Preparing For The Interview
Preparation is key to any successful interview. Most interviews last around one hour. There may be a panel of interviewers but more often if it is the first interview there will be one or two interviewers present.
Location & Personnel
Ensure that you are aware of exactly where the interview is. Print off a map from the internet and check travelling time.
Check the job title and the full names of the interviewers before the meeting. If there is a job specification make sure that you have seen this and read it. If you are being interviewed by partners make sure you have read their Partner profiles and you have researched them.
Read the firm’s own web site details analysing the type of work they do and the type of clients they deal with. If they have recently merged with another firm or recruited a team it is necessary to know also if they have won work recently.
Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners will tell you about specialist areas of law, recommended individuals at the firm and the percentage split of work across the practice. You can also read about their competitors and recent updates. The Lawyer, Legal Week, the Law Society Gazette and their respective web sites publish current information about firms so they are all worth checking before the interview. Also read any business related journals.
Be sure to read your CV before the meeting and take a copy with you. Be prepared to answer any questions on any topical. Ensure you are fully conversant with any particular areas of law you have shown a knowledge of on the CV.
Please see CV Advice for further information
These are all deliberately ‘open’ questions. Examples of typical questions are:
- Why do you want to leave your current firm?
- Why are you interested in joining our organisation?
- What types of people do you work well with/not work well with?
- What would you say have been your greatest successes in your current position?
- What would you have done differently in your current position?
- Give us examples of how your management style has been effective?
- What have you learnt over the course of the last 5 years?
- What have you done that shows initiative in your current position?
- How would your team describe you?
- What are your career goals?
- How are you at prioritising?
- Give examples of your delegation skills?
- What is the most difficult thing you have ever done at work?
- Will you be available to travel during the week?
- What do you think your current firm will do when you resign?
- What are your long-term aims?
- How good are you at:
- Time recording
- Dealing with targets
- Marketing/Business Development
Questions to ask
- How has this opportunity become available?
- What is the structure of the department?
- What is the culture of the firm? Is there an open door policy?
- How much training, support and development opportunity will there be?
- What are the future plans of the business/department?
- Who do you regard as your main competitors?
- How do you appraise the performance of your staff?
- What are the long term prospects for the person who gets the job?
- What IT systems do you have in place currently?
- How many files on average will you be expected to handle?
- How much business development will you be expected to be involved in?
- Does the organisation encourage marketing, development of client relations?
- Will you have responsibility for any junior members of the team?
- How many chargeable hours are staff expected to bill per month?
- What is the ratio of support staff to fee earner?
- Is the office open plan or cellular?
- Who would you report directly to?