in Careers Advice, Interviews

Legal Job Interview Question and Answer – describe a situation in which you were a member of a team – what did you do to positively contribute to it?

Advice

This is the classic competency based interview question that gets asked time and time again in some form or another. It does not matter who you are and what your circumstances, there must have always been a time when you were a member of a team and you are able to give this information in an interesting way to the interviewer. The best examples are of course work related, but there are plenty of others such as sporting and academic situations that you are able to utilise.

Use the STAR based response (Situation, Task, Action, Result) and make sure you concentrate on your input to the team regardless of how the question is put.

Try to avoid anything negative and make sure you pick an example where there has been a particularly positive outcome.

Examples of Answers

“Whilst working at the library in Cardiff we were tasked with opening a new section containing audio books and DVDs. The management team set up a task force to do this and I was appointed a member because of my previous experience working in a library environment which already had this in place.

The task force needed to identify a suitable location for the new section and to make adjustments to the overall stock of the library in order to accommodate it. This involved careful negotiation with heads of departments and the other librarians to ensure that the new section did not adversely affect anyone else’s. My role was to ensure that this went smoothly.

I immediately arranged a meeting for all the librarians to have their input and express their concerns about the new section and its location. We used the feedback from this meeting to determine the space to use and to ensure that the transition went in accordance with both the wishes of the librarians but also to reflect the determination of the management to create and run this new section effectively.

The outcome was that within a matter of weeks we had the new section up and running and a survey of staff after implementation indicated that over 90% were satisfied with the way this had been handled.”

Or:

“At university I was secretary of the Fell Walking Club. On a walk up Snowdon, North Wales in February, we were due to be ascending one of the ridge walks with a plan to do the Snowdon Horseshoe. However we discovered on starting up the mountain that there was a sheet of ice covering one of the walks and that our group did not have crampons or ice axes. The leaders of the group discussed the situation and I suggested that we either split into two groups with those comfortable walking and dealing with ice to carry on and those not to go round and use an alterative path. The leader of the walk considered the situation and decided that in the circumstances the best option would be to keep the group together and go round. The outcome of this was that we completed the walk and had an enjoyable day.”

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