in Careers Advice, Interviews

Interview Question & Answer 28 – Describe a situation where you are asked to do something you had never attempted previously.

Advice

This is a competency based interview question and should be one that you are able to put forward a positive strength and experience that relate specifically to the post you are applying for. so for example if one of the requirements of the post you are going for is that you have experience handling a specific type of project then use this question to get over the point that you have the experience and describe the first time that you obtained it. By doing so you will score two points, one for answering the question well and the second for putting forward something that is relevant to the post you are applying for.

Use the STAR technique to answer the question, to describe the situation, explain the task you were given, state the action you took and give the result. Good examples are specific projects or use of skill sets and bad examples would be something too vague or general or with a negative connotation.

Examples of Answers

“When I was working as a trainee solicitor the firm had a shortage of qualified solicitors to attend at County Court and deal with a hearing in Chambers. I was asked to go down and undertake the necessary advocacy. This was the first time I have been to Court and I had not met the clients nor did I know anything about the case. I thoroughly read the case so that I was aware of the salient points and attended at Court. The hearing went smoothly and the outcome was that I started to do advocacy on a regular basis as I had completed that position effectively. My advocacy experience has continued to progress and I am now rarely out of Court during the average working week.”

Or:

“Whilst learning to ski the instructor decided it was time to take us down a black run, although this was only my third lesson. I confessed to having been slightly hesitant about this and somewhat nervous but went ahead and followed the instructor as part of a group down the slope. Despite feeling that I was about to die, we managed to get to the bottom and I have continued to ski down red and black runs quite happily ever since.”

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 17 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at www.legalcareercoaching.co.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk