Senior Divisional Manager for Search Legal, David Holden, to share his top tips on how to prepare for a legal interview and help you achieve success in your career.
Top 6 tips on how to prepare for a legal interview
1. Look at the firm
It should go without saying that when preparing for a job interview within the legal industry you should familiarise yourself with not only the role, but also the company.
Why do you want to work there, what appeals about their profile, what specifically stands out about the team you are interviewing for?
Doing your research on your potential employer you will not only be able to clearly highlight what makes you a good fit for the job during your interview, but also express enthusiasm about how the job will be of value to your legal career. You can learn a lot about a company from an array of sources online, including their website, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.
2. Be prepared to talk openly about why you are looking to leave
During an interview employers will not only want to know and see your enthusiasm about the role you are applying to but what is your motives to making a career change.
This question for a lot of legal candidates can be difficult to answer. It may be tempting to list why you dislike your current job, however maintaining a positive response will help sell yourself. Be prepared with good details about the reasons you are looking to progress in your career to help them understand.
3. Know your CV
Make sure you can provide detail to the examples of work you have listed in your CV. Practice what you are going to say to ensure that your answers demonstrate a good, positive and proactive attitude to working in the legal sector; remembering to take ownership of your achievements and highlight your involvement.
Use the STAR technique when answering to make sure that you get across what YOU can do.
STAR is an acronym for four key concepts. Each concept is a step the candidate can take to answer a behavioural interview question:
S - Situation: Describe the context within which you performed a job or faced a challenge at work. For example, perhaps you were working on a group project, or you had a conflict with a co-worker. This situation can be from a work experience, a volunteer position, or any other relevant event. Be as specific as possible.
T - Task: Next, describe your responsibility in that situation. Perhaps you had to help your group complete a project under a tight deadline, resolve a conflict with a co-worker, or hit a sales target.
A - Action: You then describe how you completed the task or endeavoured to meet the challenge. Focus on what you did, rather than what your team, boss, or colleague did. (Tip: Instead of saying "We did xyz," say "I did xyz.")
R - Result: Finally, explain the outcomes or results generated by the action taken. You might emphasize what you accomplished, or what you learned.
Check out our full blog for more information on how to answer competency based interview questions using STAR.
4. Be yourself
Preparing for and attending an interview can bring with it pressures to show the best version of yourself and create the best first impression for potential employers. However, what should be the main focus is just being YOURSELF.
More often than not experience is taken as a given during a legal interview and what employers will be more interested in is how you present yourself, interact and communicate as this will highlight a lot about you and an insight into the service their clients can expect to receive.
5. Get your passion across
For legal candidates, employers want to use interviews as an opportunity for you to demonstrate a genuine passion and awareness for the legal industry, as well as showcasing your ability and skills.
If they are able to see clearly why you love the area of law you work in, it can be significant when evaluating and selecting successful candidates for the role and make you stand out from the crowd.
6. Remember it is a two way process
Always prepare questions to ask!
These will not only demonstrate to the interviewer you are interested in the role but also you want to leave the interview knowing if it is something you would want to progress with or not. The only way to do this is to interview them by asking questions on what is important to you.
Avoid asking questions about salary at this stage of the job interview process. Wait until you have been offered a job before you start to negotiate the salary.
Check out our top 5 questions to ask at interview to get you started.
We can help you prepare for your next legal interview
With the right interview techniques under your belt, preparing for a job interview is so much simpler and you’ll have your brand new legal job in no time.
Check out our blogs and resources to help you land your next legal job;
Download our comprehensive guide to preparing for your next job interview.
Is your next interview via video? Find out how to prepare for a video interview .
If you apply for a job through Search, your dedicated recruitment consultant will help you with preparing for a job interview.
Now are you ready to put those polished interview skills to the test? If you’re seeking a new start, check out our latest legal jobs
About our expert
David has more than 13 years in legal recruitment with Search Legal. Working on a retained and contingency basis, David and the Search Legal team work to place legal professionals and grow teams for international, national and regional firms across England and Wales, and Scotland.
Successfully placing candidates in both practices and in house teams across the UK at various levels, from NQ Level and Paralegals to Senior Legal Counsel and Partners.
If you’d like to speak to David about jobs in Legal, then contact him here.