Articles From the Team

Be positive, engaging and look to the future...

Looking for a new job can be a stressful experience – it’s time consuming and the very reason you are looking often stems from a negative situation.

If you are already employed while looking, naturally you may have reasons for leaving your current firm which are negative and have prompted you to look elsewhere.

Interviews differ hugely – some formal, some less so, but they are all delivered to probe prospective candidates, to understand their legal experience in greater depth, to test their academic ability, to probe into their competencies (including communication, leadership skills and teamwork), and to discuss strengths and weaknesses, aspirations, drive and motivations.  These questions will inevitably lead to a discussion on why you are looking to leave your current firm.  When faced with this as a candidate, it is vitally important to strike a balance of replying honestly but positively – too much negativity towards your current employer can produce bad vibes and cause your prospective new employer to question your credibility.  Key tips to remember are:

  1. Don’t be overly negative – To criticise your current law firm or supervisor, however bad the experience, is professionally questionable.  The legal market is small, and you just don’t know how well your interviewer knows the people you currently work with.  Not only that, if you disrespect your current employer, the interviewers may query your personality and ability to get on with others, and make them question your ability to transition smoothly into their team.  Instead, emphasise where you want to take your role and career going forward – focusing on the quality of work or client base can avoid focusing on a bad situation or relationship with a firm.
  2. Tell the truth – Interviewers generally always contact your current employer for references, and may even know your current supervisor personally.  If it becomes apparent that you have been creative with the truth, whether it be about academics, experience or appraisals, this will seriously put your new job into jeopardy.  Be upfront in the interview, which will give a chance for an open discussion on the topic.  It’s ok to say ‘I’m not sure, but I’m eager to learn’ – honesty and a positive attitude cannot fail to impress.
  3. Focus on the future – Research shows that employers, including law firms, are most interested in your reasons for wanting to join their company, your attraction to the job you are applying for and excitement about the new opportunity.  Instead of dwelling on your current or past positions, emphasise what you are looking forward to in the new role – this will give your interviewers confidence about your commitment to the job, show enthusiasm and positivity for your future at the firm.

These tips can be a very subtle change in the way you present yourself at interview, but hugely beneficial.  Remember, be positive, engaging and look to the future.  The same advice goes if you are asked about competitors in the market.  Do not criticise too quickly, especially with out good reason.  Instead always be prepared to give an analysis of their strengths, which will give off a much more rounded statement and present you more credibly.

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