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Law firms are looking for so much more than a solicitor in the interview process. They are looking for an all rounder with business acumen, commercial nous and a personality that will charm and entertain clients.
There has been a change in interview techniques. Partners are assessing candidates in a different way and appear to be more impressed with candidates who are creative and fun.
I imagine they are putting themselves in their clients’ shoes and wondering how they might perceive the candidate in question on a social and human level as well as looking at their academic ability.
Candidates are being tasked with providing entertaining, creative answers to competency based interview questions. A client told me he wanted to offer a candidate a job on the basis that she provided an entertaining response to a competency based question that had nothing to do with the job in question or her skills as a solicitor. Despite the fact that she was more junior and didn’t have the requisite legal experience for the role, the Partner told me he ‘couldn’t let that one go’ and, on the basis of her winning personality, created a position for her.
Knowing what clients want helps us identify candidates more appropriately and I know there are some clients who are more interested in the individuals’ skills as a person knowing they can be molded to suit the role. This helps in this economic climate where candidates with certain skill sets are hard to find. For example, the lady I mentioned earlier was offered a commercial role having had experience dealing with non contentious construction. The Partners were suitably satisfied that she had transferable skills but it was her winning personality that landed her the dream job.
Technical skills are a prerequisite when applying for a role but don’t forget to let your personality and charisma shine through.