in Careers Advice, Interviews

Legal Job Interview Question and Answer – Can you give me evidence that you set yourself high personal standards?

Advice

This is a particular type of question where you need to have a number of examples of work you have undertaken in the past or present that can be tailored according to the question asked.  You need to think of specific examples where potentially you have completed a task well. However because this was not up to your usual extremely high standard you have needed to spend more time putting more effort to complete the task to your own satisfaction.

It is probably best to concentrate on work examples wherever possible but if you are a junior member of staff without a work history to date you could refer to a time in your sporting interests or your academic background when you have achieved a high goal rather than just a pass.

The other way of approaching the question is to consider it from a moral level and talk about an incident where you have had to identify that something was morally incorrect that you have high personal standards in relation to this.  This is not the question being asked and you should try and focus wherever possible on the idea of achieving high standards and concentrating if you can on work examples.

Examples of Answers

“Yes.  I was recently involved in a project to reduce waste at one of our sites and by introducing a whole raft of measures we managed to cut costs by roughly 20%.  My manager was extremely pleased with this outcome but I felt that there was considerably more we could have done to reduce waste further and I re-visited the project a few months later in my own time and identified a further 15% cut in waste through a further range of measures.  I like to complete projects to the best of my ability and if I feel I have not I will go back and do further work if necessary.”

Or:

“Yes.  I won two prizes when graduating from university. I achieved the highest result in clinical negligence and land law and this was a result of hard work and demonstrates my determination to achieve high personal standards.”

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