Learn how to prepare for a job interview.
One of the questions I am asked most frequently is: “What is the best way to prepare for an interview?” Candidates that ask the question are likely to perform well as they realise that in a competitive market interview preparation is critical to helping you stand out from your peers.
People prepare in different ways but my top five tips would be:
• Re-read your CV: This sounds obvious but every week I hear about candidates who are taken by surprise by their own CV. Ensure you are prepared to discuss anything mentioned in your CV. Think about your contribution to different parts of your experience, the value you added and what you learned. Be ready to explain why you were promoted, moved companies or took a career break.
• Technical questions: Ensure that your knowledge of case law and legislation relevant to the role you are applying for is both up-to-date and robust.
• Research the firm: At a minimum you need to be familiar with what the firm you are applying to says about themselves on their website: practice areas; key individuals; news etc. Successful candidates go the extra mile and research the firm in the legal press. This extra layer of knowledge gives interviewers confidence you are interested in them, not simply looking for any old job. It will also give you more confidence and give you a feel for whether the culture will be a good fit for you.
• Research your interviewers: Most employers will tell us who will be interviewing you enabling you to do some research. Knowing about your interviewers before meeting them will not only give you confidence and help you build rapport but can also help you anticipate questions you will likely be asked at interview. Use the employer’s website and individuals’ LinkedIn profiles to get an indication of your interviewers’ type of work, client base and sector focus. Read any articles they have written as this can provide a strong discussion point.
• Prepare questions to ask: Interviews are a two way process and as well as showing the interviewers why you are right for the role it is an opportunity to find out if the role and team are right for you. Preparing six questions ahead of the interview will likely avoid you scrambling to think of something to ask at the end of the interview. I would suggest preparing two for each of the following areas: 1) The firm; 2) the team / vacancy and 3) the interviewers themselves.
Preparing well for interviews takes practice and time, however, the research you put in will mean you spend less time trying to secure offers and more time choosing which one to accept.