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