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It is rarely said that over-preparation has resulted in an unsuccessful interview, but what sort of preparation is most effective.
Firstly, there will always be the chance to speak to us regarding the particular role or opportunity and we will do our best to give you an overview of the specific role, the team structure, culture and personalities of those you will be meeting (together with the format of the interview itself). It is often the case that when setting up an interview that arranging the date is the first priority and chances are you may not yet now what information you want/need. That is why remains important to stay in regular contact leading up to your interview. We will always do our best to answer any questions you have or indeed find out any information you require.
As regards the interview itself, these can take many forms though the most common (certainly at first stage) is the “CV based” with the slightly tougher “technical” interview often reserved for a later stage in the process. In both instances a number of common threads emerge and it would be sensible to consider these the basic requirements for preparation:
(i) Firm’s Website – this can be an invaluable source of information and its exploration should not be limited to the discipline you are looking to join. The website can not only tell you the full range of services the firm offers but can provide an insight into its culture and ethos. The “News/Recent events” section can provide a great source of information on current events and key topics of interest in the current market. Some firms will often prepare and make available legal bulletins and it is always useful to review those in the context of your chosen discipline.
(ii) Partner Profiles – again these can be a great source of information on the people you will be meeting. More often, partner profiles now add a personal dimension so you may be able find and identify common ground/interest with your interviewees.
(iii) Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 – again, this can highlight the relative position of the team in the context of its competition as well as what the market thinks of the firm and individuals within the team.
(iv) Law Society Website – this can provide a good overview of other members of the team and the relative structure of a department relative to the number of assistants/associates/directors and partners. Whilst useful it is not always up to date and should be used as a guide only.
In addition to the above resources, which will show to your interviewees that you know about the firm, the team and are able to explain why you are interested in joining them, the most important preparation comes from knowing your CV inside and out. In most cases, all interviewing partners will know about you will be what is contained in your CV. Your CV can often be the framework for questioning in order to understand your experience level. It is therefore vital that you know what your CV says and can expand further on any examples/cases you have identified and talk about your involvement in them together with what you have taken from those experiences and how you can apply that elsewhere.
Preparation remains key but is also to be born in mind that the interview process is a two way street and is also forum for you to ask any questions you may have. Above all, try to relax and be yourself!