Tom  Shaw
Tom Shaw
Associate Director

Articles From the Team

Four interview hacks that'll help you at every interview

No matter how easy some might find it to talk about themselves, most people find interviews daunting. By having a game-plan and getting the small stuff right, you regain control and give yourself the best chance to showcase your abilities; all too often, the main thing that lets interviewees down, is in their control to change had they simply taken the time get the small stuff right. If you take action and follow the below before every interview, you’ll give yourself the best shot at success.

Do your research

This seems obvious but all too often we see lawyers walk into interviews having put in little effort in learning about the business. You’re trying to impress someone who knows the business inside out, holds it in high regard and is likely to expect you to do the same. A lack of research suggests a lack of interest in the role as well as a lack of commercial acumen, and it’s a pitfall that’s overcome with a small amount of time on your laptop. This is where a good recruiter proves their worth; they should have a good understanding of the business and be able to pass this on to you. You’ll be asked “why us?” in one guise or another so make your answers stand out with a bit of work beforehand and do your research.

Be polite to everyone you meet

Once you arrive in the building, treat everyone you meet as if they were the decision-maker. Be polite, courteous and professional. On rare occasions, this can make the difference. It’ll also make you more relaxed, putting you at ease, which will make you appear more confident and comfortable in your surroundings. On one occasion we made a placement and the Head of Legal commented that it’d been a tough and tight decision; after the successful candidate left the building, the receptionist commented to the decision-maker on what a lovely lady she’d been!

Know your CV inside-out

Once again, this is an obvious point but it’s one that’s frequently missed. If this is the first stage interview, your CV is the interviewer’s only guide in relation to your suitability. They will have looked through it, picked out what they like (and what they don’t), and what they need more information on.

Again, this is where a good recruiter is worth their weight in gold. They’ll have taken CV feedback from the business and from this they should give you guidance on points of interest or concern. Listen to their feedback and try to pre-empt what the interviewer is likely to ask in relation to the role.

Be mindful of the usual points interviewers will want to pick up on. What does your CV say about your motivations? Are there jumps between employers, sectors, or career gaps? If you have answers prepped and ready to go then the interview process will run much more smoothly. It can be uncomfortable having to answer questions on your career decisions to date, so having responses in your mind will put you at ease.

Make use of your time there!

Asking relevant and engaging questions during the interview has a number of benefits. Not only does it show you’re interested in the position, it’ll reveal what’s important to you to the interviewer. If you sense that team fit is an important factor to them (again, your recruiter should know this and advise you accordingly!), then probing them on this will show it’s important to you too.

Aside from showing you’re engaged in the process, asking questions also helps to clarify your thoughts on the role. Interviews and the wider job-hunting process is a two-way street. This is your time to find out - from the key person - whether they’re right for you. Your prior research might’ve thrown some questions up about the business as a whole, but this is a good time to ask about the structure and working life. Use the time wisely and you’ll not only show off your interest in the opportunity but it’ll help you to work out whether the opportunity is right for you.

This is a small fragment of interview advice. If you found this helpful and would like some further advice.

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