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The Secret to Interview Success
The Secret to Interview Success, in truth , neither a big secret nor rocket science but it can be surprising sometimes that when taking post-interview feedback a common theme can emerge.
There are, of course, many components to the interview process some very subtle and some quite obvious. To fail on the obvious, the things you could have done something about will be the thing that you will kick yourself the most for. It is best therefore to not fall down at that first hurdle.
The Secret to Interview Success? It is simple – preparation.
It is not an earth shattering revelation but a few examples of late have reminded me of the real emphasis that I must put on this. On at least two occasions, clients have reported back following an interview to say that they candidate had performed well but did not seem to know too much about the firm and what was happening in Manchester. That was particularly disappointing given that (i) I had provided detailed information and (ii) the firm in question had been very active in Manchester and, at least, a general awareness of things would have resonated very well with the interviewers.
Preparation comes in two key forms.
Firstly, preparation about yourself – know your CV and your experience but also have a clear understanding in your mind of (i) why you are looking to move and (ii) what you are looking for in your next move. The ability to speak confidently, openly and convincingly about your rationale for wanting to move will show the interviewer that you have considered your position, the opportunity and are committing to the process. To make something up on the spot or not having formulated in your mind the rationale is dangerous as you run the risk that the message you want to convey does not get across.
Secondly, preparation about the firm – There is always a plethora of information about firms both with the legal directories, linked in as well as on the firm’s website. Current news sections highlight recent activity on local and national markets and can prove to be a great means to demonstrate your interest in the firm. It can also prove a very fertile ground to draw reference to your own experience to something the firm may have done recently. Not all of the information you can gather will come out at interview but it is far better to walk away without having used all of the information at your disposal than having no information whatsoever at first instance.
We will always look to give you an overview of a firm, its culture and the role itself but that should not preclude deeper digging on your part.
As I reflected on the interview process, it dawned on me that in some instances, your next move could centre around 2 or maybe 3 interviews of an hour in duration. So in total you may get 3 hours to impress and obtain a decision that will hopefully get you your next move which will have an impact on your career for years. On that basis alone it is clearly worth the investment of time it takes to do your due diligence and be as best equipped as you can be for an interview.