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Interviews are a Two Way Process

So, you have secured an interview for your dream job, and suddenly the whole interview process becomes as daunting as climbing Mount Everest. You will of course be interviewed by dragons and will become completely tongue-tied and unable to communicate coherently – or maybe not…

Preparation is key for your interview. Not to just show the interviewers you have researched their firm and are genuinely interested in the opportunity on offer, but because it will make you feel confident and more relaxed for your face-to-face meeting.

Most solicitors are not natural sales people, but unfortunately your interview is a sales meeting – it is an opportunity for you to shine and to sell yourself to the interviewers. It is not a time to be modest and bashful, you must explain to the interviewers why you are perfect for the job and exactly what it is you can do for them.

Let’s dispel a certain myth. The interviewers are not there with the sole purpose of trying to trip you up and to make you feel one inch tall. The interviewers are wanting you to do well and to get the job. They have not taken an hour out of their busy work schedule for nothing. Think how much your firm’s partners’ hourly charge out rate is? – so they are already investing time and money in you by arranging the interview.

Therefore you need to give them as much reason as possible to offer you a second interview or, even better, the job. Think of five or six case study examples to showcase your experience – perhaps one case or deal that was particularly complex or of high value, or perhaps it involved a recent change in the law. Think of any business development experience you have gained – perhaps you’ve attended various marketing or networking events, breakfast meetings or lunch seminars, maybe you helped design the firm’s website or have written an article for the firm’s newsletter? – all of these could give you additional information to discuss at interview, showing you in a highly positive light and hopefully putting you above the competition.

Towards the end of the interview, I always think it is worth asking the interviewers if they have any doubts or concerns, if there is anything they would like you to clarify? When everything has all gone nice and smoothly this might seem like rather an odd question to ask, but far better you have the chance to address any concerns there and then than let them blow out of all proportion in the interviewer’s mind the minute you leave the room. It might be an area of law they think you haven’t covered – but you have, so give your example and off you go! If they do ask you about something you haven’t done, admit it but say that you have done x, y and z and have transferable skills, so not a problem at all. They might say they were particularly interested in a certain area of law you mentioned you had covered – and then you know you are going down a line of questioning that’s of real importance to them. Equally, they might say that they can’t think at all why they wouldn’t take things forward, so that psychologically when they think back on your interview, they will remember this positive comment – always useful when you have to assume they are interviewing a number of people.

Relax and enjoy your interview as much as possible. It is definitely a two way process and you need to find out as much information about them as they do about you. If you like the sound of what you hear, tell the interviewers. It sounds obvious, but so many times clients will say to us that they really liked a candidate but have no idea if the candidate liked them. So tell them – boosting someone’s ego (within reason!) is not going to do you any harm.

So, to get to that all important interview for your dream job in the first place, that’s where I, Tracy Harris, at BCL Legal, come in. I place solicitors and legal executives at all levels into private practice across the West and South Midlands (Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire) and the Thames Valley (Oxfordshire and Berkshire) in a wide range of disciplines to include commercial property, corporate, employment, commercial litigation, property litigation, insolvency, construction and family law. Not only will we work together to secure your dream job interview, I will also make sure that you go in there fully prepared and therefore positively confident and with the best possible chance of securing your dream job. So, let’s get the ball rolling – please call me in strict confidence and you will soon be looking forward to that dream job interview, not dreading it!

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