It has been said that job interviews are like first dates, in such that:
-Good impressions count.
-Awkwardness can occur.
-Outcomes are unpredictable.
These are also true for job interviews at law firms. Perhaps even more so, since as an applicant, you will potentially be filling a critical position in a workplace that demands a high level of performance that should also compensate you accordingly.
If you are a new lawyer who’s looking to secure a job at your first try, or someone who may have missed a few previous chances and are looking to raise his game, The Tenge Law Firm has made a particularly helpful infographic to help you knock your law firm interview out of the park.
Good impressions count
Say you’ve already secured an interview appointment over the phone. The very first thing you should make a point of would be to:
?Be On Time - Better yet, arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. It will show your eagerness for the position. Be kind and polite to everyone the moment you are in the vicinity, you’ll never know who might be observing you.
Even before you open your mouth, the way you look will already speak volumes about you, so make sure to:
?Dress Professionally - a well-tailored suit in black, gray, or navy, and polished shoes are a must, with minimal jewelry. The idea is to look neat and professional, so your hair must be kempt and personal hygiene at its best.
Once you’ve made a good first impression, the next step would be to follow up with sterling qualifications
?Submit a Well-Written Resume - your CV should be clear, concise, and free of errors and inaccuracies. Aside from your education and work experience, mention only notable accomplishments, avoid “fluff” at all cost.
Awkwardness can occur
No matter how much preparation you’ve had prior to the interview, things can easily go south once nervousness sets in during the interview. Some good way to lessen the factors that can throw you off would be to:
?Research the firm you will be applying at - The moment you decide to apply at a particular firm would be the time you start researching about them. Familiarize yourself with the details of the firm’s areas of practice, major accomplishments and other career-related facts. If possible, even interview individuals who have worked or are working there.
?Review potential questions - in most of these interviews, you will be given very few curveballs, many will just be run-of-the-mill questions like the ones below, just to see if you’ll be a good fit at their organization:
?Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
?Tell me about a time where you went above and beyond the call of duty at work.
?How did you overcome your biggest challenges in your previous job?
?Tell me about what’s written on your resume.
Keep in mind that the interviewer isn’t just after information, he/she is also carefully observing the way you talk and your body language, so try to relax, but also be enthusiastic and confident. Also take the opportunity to build rapport, it is often a huge factor that influences the interviewer’s decision.
?Prepare potential questions for the interviewer - Generally, you’ll be given a chance to ask questions near the end of the interview. Use this opportunity to show genuine interest by asking specific questions about the firm, based on your prior research. Frame the questions in such a way that highlights the positive aspects of the firm.
Outcomes are unpredictable
Even if you think you’ve done everything you could, there is still a possibility that you may not be considered for the job simply because another candidate is better. While there’s little you can do to change what’s on your CV, you can always minimize, and even eliminate mistakes that you might commit in the interview by learning what others did wrong. Here are some common mistakes you should be mindful of:
?Being critical of another organization - It’s never looks professional to badmouth, so resist the temptation to speak negatively about another attorney or firm when asked, even if you’ve had a bad experience with them. Always try to think up of only positive things to say.
?Projecting doubt and uncertainty - Answers must always be straightforward and delivered with confidence. Seek to eliminate hesitations, “uhm…”’s, pause for a second if you are having trouble composing your thoughts.
?Being arrogant or unprofessional - Confidence is always good, but never be cocky, even if you have the qualifications. Always be respectful to whoever is conducting the interview.
After the interview, never ever forget to send a thank you note, and a follow up. Handwritten notes are recommended, and should be personally addressed to your interviewer. Make sure to include a few points that were discussed during the interview and how it helped you.
Send the thank you note a day after. If you do not receive a reply in 1-2 weeks, send a follow up email. Keep in mind, lawyers are busy people, they may have simply missed to contact you!
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