Quick Interview Guide – how to prepare

7 Aug 2015

Interviews are nerve wrecking experiences for most of us. Preparation is the key to success. If you are prepared then it is easier to be yourself without the nerves taking over. Being yourself portrays honesty and trust worthiness, something all employers value in potential employees. So, you may ask, how do I prepare?

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Be aware of the purpose for the interview

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For the interviewer

    • To find out what the candidate is like. 
    • To ascertain if the candidate can do the job – this will involve evaluating a persons skills, based on their experience and ability.
    • The employer will also evaluate the persons attitude, for example, their behaviour as well as their values and beliefs.

For the interviewee

    • To sell yourself. Everyone has the ability to sell with impact. The key to a good salesperson is their knowledge of the product. In an interview think of yourself as the product; who else has better knowledge of yourself than you.

 

First impressions are vital

    • Research your potential employers and their business to emphasise your preparation. Showing that you have prepared consequently shows your effort.
    • Tailor what you say, how you say it and your body language to reflect openness, honesty and confidence from the moment you walk in. An impression is formed within the first 5 seconds of meeting your interviewer.

How will you excel in the three main duties of a Lawyer?

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The important bit. You need to be able to prove that you are more than just a pencil pusher and have the potential to progress and aid the business. 

 

Business Development

    • Think about how you will help to win new clients. 
    • What is your experience of networking? 

 

Fee Earning

    • How will you demonstrate experience in billing? 
    • Examples of any other ‘fee work’ is vital here. 
    • How would you help increase revenue for the firm. 

 

Admin

    • How will you demonstrate organisational skills? 
    • Can you follow processes? If so give relevant examples. 

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Dress Appropriately

The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ unfortunately is not greatly applicable to interviews. Make sure your physical appearance reflects your professionalism. Once you have researched what type of firm you are being interviewed by, whether it be a more modern firm or traditional law firm then apply this knowledge to how you present yourself.

 

Monitor your body language

    • Create eye contact with all interviewers.
    • Have an open posture. For example; don’t cross you arms as this acts as a wall between yourself and the interviewers, employers of law firms know how to spot this far too well.
    • Friendly and enthusiastic facial expressions create an overall positive atmosphere.
    • Speak clearly as this portrays confidence in what you say.
    • Confident in what you say is vital to a job in law.
    • Try to keep any nervous tics or gestures under control.

 

Be objective as well as subjective

    • Outline your goals.
    • How do you want to grow in the business?
    • Objectivity shows ambition which is a trait that all employers value.

 

Practice how to answer potential interview questions

    • Be specific – employers don’t want a generic answer which they have probably heard from the previous ten interviewees. They want to hear something different, something that makes you stand out and something they will remember you by.
    • Backing up statements with examples is great but make sure they are topical, recent and work-related.
    • Using the first person pronoun in interviews means the focus is always on you. Give details of how, why and what you did, the focus should never defer from this.
    • Once again, be yourself! If your answers reflect you trying to be someone you are not, employers will see straight through this and assume you are lacking in confidence with who you are.