in Careers Advice, Interviews

Legal Job Interview Question and Answer – Describe a Situation in which you dealt with confrontation, for example a difficult customer?

Advice

This is an answer that most people can probably conjure up from somewhere as most of the workforce will have dealt with difficult customers. Everyone has had to deal with some sort of confrontation in their lives, whether in a sporting, academic or work environment. Try to think of a work-based example as these are so much more effective and relevant to the job interview process. Ensure that you have an example to give where there was a positive result to the situation and where you did something specific yourself. The important thing is to think of a specific incident not a general set of incidents which is a mistake quite a lot of people make with this answer.

Examples of Answers
“Whilst working as a paralegal at Smith & Co for the last 18 months I was asked to deal with a client who had recently changed solicitors following bad customer service from the previous firm he had been with. My instructions were to make sure that we offered 110% customer service to this client to ensure his future business stayed with our practice. The client proved to be quite difficult to start with and confronted me to complain about three or four different issues that had already arisen and were not to his liking. I dealt with each one of these in turn and promised him that if there were any future incidents of a similar nature I would deal with them immediately and to his satisfaction. One of these complaints related to a lack of communication with the firm after 5pm but before 7pm when his company finished for the day. I spoke with my manager and we agreed that cover would be arrange for his company between 5 and 7 pm as this was when he needed the most support. In view of the value of this client, arrangements were made for me to have a mobile phone so that this client could stay in contact between those hours and to ensure excellent customer service.”

Or:

“Whilst working at Next as a retail assistant a customer brought back some items of clothing that had clearly been worn and without a receipt. Company policy dictated that a refund was not to be given in these circumstances. In fact there was nothing wrong with the clothes and they were fairly worn out. I informed the customer of this and she got very angry and quite aggressive. There was nobody else in the shop, including management, and I was required to deal with this on my own. I repeated the company policy to the customer and she continued to get more angry. I explained to her that if she did have a problem I would provide her with the postal address of the company’s headquarters and she could write there to make a complaint about the store and the policy in question. This calmed her down and she left the store without any further complaints.”

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