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Barr Ellison Solicitors.
Interview Preparation Tips
Preparation for interview
It is very important to remember that no two legal job interviews are the same and that you can always improve your interview style with thorough preparation. The interview is your opportunity to make an impression to the law firm, to help you find out more about the vacancy and the company culture.
Prior to the interview it is important to think about all the reasons why you are attending the meeting and consider what you have to offer as a solicitor, legal executive, practice manager, or maybe paralegal, and how you will convey this. This is an opportunity to find out about the Partners or owners of the company, the practising solicitors, the secretarial or team support, the case management system and the areas of law the company practices in.
What is an employer looking for?
Solicitors, Partnerships, LLPs and Legal 500 firms use the interview process to ascertain knowledge, skills, qualifications, team fit and willingness to contribute. They also want to understand your career goals, establish how you communicate, consider how you will manage client meetings and then test your loyalty, trustworthiness and suitability against the legal job you are applying for. It is always helpful to take examples of work and professional certificates such as SRA or CILEx.
Research legal companies
From employers we are told there is nothing more disappointing as when a candidate oozes enthusiasm, yet they do not know the most basic facts and figures about a company.
Look at the firm's website it will give you valuable information.
Read any press releases and Google the company and partners.
Check out profiles on social media www.linkedin.com
Read the job description and make sure you understand the job requirements.
First impressions at job interviews
Dress Appropriately - Without exception you should always wear business attire, even if you are aware that the Company has a casual dress policy.
Location & Time - Ensure you have directions, a map, suitable satnav postcodes. Plan your route and know where you are parking. If you are using public transport have a timetable. Don’t be late, allow additional time you can always get a coffee if you are early. If you are unavoidably late, call the interviewer at your earliest opportunity and politely explain the circumstances.
Demeanor - Be polite to everyone that you meet at the client’s premises, including security staff and receptionists. You never know whom you are engaging with, it could be the Partners son or daughter.
The first handshake - When introduced, smile, stand up, eye contact is important and give an assertive professional handshake. If you are naturally shy, practice with friends.
Nerves – Your CV has already given your future employer a positive impression as you have been invited for an interview! It is natural to feel a little anxious, but think about who you are meeting with, it is not in their interest to be intimidating. The HR Manager, Legal Partner, Practice Manager or Recruiting Manager gain absolutely nothing from a poor interview so they will make an effort to start the meeting with some general conversation to put you at ease. Be amenable to this as this is an important time to build rapport with the interviewer and it will give you an opportunity to calm any nerves you have.
If you are offered a coffee, tea or glass of water, do accept it. At times you may welcome a sip to consider an answer to a question, and again it demonstrates politeness.
Body language – sit comfortably and upright and try not to cross your arms.