So, after honing your CV skills, carefully researching the market and applying for relevant opportunities, you have finally managed to get an interview with a law firm that will take your career to the next level, but, what next? How much prep should you do? What type of interview will it be? How many stages are there? Who will I be meeting?
These are some of the many questions that will be running through your head and whilst you should always tailor your preparation to each individual meeting, below are a few hints and tips that have helped our candidates enormously over the years.
- Research the firm and the members you are meeting with.
Look them up on the company website and look up their LinkedIn profiles. Also, perform a search on Google, you never know what information you might find that is common to you – this can help build rapport in your meeting and give you the edge over your competitors. Also be prepared for the ‘why do you want to join us?’ question, doing your research into the firm properly will make this a lot easier to answer.
- Be prepared for a competency-based interview.
Inevitably your CV will list positive aspects to your personality, such as “good team player” or “works well under pressure,” for example. Try and think of a good example for each of the competency’s you have and make these personal to you. The STAR technique is an excellent way of ensuring that you do this properly:
S – Situation
Think of a recent situation where you have demonstrated the competency in question.
T – Thoughts
State specifically what your thoughts were at the time and how you assessed the way you would solve the problem.
A – Action
What specific action did you take? How, through your actions, was the problem you faced, solved?
R – Result
The end result.
- Make sure you have questions to ask.
Many good interviews are ruined by a lack of, or not very well researched questions. The chances are you will think of questions based on the content of your interview as it progresses, however it is important that you have questions prepared if this is not the case. You should ensure that the questions you ask are well thought out and not just ‘time fillers’. At the end of the day, you want the interviewers to remember you and asking good questions is an excellent way of standing out.
- Know your CV.
This may seem obvious but read over your CV thoroughly before the interview so you mind does not go blank if you are asked a specific question about your background. Also, make sure it is up to date so nothing throws you during the interview.
- Do not be negative
It is essential that you are positive and upbeat! Yes, there are going to be slightly negative reasons why you are looking for a new position in the first place, but you should not put a negative light on your experience to date or overly criticise your current firm.
- Do not lack confidence
Yes, easier said than done, particularly if you are not the most confident at interviewing, but the best way to allay any nerves you may have is to prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare! Do all the necessary research into the firm, people and role and you will find that, in all likelihood, the interview will run very smoothly.
- ‘We’ instead of ‘I’
‘We’ can give the impression that you only played a small part in helping to win as opposed to something that you were solely responsible for. The most important thing is to highlight your achievements and the role you played in successes, honestly. You only have a short time to sell yourself and stand out from the rest of the candidates, so anything that can give you the edge should be used to your advantage.
- Try not to leave your personality at the door!
Interviews can be tricky and vary enormously from one to the next, so thought should always be given to each individual meeting you are attending. Interviewers differ – HR will conduct an interview a lot differently to Associates or Partners. Some will be formal, and some will be conversational, but the key to a successful interview is preparation of all aspects regardless of what you might be expecting, so polish up your technical skills, research everything and be yourself. They already like what they have seen in your CV, or you wouldn’t be there!