Secrets of a successful interview
Here at First Counsel we think we are generally pretty adept at matching the right person to the right opportunities, but what we cannot do is sit alongside our candidates at their interviews and help them through what can be a challenging experience. So in the first of a series of pieces on navigating the interview process we are looking at the crucial task of preparing for an interview.
Research and thought are the keys to interview preparation: research – on the firm generally, the practice group specifically and the people you are meeting; and thought – in relation to why you are moving, what you can bring to the firm (including both technical and business development skills) and what you can achieve when you are there.
Here are some pointers that have worked in the past:
- Research the firm, department and partners to understand how the firm and department sit within the market and recent developments. Useful online sources are The Lawyer, Legal Week, Roll on Friday, Chambers &Partners, Legal 500 and the firm’s own website.
- Ensure you are on top of the latest changes in law and new cases or legislation in your area or sector.
- Be aware that interviewers still ask about ‘strengths and weaknesses’. We can certainly advise on the best way to deal with this old chestnut.
- Have at least five ‘mental bullet points’ that encapsulate what you represent and what makes you stand out. Consider how you are going to get these points across seamlessly during a 45-60 minute meeting.
- Make sure you know, in detail and in depth, every aspect of your CV (the matters you have worked on, the role you played, the people and challenges involved).
- Think about why you are making this move (and previous moves) and be able to articulate this.
- Be prepared to talk about your strengths, what is important to you in your career and also the positive behaviours you will bring to the firm.
- Ensure you can articulate your ambitions (with timelines), how you will achieve them and how the firm’s structure and culture will accord with this.
- Try and establish the format of the meeting prior to interview.
- Practice – we offer (friendly) interview training.
If you have confidence in your preparation then you will naturally feel confident when it comes to the actual interview. And confidence in your delivery is the absolute key to succeeding at the first stage in any interview process.