Charlotte Newton
Charlotte Newton
Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

The ultimate pre-interview checklist: don't overlook these details

Interviewing is always nerve-racking. Even if you’re incredibly experienced: most people find it genuinely hard to ‘sell’ themselves.

The best way to fight those nerves is all in the preparation; a lot of effort at this stage positions you in the best light possible.

But interview prep doesn't stop at revising your answers to generic or suspected interview questions. In fact, the focus it takes to do so can distract lawyers from the finer and more practical details that are key to curbing nerves.

If you're working with a good legal recruiter they should give you a heads up on all of the below. If not, grill them: ask as many questions as you need to. If they skip over any of these essential details, I'd start questioning their agenda and whether they have your interests at heart. A vague recruiter rings alarm bells.

Don't make the mistake of many others: don't overlook anything within the following checklist.

The law firm itself

Interviewers don’t expect you to be an expert on the firm - and remember, an interview is a perfect chance to also learn about them. However, consider the following:

  • A brief history of the firm and its performance and values is a great starting point
  • Take it one step further to see if the firm's featured in any recent news. Look at the firm's website news section or Google search for recent press articles

Who you're meeting

  • Their background and role
  • What type of work they do
  • What clients they work with
  • Is there any crossover with the work you currently do?
  • How long have they been with the firm?
  • If you're working with one, has your legal recruiter met them? If so, what can they tell you about them?

The role

  • Why's the role arisen?
  • What work will you be doing?
  • Why are they interested in you? What's on your CV that appeals to them?
  • Just as importantly, what interests YOU about the firm and the role? Why?

The team

A good legal recruiter will have inside knowledge of the team structure and culture. Alternatively, check the website and conduct a little LinkedIn research to determine the following:

  • Structure of the current team and where you'd fit in
  • What's the background of the people in the team?
  • Who you'd report to?

The interview

  • What's the interview format? Is the initial interview a 'get to know each other' Q&A format or will it entail a CV run-through and competency-based questions? Will there be a panel or any psychometric testing?
  • How many stages are there? If there's more than one, what's the format of each stage?

As stated, all good legal recruiters should go through the interview preparation with you, but your own research is just as crucial. Don't get caught out over something quite simple like a lack of knowledge around the interview format; unless you're a master in winging it (who is?), this will bring your nerves to a whole new level.

Whether you’re an NQ looking for your first role, or a partner looking for a change, preparation is always essential - in all forms.

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