in Careers Advice, Interviews

Legal Job Interview Question and Answer – are you satisfied with your academic achievements to date?

Advice

This
question is often asked where an interviewer has identified that you
have a specific weak point on your CV, for example you have a low grade
at A Level or have a Third Class Degree. The question is designed to
pick you up on whether you respond negatively or positively to this
question. If you have a weak point on your CV then it is almost
certainly that it will be what the interviewer is aiming at. They are
most likely to be waiting to see whether or not you defend your
achievements or you state that you have failed in some way. A better way
of approaching the answer if you do have any such issues is to move
away from the question completely and try to get the topic of
conversation onto something different. An example of how to do this is
given below.

If
your academic achievements are consistently good then there is nothing
to stop you saying that you are satisfied with them but that there is
always room for improvement in everything that you do, although you do
not strive for perfection you do always try to look at improving
yourself and your skills.

Examples of Answers

“My
academic record is something I have never been particularly satisfied
with. However my career started in 1994 and I have always given my best
to everything I have done and I am fully satisfied with it. I am very
proud of my achievements to date, particularly those where I have
identified and saved my employers considerable sums of money through the
introduction of new processes such as x.”

Or:

“Yes.
My academic record reflects the work I put in at the time and on the
whole I am very pleased with my achievements. You can see from my CV
that I have attained a 2:1 in law from a good university and have good A
Levels. These are achievements I am particularly proud of.”.

Or:

“No.
My academic achievements could have been much better and ever since my
early years I have always strived to improve my position, both at work
and in play. I always aim for the highest level I can, whether this is
in quality of my work or in attainment of a particular level. You can
see from my CV that since 1996 I have always achieved what I set out to
do.”

(You
will note from the above examples that the answers do not include the
issue that the interviewer may be trying to get at, for example a poor
GCSE or A Level grade of a general lack of education).

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