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The importance of knowing why at interview

The importance of knowing why at interview

If you ask somebody why they like Christmas, they might say it’s because they like going to church. But what do they like about going to church? Are they someone who goes along without any agenda? If you are asking somebody this question, you want a proper answer with a meaningful reason. There’s probably more to it when you drill down and if there isn’t, what does that say about the person?

The above could be said of somebody’s reasons for being attracted by the prospect of working for a particular law firm. It’s a very common question posed by interviewers to an interviewee i.e. what do you like about our firm? Why do you want to work here? You’d be surprised by the number of candidates I speak to that haven’t really thought about what they like about the firm that they are about to interview with. I guess people think it will be easy to answer this question if it comes up during the interview, the same could be said of the why you like Christmas – easy. But when you are on the spot and the interviewers are expecting the interviewee to have really thought about why they like their firm, saying its because my friend works for you so I’ve come along see what its all about isn’t going to wash is it?!

Interviewers demand proper reasoning behind why they are attending the interview, why the job they are interviewing for appeals and why they would like to join their firm. When I say proper reasoning, I mean real deep reasons why. It maybe due to the type of work they handle, it may be because the level of the position advertised would mean a promotion. But it doesn’t end here! Why does the work appeal? Why do they want to be promoted? Candidates attending an interview need to be prepared to have their reasons dissected and be able to stand up to being interrogated. If you’re not, I’m afraid the feedback will almost certainly be something along the lines of “we liked James but he didn’t convince us of his reasons behind wanting to join us, he didn’t seem to know himself very well. Technically fine, we just weren’t convinced he knew why he was looking to join us”

Its probably the most frustrating feedback to get after an interview as its within your control to have the answers well rehearsed. Don’t let it be you!

James Brewster, Manager, BCL Legal 

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