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Commonly Asked Interview Questions

Congratulations, you have secured an interview and are busy preparing for the day. If you are fortunate to have secured your interview through BCL Legal then you will already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the interview, its structure and details regarding the role you are interviewing for.

However, it can do no harm to look at some of the most common questions that can crop up. There are of course an infinite number of questions that could be asked but I have limited those below to some of the  frequently asked questions by interviews and those asked by candidates.

Typical questions asked at Interview:

1. Why are you looking to leave?
There can be many different reasons but whatever they may be, it is always best not to be overly critical and seek to emphasise the positives in any move e.g. new opportunity, new work or career progression etc.

2. Why are you looking to join us?
This is often a loaded question aimed at ascertaining what you know about the firm, the team or the work but is also a great chance to promote yourself by drawing on your experiences to find symmetry with what the firm does. As ever preparation is key.

3. What are your financials?
Often this general question will be phrased in a number of ways but is aimed at understanding what your chargeable & billable time targets are and also how you have faired against those targets. Such information is not the be all and end all for clients but is a good indicator of how you perform but also you awareness of them is a good indicator of your commercial awareness. Wherever you can, you should have some point of reference on figures.

4. What is your involvement in business development?
As more and more law firm look to involve their lawyers in creating and recognising opportunities, business development is an important facet to have. Provide examples or instances in which you have dealt introduced work or developed networks or contacts (even if at a lower level as often those people with the partners/introducers of the future). Highlight any associations you are part of and any networks you are involved in.

5. Talk me through “x” on your CV
Less a question and more of a request, however, your CV is the initial portal to your experience, it is inevitable that your interviewers will want to expand on the experience you have highlighted. Know your CV inside and out.

Typical questions you may wish to ask:

1. Why are you looking?
Role can emerge for any number of reasons but it is useful to understand why. Is it for growth or to replace someone that has left.

2. How is the team structured and where will I fit?
Work aside, getting the right combination of personalities is very important so you will want to know who you will be working for and you will want to make sure you get chance to meet them.

3. What are the training and progression options with the role?
You will want to know how you will be supported professionally and also what the career progression prospects may be. It is not unreasonable, depending on your level of qualification, to ask what will be expected of you to progress to associate or legal director and what the timeframes may be.

You may find that all your questions are addressed by the interviewers as you go along but don’t be afraid to re-cap or seek additional clarification should you need it.

Paul Warburton.

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