in Careers Advice, Interviews

Top Tips for Succeeding at Legal Job Interviews

Interview Survival Tips
Top tips for surviving legal job interviews:

1. Do not exaggerate your abilities.
We have recently had a conveyancing candidate claim she could run files from start to finish and work independently. The solicitors firm in question arranged a full test to check this and discovered that actually this was definitely not true. The partner confided to me that if the candidate had been honest with the firm from the outset they would almost certainly have made an offer but lacked the trust to do so following the untrue claim to competency.
2. Promote yourself mercilessly.
Make sure you continually push yourself to the firm and don’t let the interviewers take over the interview. So many interviewers are skilled at talking about themselves and lack any ability to ask the interviewee any relevant questions. You may think that a one-sided interview has gone well, but this is unlikely if you haven’t actually said anything!
3. Never, under any circumstances, reveal your personal opinions on politics, religion or general thoughts on the nation. Try to sit on the fence.
4. Questions about negative points should be used to your advantage wherever possible. Try to dodge the questions – watch or listen to an interview with a politician for lessons on how to do this. They have an agenda for any interview with points to get across and they stick to these..
5. Think carefully about your responses, but do not take too long. A 30 second delay is probably a bit too much for anyone to bear! I used to work with a solicitor who was an expert at this. He paused for very long periods of time and then spoke. It was virtually unbearable!
6. Practice. Think through awkward questions and deal with them in advance.
7. Smile or look interested at all times. Maintain eye contact or be considered nervous, shifty or just plain rude.
8. Try to always think about what the interviewer is looking for – a competent lawyer, someone they can work with who has similar interests, someone who is going to be an asset to the firm.
9. Do not make things up to make yourself look good. So easy to do in the heat of the moment, but something that will often come back to haunt you..
10. Enjoy the experience and relax. The more relaxed you are, the more chance you have of being offered the job. Very easy to say – very hard to do..

Jonathan Fagan is MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment.

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