banner image

Easy to Action Interviewing Strategies for Legal Hiring Managers

The interview process can be a gruelling task for all parties involved. When most hiring managers think about the complexity of interviewing, they focus on the challenges facing the person being interviewed. However, those hosting the interview also have their own hurdles to overcome too.  

From avoiding unconscious bias, avoiding ageism, and making sure you sell your candidates on the idea of working with your law firm, there are several important points to keep in mind as well as remembering all the main points covered at the end of the session.  

Here are some of the top strategies to follow as a legal professional hiring manager if you’re concerned you might not be getting the most out of your interviews. 

1. Know Your Interview Options 

The first step in ensuring you can master your interviews as a hiring manager is knowing what methods you can use to best connect with potential candidates.  

Today, the traditional face-to-face interview isn’t your only option. Video interviews have increased by 67% due to the pandemic and the rise of remote working with technology advancements being key. As hybrid employment options continue to thrive and companies look for ways to streamline the interviewing process, video conversations will likely grow to be more common in many law firms throughout the upcoming years if not already popular.  

But not forgetting, there’s also the time-old classic of picking up the phone for simple phone interviews as well to simply hear the person who could potentially be working with you. 

Each type of interview has its own challenges to consider. For instance: 

  • In-person interviews:
    You’ll need to think about where you’re going to host your interview, whether it’s a welcoming space, who will attend, and whether the candidate will present or just have a simple face to face conversation. 
  • Video interviews:
    Consider what kind of video meeting software you’ll be using, the background you’ll have in your video, and how you can present yourself as professionally as possible over a webcam. Always test the sound and camera quality beforehand and check whether all those participating are visible on screen. 
  • Phone interviews:
    Ask yourself whether you may need to record any phone interviews to go back over them later and how you can ensure you get a promising idea of what the candidate is like based on voice alone. 

2. Avoid Inappropriate Questions 

Inappropriate questions are becoming more common than you would think in legal interviews. While certain topics of conversation can feel like polite small talk at first, they often cause more problems than you’d think. For instance, asking people about what they did on the weekend can create an unconscious bias if you also have a shared hobby with them – but also at the same time, could be harmless conversation to break the ice. 

Unconscious bias could favour one candidate over another because you like certain things about their lifestyle or personality, which have nothing to do with the role or the ability to complete their tasks. 

Some other questions to avoid are: 

  • Where do you live?  
  • How did your childhood shape your professional life?  
  • If you could choose a different career, what would you choose?  
  • What is the worst trait of your previous manager? 

All the above questions could be classed as too personal, too confronting and encouraging speaking badly about others – all traits you want to avoid when interviewing someone for the first time and something you don’t need to hear to assess their capabilities for this role. 

3. Interview Styles and Formats 

There are many kinds of interviewing techniques that today’s business leaders and hiring managers can use, including competency-based or collaborative interviews, presentations, and group interactions to get a real feel for the potential candidates. 

Interviews are always best performed with two people from the hiring company, which can help avoid bias. It also gives those hiring the chance to discuss different opinions on those they are interviewing and not decide based solely from one person’s perspective and therefore giving the candidate a fair chance. 

Other methods are to consider using a first and second stage interview format before the final decision is made. In today’s environment, many first and second stage interviews can take place over Zoom or Teams so that it suits all parties involved. Carrying out interviews online also gives you more chance to interview more people, without the need for travel, time allocation and gives the candidates a better chance of being able to partake at a time that suits them and you best. 

4. Generalise Your Interview Questions 

Standardising your interview questions makes it easier to assess your candidates when you have interviewed several people for a role. It also means you’re less likely to allow unconscious biases to get in the way of your hiring decisions because you’re evaluating everyone based on the same set of guidelines, criteria, and questions. 

Create specific competency-based interview questions for the specific legal role in question, which allows you to score each potential employee based on their specific values, behaviours, and results.  

For instance, you can ask questions like; “share examples of times they’ve acted as a leader” or “shown exceptional teamwork”, and then make notes about their responses. Assigning scores to answers will also help you see who you should be shortlisting based on their answers compared to others if you are interviewing a larger number of people. 

Your interviews need to maintain a level of flexibility. It will be logical to ask follow-up questions to elicit more detail at times when needed if the candidate doesn’t elaborate themselves. 

“Tell me more about X or Y or why you decided to do B or C” are classic follow-up questions that work well to get more of an understanding of the candidates’ experiences.  

To make sure you know about a candidates’ hard skills, behavioural and soft skills there are some questions that LinkedIn Talent Solutions suggests you cover.  

  • “Say you’re negotiating a contract or administrative action or settlement in which the parties are far apart in what they want. Use a past example of this to talk me through your negotiation process.” 
  • “What would you do if you were asked to work on a case, contract, or business scenario that gave you ethical qualms? Has this ever happened to you—and what did you do?” 
  • “Tell me about a time you had to make a tough call that required you to decide between a gut feeling and the strategic decision-making of outside counsel.” 

5. Make Notes and Follow Up 

Finally, make sure you take notes as often as possible as you progress through the interviews. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment of the conversation and then forget everything you needed to know about the candidate when you come back to review later.  

Always set aside some time at the end of each interview to gather your thoughts and catalogue what stood out to you most about the candidate (good and bad) before heading into another interview or meeting.  

Making notes can also help when you’re following up with your candidates by allowing you to provide a more contextual and relevant message and feedback, should they be successful or not. Showing you remember what you said (like any requirements for their starting dates or training they need) shows the potential candidate you’re invested in working with them and that you are attentive to what they were talking about during their time with you. 

Remember, if you’re struggling with your interviewing process, it’s often helpful to seek some help from a specialist recruitment company like ourselves that can help with a lot more than just finding you new candidates – we can also give you advice on how to interview more effectively, with tips on questions you might need to ask. 

About Clayton Legal 

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. personnel to Practice Managers. 

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here. 

Share This Post

Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

banner image

Interview Preparation tips for Law Graduates

  • May 20, 2022

1. Do your research.
Lawyers are known for being good researchers. You spent countless hours in law school researching and scrutinizing information. Before every interview, know who you will be speaking with and research their background. Find them on LinkedIn, and conduct a light Google search to find any commonalities between you and your interviewer(s). Note down their accomplishments, awards, and accolades. Bringing it up during your interviews will show them you took the time to get to know who they truly are and gives them a sneak peek into your research capabilities.

On top of knowing the interviewers, walk into your interview with a deep understanding of the firm itself. After all, this is where you plan to dedicate your next several years. Having a good understanding of the firm’s founding story and partners will give you a good sense of the culture the firm builds.

Know what role in the firm you would have if you got the job. Knowing this in great detail will help you craft your narrative on where you want to take your career and how the firm closely aligns with your goals.

2. Be presentable and dress your best.
A Solicitors core job is to represent their clients, and coming to your interview polished and presentable bodes well. First impressions are powerful, and making it extremely important to you as you prepare for an interview will heighten your chances of being well received by your interviewers. The good news is law fashion has loosened up over the years.

3. Come prepared to ask questions.
What kind of lawyer would you be if you were not naturally curious and thorough? Let your curious nature shine through during your interview by coming prepared with well-thought-out and intelligent questions. Avoid questions that are related to your personal benefit. For example, don’t talk about money, vacation time, billable-hour logistics, and other related questions.

Think big picture and ask about the successes of the firm, where the firm is headed, and how you can contribute to their growth. Promote positivity in the interview and avoid any negative sentiment. If they were in the press for a controversial case, avoid bringing up uncomfortable topics that could sour moments in your interview.

4. Be personable and show enthusiasm.
Good Solicitors know how to build relationships. It starts with trust and one way to build trust is to be personable and get to know your audience. Show interest and enthusiasm for meeting your interviewers. They are taking time out of their busy days and their billable hours to meet with you.

Show respect by fully engaging in the conversation. Show up on time or early even. Being late is the kiss of death in the interview world. Be polite and courteous to support staff, such as secretaries, front desk receptionists, and other non-attorney staff. No need to come across as pretentious in the interview or ever for that matter.

5. Be genuine.
Repeat after me: Never, EVER, lie in an interview. There is no quicker way to bomb an interview than by starting to tell lies—even little white lies.

If you are invited to lunch during your interview day, don’t let your guard down. Those lunches are often strategically placed in the interview process to test how you interact in a casual setting. Be your usual genuine self, stay professional, and represent yourself just as polished over lunch as you would in an interview room. The same goes for virtual interviewing.

Sample interview questions and answers

Review these sample interview questions and answers to form your own responses:

Why do you want to practice law?

This question allows you to talk about what attracted you to the legal field. Your answer to this question can position you as the best person for the role and can provide the hiring partner with a glimpse of the knowledge and experience you can bring to the job. Employers want to hear how important this field is for you, so show your genuine interest in law when providing an answer.

Example: “I want to practice law because I’m passionate about bringing justice to clients and upholding the law of our country. I believe it’s important to be fair and unbiased, and I’d like to help someone experience that in their case. Being an attorney is more than filing paperwork with the court—it’s a chance to represent someone who needs help.”

What are your strengths as a lawyer?

Employers want to know your strengths so they can see how you could work with their current team. Since your strengths are unique, you can use your response to stand out from other candidates. Answer this question by relating your strengths to the job you’re applying for and the tasks you expect to be responsible for. Use the STAR technique to give a specific example of your strengths.

Example: “One of my biggest strengths is perseverance. I once represented a client who filed a suit against their employer for failing to pay for injuries they sustained while on the job. It was a difficult case to gather evidence since no employees claimed to witness the accident and there was no video footage. After performing some in-depth research and interviewing several employees, I was able to find out that there was a delivery driver present who corroborated my client’s story. Thankfully, we were able to settle quickly after that.”

What do you want your clients to know about you?

This question helps a hiring partner understand more about your client relations. Think about how you want a client to feel after an interaction with you in the office or courtroom. Consider what attributes you have and how you work that makes a client happy to have you represent them. Employers want to make sure that you treat clients well and represent their law firm in a positive light.

Example: “I want my clients to know that I’ll work hard in their case because they matter to me. I care a lot about their personal outcome and do my due diligence in researching their issue to offer solutions, file the appropriate paperwork and represent them in disputes. My clients should know that I am their advocate, and they can be honest with me about their situation and take comfort in the fact that I’m providing a safe space for them.”

Describe your approach in the courtroom.

How you perform in the courtroom can be the determining factor in winning your case. Answering this question is your chance to share how you interact with members of the court, present your case and represent your client. Give a detailed, step-by-step answer that shows exactly how you prepare and work in a courtroom.

Example: “Either the night before or the morning of a case, I study all of my notes so I’m fully prepared for the trial. I make sure any witnesses or evidence I need to present are confirmed. I usually take an aggressive stance during proceedings so my client gets fair representation. When the opposing side is presenting, I take thorough notes so I can counter effectively.”

Law firm interview tips

Here are some interview tips to consider so you can present yourself well to the hiring partner:

  • Familiarise yourself with recent court rulings.
  • Research the law firm.
  • Bring examples of papers you’ve written.

Research the law firm

Especially if the law firm is well established in the community, the partners want to make sure you will continue to bring good representation to them. It’s important to show that you have researched the firm and are excited to work there. You’ll also be able to better explain what makes you a good fit for the firm and why you chose it as your new place of employment.

Bring examples of papers you’ve written

A large component of working at a law firm is being able to articulate your case in a clear, concise and professional way. Hiring partners may want to see evidence of your writing, so bring some examples. This could include court documents you have prepared, an extensive legal research paper you wrote in school or a legal memo.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal IT personnel to Practice Managers.

Whether you are building your legal team or are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

Share This Post

banner image

Interview Preparation – Top Tips

  • March 20, 2022

Look the part.

Dress to impress regardless of the level of the role that you are going for. Make an effort and dress in a suit or if you don’t have one, your smartest interview clothes. (Remember 1st impressions count)

Know where you are going.

If you don’t know where you are going it never hurts to do a dry run prior to your Interview, failing this make sure that you leave plenty of time to get to your destination. It is better to arrive early and go over your research than to turn up late and flustered.

Know you target audience.

Research the company that you are going to interview for and use any additional knowledge that your consultant may have gained to improve your chances to blow them away!!

Don’t rely on the interviewer being a mind reader.

Ensure that you sell yourself to the best of your ability; the person interviewing you may have had nothing to do with short listing you and has only seen your CV 5 minutes ago, not having time to digest it. Use this opportunity to sell yourself into the job.

Smile!!! Be happy to be there.

Employers are not just looking for excellent skills but someone to fit into an existing team, smiling will help overcome your nerves and show the employer that you are a happy, enthusiastic individual that they should have on board.

SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

• Why do you want to join our organisation?
• What would you do if …….. happened? (hypothetical questions)
• Describe a situation in which you dealt with confrontation (for example a difficult customer).
• Describe a situation in which you influenced or motivated people.
• What other roles have you considered/applied for?
• Describe yourself in three words.
• Describe a situation in which you used your initiative.
• Describe a situation in which you solved a problem.
• Describe a situation in which you took responsibility.
• What are your hobbies?
• What was your biggest setback? Or how do you deal with adversity?
• Describe a situation where you had to plan or organise something.
• What is your usual role in a team?
• Describe a situation where you had a difficult decision to make.

EXAMPLE ANSWERS FOR QUESTIONS

Please note Clayton Legal does not advise that these are the correct answers to the questions listed but are a guide on how they may be approached.

Why do you want this job?

One of the most predictable questions and very important! You need to demonstrate that you have researched the employer and tie your knowledge of them into the skills and interests that led you to apply. Try to find some specific features on which the employer prides themselves: Their training, their client base, their individuality, their public image, etc. This may not always be possible with very small organisations but you may be able to pick up something of this nature from the interviewer.

Describe a situation in which you lead a team.

Outline the situation, your role and the task of the group overall. Describe any problems which arose and how they were tackled. Say what the result was and what you learned from it. Try and keep the examples work related and as relevant to the role you are applying for as possible.

Describe a situation where you worked in a team

Most jobs will involve a degree of teamwork. The interviewer needs to assess how well you relate to other people, what role you take in a group and whether you are able to focus on goals and targets.
Outline the situation, your particular role and the task of the group overall. Describe any problems which arose and how they were tackled. Say what the result was and what you learned from it.

What are your weaknesses?

The classic answer here is to state a strength which is disguised as a weakness, such as “I’m too much of a perfectionist” or “I push myself too hard”. This approach has been used so often that, even if these answers really are true they sound clichéd. Also, interviewers will know this trick. If you feel they really apply to you, give examples: you could say that your attention to detail and perfectionism make you very single-minded when at work, often blotting out others in your need to get the task done.

A better strategy is to choose a weakness that you have worked on to improve and describe what action you are taking to remedy the weakness.

Don’t deny that you have any weaknesses – everyone has weaknesses and if you refuse to admit to them the interviewer will mark you down as arrogant, untruthful or lacking in self-awareness, This question may be phrased in other ways, such as “How would your worst enemy describe you?”

Who else have you applied to/got interviews with?

You are being asked to demonstrate the consistency of your career aims as well as your interest in the job for which you are being interviewed. So if you have applied to one large Law Firm it is reasonable to assume you will be applying to them all.
What you can certainly say in your favour, however, is that the present employer is your first choice. You may even answer the question by explaining you have yet to apply to any other organisations for this very reason. Perhaps your application to the other firms is imminent, depending on the stage you are at in the recruitment cycle.

Give examples that are:
• Relevant – related to the business you are presently being interviewed for
• Prestigious. They will reflect well on the firm interviewing you
• Consistent. Not from lots of different job areas or employment groups of less interest to you than the present opportunity
• Successful so far. Do not list those firms who have rejected you.

What are your strengths?

This allows you to put across your “Unique Selling Points” – three or four of your key strengths. Try to back these points up with examples of where you have had to use them.

Consider the requirements of the job and compare these with all of your own attributes – your personality, skills, abilities or experience. Where they match you should consider these to be your major strengths. The employer certainly will.

For example, team work, interpersonal skills, creative problem solving, dependability,
reliability, originality, leadership etc., could all be cited as strengths. Work out which is most important for the particular job in question and make sure you illustrate your answer with examples from as many parts of your experience, not just university, as you can.
This question may be phrased in other ways, such as “Tell me about yourself” or “How would a friend describe you?”

Have you got any questions?
At the end of the interview, it is likely that you will be given the chance to put your own questions to the interviewer.

  • Keep them brief: there may be other interviewees waiting.
  • Ask about the work itself, training and career development: not about holidays, pensions, and season ticket loans!
  • Prepare some questions in advance: it is OK to write these down and to refer to your notes to remind yourself of what you wanted to ask.

It often happens that, during the interview, all the points that you had noted down to ask about will be covered before you get to this stage. In this situation, you can respond as follows:

Interviewer:

Well, that seems to have covered everything: is there anything you would like to ask me?

Interviewee:

Thank you! I’d made a note to ask about your appraisal system and the study arrangements for professional exams, but we went over those earlier and I really feel you’ve covered everything that I need to know at this moment.

You can also use this opportunity to tell the interviewer anything about yourself that they have not raised during the interview but which you feel is important to your application:

Don’t feel you have to wait until this point to ask questions – if the chance to ask a question seems to arise naturally in the course of the interview, take it! Remember that a traditional interview is a conversation – with a purpose.

Examples of questions you can ask the interviewer

These are just a few ideas – you should certainly not attempt to ask them all and indeed it’s best to formulate your own questions tailored to your circumstances and the job you are being interviewed for! Make sure you have researched the employer carefully, so that you are not asking for information which you should be expected to know already.
• I see it is possible to switch job functions – how often does this happen?
• Do you send your managers on external training courses?
• Where would I be based – is this job function located only in …?
• What is a typical career path in this job function?
• Can you give me more details of your training programme?
• Will I be working in a team? If so, what is the make-up of these teams?
• What are the possibilities of using my languages?
• What are the travel/mobility requirements of this job?
• How would you see this company developing over the next five years?
• How would you describe the atmosphere in this company?
• What is your personal experience of working for this organisation?

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal IT personnel to Practice Managers.

Whether you are building your legal team or are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

Share This Post

banner image

The 5 Legal Interview Mistakes

  • September 28, 2019

You may be a legal professional with knowledge, experience and the right soft skills to nail your next role, but it’s still easy to slip up in an interview.

Preparation and knowing how to act at your interview will allow you to showcase your talents, but if you don’t prepare sufficiently or think carefully about what you are saying on the day, you risk falling into the trap many legal professionals make, scuppering your chances of getting that ideal legal role.

Here are the five most common interview mistakes legal professionals make – and how to avoid them.

Not Being Prepared

Fail to prepare; prepare to fail. Failure to do your research and preparation can make you look lazy and uninterested in the role.

Reading up on the firm’s background, noting its place and competitors in the legal sector, its specialisms and recent positive news will put you in a great position to arrive confidently ready for anything. Your background research will give you a ‘feel’ for the firm and will demonstrate to the interviewer your understanding of both the firm, the market/verticals in which it operates and the role on offer.

Research can be as simple as checking out the firm’s website for information. Additionally, you could dig a bit deeper by checking out individual LinkedIn profiles, reviews, blogs and articles to give you a rounded view of the firm you hope to work for and help you prepare for the questions you may be asked.

Not Looking the Part

Legal roles, be they at trainee or Senior Partner level, require a certain level of professional dress.

I know it sounds obvious, but some candidates do fail to dress suitably for interview.

You should arrive for your interview as you would expect to arrive at work. Smart, professional, clean and tidy. First impressions do count in the legal world, and you won’t impress an interviewer if you roll up in creased, worn or just plain inappropriate clothing.

If in doubt about how formal you should go, lean on the side of caution – too formal is better than not formal enough and of course check in with your legal recruitment consultant who will be conversant with what is expected at the firm where you are being interviewed!

Looking the part will also give you an air of confidence: if you know you look professional, you will feel it.

Oh, and remember to switch your phone off too!

Talking too Much (or Clamming Up)

There’s a fine line between showing you’re interested and taking over the conversation. You don’t want the interviewer to think you’re going to be the employee who spends all day chatting to colleagues, but neither do you want to hold back and appear disengaged.

Waffling is a common side effect of nerves, so if you feel yourself beginning to ramble, take a moment to gather your thoughts and think about the question you’re being asked before giving your answer.

Conversely, being too concise in your answers can make you appear indifferent to the job or worse still lacking knowledge.

Practising answers to the type of questions you are likely to be asked will help enormously. You can practice with a friend or your recruitment specialist. The more you rehearse your answers, the more you will find you are confident in what to say. This will go a long way to help alleviate your nerves on the day and will allow you to deliver your answers calmly and with confidence.

Remember, interviewers are human too, and they know that nerves can be an issue. So, if your mind goes totally blank, it’s fine to take some time to gather your thoughts or ask if you can come back to that question to give you time to think about your answer.

Bad-mouthing Former Employers

This is an absolute no-no.

Regardless of how you feel about a former workplace or colleagues, your interview is not the appropriate place to indulge in a rant about how awful your ex-team was, or how you believe the Senior Partner was incapable of doing their job.

Nothing will put your interviewer off you quicker than listening to you complain about former colleagues. It gives a terrible impression of you and will make them wonder what you might say about them in future!

I always advise candidates that diplomacy is called for if you are asked about former work situations. If they weren’t great, try to focus on the positives by concentrating on how you dealt will potentially tricky occasions (without going into detail) so you are seen as loyal and proactive, rather than hostile.

Not Thinking About Your Own Questions

Preparing for the questions you will be asked is only one half of the interview. It’s a two-way conversation, and you are almost certain to be asked if you have any questions.

Whatever you do, never say you don’t have any or ‘I think you have covered everything’, even if your interviewer may have!

As part of your preparation, it’s ideal to come up with three or four questions to ask when it comes to your turn. Suggestions include:

“What does a typical day look like?” (shows you imagine yourself in the role)

“Is there scope in this role for me to add value to it?” (shows you are keen to develop and expand your abilities)

“Do you see the firm scaling up/taking on additional specialisms in the future” (indicates you are planning to stay, and are interested in helping the firm grow)

Questions you definitely should not ask include anything related to salary or annual leave. Those concerns can be discussed once you’ve been offered the role.

Remember, preparation is vital for interview success; prepare well, and you will have confidence in yourself on the day.

Your interview is an opportunity to showcase your talents, interest and character, and be memorable to the interviewer – for the right reasons!

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, your transition can be smoother and quicker.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

Share This Post

banner image

5 Questions Legal Hiring Managers Always Ask At Interview

  • September 10, 2019

Interviews. They don’t get any easier with time, even if you are a seasoned legal professional, it can still be nerve-wracking attending an interview.

Obviously, you are there because you want that ideal legal role, and the key to success is always in your preparation.

So, along with the usual planning of what to wear, how to get to the interview, times, dates and name of the interviewer, there’s the essential practising of potential interview questions.

But how on earth do you know what the interviewer is going to ask?

There will be specific role-related questions; that’s a given. And as you have worked in this role before and/or have all the relevant qualifications, you’re ahead on that one.

There may be questions about the company you are hoping to work for, so with a bit of research online, you can garner information about them, their latest news, company newsletters, mission and goals etc.

You can also bring your soft skills in to play by aligning them to the role. If you’re going for a Senior Partnership or Manager role, these could include your ability to lead a team, to time manage efficiently, delegate, and give constructive feedback thanks to your emotional intelligence.

If you are early on in your career and looking for a Fee Earner position, your soft skills could include being a great team collaborator, empathetic to others, able to manage your own diary and with an excellent work ethic.

There will likely be questions on all of the above, but there is also a set of fundamental questions that legal hiring managers ask all candidates time and time again.

So, note them down now and make sure your answers are ready to ensure you nail that interview!

1. Tell me about yourself.

This is often the first question interviewers will ask. They don’t want to know your life history here, so don’t be tempted to go off on a tangent.

What this question is trying to do is act as an icebreaker and test how you respond to open-ended queries. This could prove useful to the employer in gauging how you will react to similar questions within your working role.

You can use this question to (briefly, please!) describe how you got to be where you are today – so tell them about your achievements so far in your career, career highlights you have most enjoyed and your goals for the future.

Use the ‘present-past-future’ formula to enable you to give a potted version of your career history.

So, for example, you are applying for a position as an HR Manager in a law firm. Your answer to the past, present, future may look something like this:

“My interest in HR started about 6 years ago when I was working at X firm. I partnered with the HR team helping to design some custom training programmes.

I’m currently working as X. I recently completed my Master’s degree in Y, which I’ve studied part time.

My ultimate goal is to become an HR Director within a law firm.”

It’s also appropriate here to mention your hobbies. For example, you may enjoy chess or hunting in antique shops at the weekend.

Additionally, an interest in a sport or physical exercise such as tennis or yoga shows you take your health and mental wellbeing seriously.

2. Why do you want this role?

Don’t be fooled into thinking this question is asking about your personal goals and ambitions in the legal world.

It’s more about testing what you know about the job role you’re applying for: have you done your homework, and are you really keen, or is this just one application in a scattergun approach to job seeking?

Employers know that the best employees will proactively seek to improve their performance by embracing lifelong learning and growing their skillsets. This question, therefore, also addresses your motivation to learn new things and develop your career.

As well as establishing your interest in the role and your motivation to develop, this question will also allow you to give credibility to your current skills and qualifications and confirm you can hit the ground running in your new position.

If you mention the benefits of working for the company as a whole, you’ll score additional points too!

3. Tell me about a time you faced a significant challenge or problem in your last role – how did you successfully overcome it?

This question is trying to ascertain how you react to problems and your ability to solve issues that arise. It is looking to see how you work under pressure, test your emotional intelligence and resilience to stay positive and focused if things don’t go to plan.

The answer to this will require you to have one or two examples to hand, so ensure you can illustrate your response with tangible examples of a time when you dealt with difficult situations successfully.

4. What is your greatest weakness?

This one is a classic interview question and catches a lot of people out.

Whatever you do, don’t respond with the implication that you are perfect – the interviewer won’t believe you anyway!

The question is devised to test your self-awareness by acknowledging your less-positive strengths and how you cope with them. So, the best answer to this one is to give an example of an area you know you need to work on, and what you are doing to overcome it.

For example, you could say that you are a perfectionist who needs your work to be perfect every time, and consequently, you find projects can overrun as you tinker with things. But you are dealing with this by setting yourself deadlines to ensure you hit targets.

5. What can you bring to this law firm?

The interviewer is assessing the law firm’s ROI here.

They want to be sure they take on an employee who will be a good fit for them in terms of team working, skills, ability and dedication.

They are investing a lot of time and money in interviewing, hiring, onboarding and providing training – so they want to get it right first time.

So be sure to show your enthusiasm in your answer as well as expressing your confidence that you can help them increase the business in terms of clients and monetary value and collaborate in striving to achieve company aspirations and goals.

Armed with your responses to these questions, you can sail through your interview confidently and land your perfect legal role.

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, your transition can be smoother and quicker.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

Share This Post

banner image

7 Steps to Success at Your Legal Job Interview

  • August 20, 2019

Whether you are a Child Care Paralegal or a Senior Conveyancing Solicitor, an interview is potentially the start of a new level in your career and a step nearer achieving your aspirations. So, it’s essential to get it right.

You’ve already made a positive impression with your CV, or perhaps a direct application or covering letter – so that first hurdle has been crossed.

The interview, be it over the phone, over a video call virtually, or face to face, is a chance to bring all of those points to life – and it’s essential to put your best foot forward and create a positive first impression that increases your chance of the job offer.

Here are our top seven steps to success…

1. Plan Ahead

Give yourself plenty of time to do your research. Learn all you can about the law firm and the job you’re applying for.

Don’t just look at the facts and figures; see if they have an online newsletter and sign up for it and follow them on social media. You may spot an interesting snippet of information or news story that you can bring into the interview.

Find out what specialisms they have, and what their plans are for future scaling.

These easy hacks will show your knowledge and demonstrate you are keen to work for their law firm.

2. Work with Your Recruiter

It’s also a good idea to work closely with your specialist legal recruiter. They will be able to discuss the role in depth with you and point out any gaps in your skillset that need addressing.

They can also help you assess your value and the strengths you bring to the role, such as soft skills, as they will have in-depth knowledge of the law firm you’re hoping to join.

3. Create a Cheat Sheet

Interviews are stressful enough without adding to the anxiety.

This top tip is useful in keeping you calm and avoiding any last-minute panic. You can use the notes app on your phone to list all the essential things about the recruitment job you need to remember.

Include:

  • address of the interview
  • contact number
  • interviewer’s name
  • time of your interview

Add three or four main points you want to make during your interview, some brief notes on your answers to competency-based questions and anything else that you think you might need.

You will then have all the information to hand for last-minute revision – allowing you to walk into the interview with confidence.

4. Be on Time

Being on time for an interview is crucial to setting yourself up positively in the eyes of the hiring manager. It says you are a reliable professional and conveys respect.

Conversely, being late for an interview is a no-no. It leaves a lasting impression and will not go down well with the hiring manager, trust me.

To minimise problems on the day, make sure you know where you are going for the interview and how you’re going to get there. Ideally, do a practice run and time yourself.

Everyone knows that hold-ups on the roads or public transport can affect us all.

If the worse happens and you are delayed, phone and apologise as a courtesy. Keep calm and provide them with details of how long you will be (if you know) or ask to reschedule.

It won’t hurt to follow up with a polite email later in the day to reinforce your apology. Good manners cost nothing but can convey a good lasting impression.

5. Harness Your Anxiety

Even with the experience of presenting at conferences or making court appearances, interviews can make the most experienced solicitor or paralegal nervous.

An excellent confidence technique is to “make friends” with your anxiety, says mindfulness teacher Charlie Morley. Acknowledge its presence, but don’t let it overpower you.

Try channelling all that adrenaline by changing your thought patterns – so you view your nervous energy as excited energy. You’ll still feel charged but in a positive way!

You may also consider doing some basic breathing exercises before you go into the interview. I’ve found this NHS exercise helpful.

Finally, positive thought can work wonders. So, picture yourself having a positive outcome and landing your dream legal job. It will boost your confidence levels and give you that extra push to sail through the interview.

6. Know Your Value

Your value to the company goes beyond your knowledge and skills in your specialist area of legal practice.

That doesn’t mean to say that these are not a priority; of course, they are paramount to the job, but your soft skills are also relevant.

Ask yourself what you bring to the law firm that is your USP. Are you a great team player? Do your ethics match those of the law firm? Are you a good culture fit?

If you have relevant testimonials, referrals or letters of recommendation from satisfied clients, take them with you to show the interviewer.

7. Watch Your Body Language

Interviews are not just about talking the talk. You may know all there is to know about your specialist area of family law or litigation and have a first-class degree, but your body language can still let you down and scupper your chances of success.

Body language is more important than you might think – in fact, Mehrabian’s findings are that:

  • 7% of meaning in words that are spoken
  • 38% of meaning is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
  • 55% of meaning is in facial expression.

So, pay attention to it!

Avoid fidgeting, crossing your arms, making wild, distracting hand gestures, or slumping in your seat.

Eye contact is the fastest way to build rapport, but at the same time remember not to stare your interviewer out!

Three to five seconds of eye contact works perfectly. If you have more than one interviewer, give the person asking the question 60% of your eye contact when answering and share the remaining 40% across other panel members.

Finally, smile. It’s a fact that smiling will make you feel more confident and you will appear friendly.

The interview is your opportunity to sell yourself and prove your potential value to the employer. So, adopt a pleasant manner and follow these tried and tested interview secrets to get your dream legal role!

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, your transition can be smoother and quicker.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our guide here.

Share This Post

banner image

5 Proven Strategies For Boosting Your Interview Confidence

  • May 20, 2019

Having an interview isn’t something you do every day of your life, is it? There are times during your career when you will have bursts of interview activity as you look to secure a new role as your career progresses.

For many people, it could then be several years before they experience an interview again. It’s no wonder then that for someone heading into an interview for a potentially life-changing role – this could be your first shot at a ‘Partner’ position – fear and interview nerves are a reality.

Whether it’s your heart that starts pounding, your hands that get clammy, embarrassingly getting beads of sweat on your forehead, or your breathing gets just a little quicker than usual; each can be visible to your future employer or prospective fellow partners. Not exactly the impression you want to make, is it?

At Clayton Legal, we appreciate how stressful interview situations can be. We also know that confidence is a crucial ingredient to interview success. So, here are our top five strategies for giving your interview confidence a real boost.

1. Give Your Inner Voice A Holiday

Whether we like to admit it in public or not, the fact is that we all have a voice in our head that
at times is our biggest supporter and at others will start spinning stories and runs riot.

Why does it do this? Getting technical for a moment, the brain’s job is to keep us safe by minimising any risk of danger, especially in situations where the outcome is unknown. Cue the interview.

As an interview approaches, ‘our voice’ kicks into action:
“The competition seems stiff, I’ll never make it.”
“They’ve have probably got a strong internal candidate in mind already.”
“Whenever I really want a job, I always blow the interview.”

You see the brain goes into overdrive with all kinds of stories when it doesn’t know what the outcome is. Being aware of this is the starting point. Then there are 2 things you can do.

a. Take control of the stories. Maxwell Maltz, the famous Psychiatrist who wrote Pysco-Cybernetics, describes the brain as a “Success seeking machine”. Use it to create your own success story.

b. Now I know this may sound weird and…when you notice your voice is playing the not so good story game, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and count to 10.
Notice how it switches the voice off. This simple action cuts the circuit that the brain was running. Don’t believe me though, test it for yourself.

2. Do Your Research

As with most things in life, preparation is key, and I know you may think that, compared to some of the work you prepare for a day in court or on contracts, what I am about to say is a no brainer.

And it still makes sense to know where the interview is taking place, where to park, through to what evidence and success stories to prepare that will demonstrate your competencies.

(The last thing you want is to have been delayed because you didn’t realise that the longest city centre diversion ever had been introduced since you were last in the area!)

3. Bring Your Story To Life

At some point in your career, you will have been asked a common interview question such as, “Walk me through your CV”.

On the surface, it seems an easy question and most people will regurgitate their written CV verbally.
What a lost opportunity. Remember, while some practice areas such as private practice, property law and commercial litigation are suffering from a lack of candidates, there will still be competition because legal firms still want top quality talent.

To stand out from a competitive field of candidates, become good at bringing your story to life.

How?

Start by knowing your story. The roles you have had post qualifying, what made you choose your area of practice, the experiences you had and the types of clients you have worked with.

Take your CV and look at the highlights and bullet points and think in detail about what was happening at the time. Who were the clients, what was the situation, what were the projects or contracts you worked on. After all, some of these events will have taken place 4, 6 or 8+ years ago.

Be able to bring the events to life so that you fully demonstrate the results and impact they had.

4. Be Your Best Self

Being your best self means be at the top of your game on the day of the interview, which is when you are buzzing, excited, when things are just coming so easy for you. Some people describe it as “when you are in your flow”.

The question is, how do I know when I am being my best self, and what do I do to get myself there?

Let’s take the second part of the question first.

How do you get yourself to a place where you can be the best version of yourself in an interview context?

I. Create a list of all your skills, the experience that you bring with you, your strengths and talents. Have plenty of success stories as evidence to support why you are the best person for the role.

II. Be able to share all the above in your story as described in the strategy above.

III. Make sure you are not allowing any nerves to influence your confidence.

A quick exercise to tap into the feelings you have when you know you are being the best version of yourself.

Find a quiet place and sit with your eyes closed. Remember a recent time when you knew you were firing on all cylinders and smashing it. How does it feel as you remember this, and where do you notice this feeling is in your body? It could be in your stomach, chest or even in the hairs on the back of your neck! Imagine …that this place is your source of “confident energy”. When you need confidence, tap into this place in your body and feel the strength, confidence and power and the feeling will return.

Returning to part one of the original question. You will know you feel good and that you have a sense that the interview is going OK.

5. Connect with your Interviewers

Before you can impress or make an impact with a Managing or Senior Partner, or any line manager, you have to first build rapport. The fastest way to do this is through non-verbal body language; specifically your eye contact.

Many interviews will involve more than one person, which could be Head of Department, a Partner, plus an HR manager. The question becomes, who do you give the most eye contact to so that you build rapport with each interviewer?

As a general rule, you give 60% of your eye contact to the person asking the question and share the remaining 40% amongst the rest of the panel.

Building rapport is also about seeking to understand your prospective employer and demonstrating empathy. When you shift the focus of the interview onto your potential employer’s needs, you’re not only showing genuine interest; you will also inspire your audience to have confidence in you as a future member of their practice team.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our latest guide here.

Share This Post

banner image

How To Write A Standout Cover Letter And Secure That Legal Interview

  • March 15, 2019

I can’t emphasise enough how important cover letters are becoming when it comes to standing out in the legal career race.

They’re a golden opportunity to introduce yourself, highlight your most desirable skills, and create a good impression in your legal recruiter or hiring manager’s eye.

So why on earth are they so often skimmed over – or even worse, left out altogether?

Without a cover letter, your job application is just another sheet of paper, or another PDF file on the computer screen – one often lacking in personality and excitement.

And you know what? That’s fine: after all, the CV’s function is to list experience and skills. Your cover letter is there to add interest.

Without a cover letter, your CV is much more likely to be skimmed over and discarded. It might not even be read at all – almost certainly the case if the job description has asked for a cover letter to be included.

However, that’s not to say that any old cover letter will do.  There’s an art to writing a good cover letter – one that will make a recruiter straighten in their seat and think, ‘hmm, this person looks interesting.’

What To Include and What To Leave Out Of A Legal Cover Letter

Write your cover letter in the first person. When you’ve written your first draft, check over it and you’ll probably find that you’ve started every single sentence with ‘I’. Go back and reword some of the sentences so that they have variation in how they begin – it makes the cover letter read better and will increase the impact.

Mix it up and write different cover letters for different organisations. Personalisation is key and always gets noticed.

Your legal recruitment consultant can help you with this. For each legal job application, scour the job ad to look at the particular skills or competencies they’re seeking. Write your cover letter to tell them how your skills and experiences fit what they are looking for. Include why you want to work for their company too.

Remember not to ramble: If it’s a big block of text crammed onto one page, then you put the person off ever reading it at all. Four to six very short paragraphs are the perfect length.

Ensure you create white space between each major piece of information, so that it is easy to read and pick out the critical parts. In today’s online world many cover letters could be read on mobile so factor this in too.

Use straightforward, clean language; you are a legal professional after all. Complex language can be a headache for the reader and confuses the message – i.e. why you’re the ideal person for the role.

Break overly long sentences into shorter ones, then read it aloud and see how it sounds.

Put all your contact details on the cover letter. If you are unavailable to take calls during working hours, advise when is suitable.

Make sure you mention the name of the company in the body of the cover letter and demonstrate that you have done your research on the company in some way. This marks the application out as targeted and that you care enough to make your application stand out.

Strike a balance. Every company enjoys being flattered. While you want to demonstrate you are the right person for the role, be aware you don’t come across as sounding desperate.

Don’t send your letter without having someone read over it for spelling and grammar mistakes. Of course, run it through spellcheck first, but that won’t always pick up homophones such as ‘their and there’ or ‘your and you’re’.

Then, of course, make sure your recruitment consultant sees it too.

Put real thought into what the reader might find interesting about you and your work experience.

In short, keep it short. Keep it readable. Keep it relevant to the job offer. Get someone to check it. Above all, put some serious effort into making sure it’s as good as it possibly can be, as a lack of effort will rarely open the door to an interview.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help.
Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our latest guide here.

Share This Post

banner image

Legal Interview Skills: Is Your Body Language Letting You Down At Interview

  • March 5, 2019

Your legal interview is just around the corner, and you have practised your responses to a list of the most common legal competency-based questions; but have you missed something critical to the process?

Your body language.

There has been extensive research into what impact our verbal and nonverbal communication can make and it’s fascinating. Have a look at Professor Albert Mehrabian’s work on the communication model. Here are a few key points he identified that are important in an interview situation.

  • 55% of the message we communicate relates to our body language and facial expression
  • 38% of the message we communicate relates to our voice tone and the way words are said.
  • 7% of message ONLY relates to the words we communicate

It probably now makes sense why our nervousness can easily lead to a host of body language mistakes, from unconscious fidgeting to awkward facial expressions.

Unfortunately, since half of the interviewers decide whether a person is right for the job before they ever have a chance to answer a question; the way you present yourself is more important than ever.

The good news is the common mistakes interviewees make can be rectified fast provided you know what they are.

So here, in no particular order, are the most common mistakes we see:

1. Forgetting to Smile

Anxious, stone-faced candidates don’t do well in interviews; no matter how good your law degree is. Even if you have the best legal CV in the UK, it’s important to sell yourself as someone that has a pleasant manner and will fit into the culture of a legal firm.

No-one wants to work with someone who’s constantly nervous or grumpy.

Not only can smiling make you appear warm and friendly, but it could calm your interview-based nerves. A genuine smile will help to decrease stress in your system and ensure that you feel more confident than you would with a frown.

2. Poor Eye Contact

In the world of body language errors, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to avoid eye contact with your interviewer. Hiring managers want to see the confidence in their prospective candidates, and keeping your vision cast down towards the floor makes you look nervous and lacking in confidence.

Though this can be a part of your personality, it’s something you need to consider and address.

Although you don’t want to ‘stare’ your interviewer out with too much intense eye contact, looking at them when answering their questions, or listening to their responses is of paramount importance in an interview.

It shows that you’re engaged in the conversation and providing your full attention. If you’re in a group interview, it’s best to make sure that you maintain eye contact mostly with the person asking the questions, while looking at the other people in the room from time to time.

3. Too Many Hand Gestures

When it comes to the hands, many candidates believe their handshake is the biggest threat to their chances of success; wrong.

Though it might surprise you there’s more you can do to damage your first impression than giving a handshake that’s too weak, or too strong.

From our own experience screening legal candidates over the last 20 years and talking to the legal hiring managers we work with, too many hand gestures while talking is distracting.

Although talking with your hands might be a common habit, it’s something you should cut down on when preparing for an interview. The more nervous you get, the more uncontrolled your movements can become, which never communicates what you have to offer in the best light.

4. Crossing your Arms

Though you might think this doesn’t happen any more in an interview situation, it still surprisingly does.

Remember in an interview situation people often see crossed arms as a sign that the person they’re talking to is disengaged, bored, or even worse – defensive.

While it’s highly unlikely you are feeling any of these emotions, sadly for you, this could be what you are communicating.

Sometimes, crossing your arms can make you feel more comfortable or protected in an interview situation, but it also blocks you off from your employer. Instead, think about how you can portray interest and engagement with your body language, by keeping yourself open, perhaps with your hands by your sides, and your body angled towards the interviewer.

5. Poor Posture

Finally, sitting slumped in your seat won’t portray you as a confident, professional person who your hiring manager would be happy to put in front of a new legal client.

No matter how tailored your suit may be, a bad posture can cause you to appear uninterested, or again even lack in confidence, possibly even rude.

Keep your spine straight against the back of your chair, and square your shoulders. This will help you to look more confident and show that you respect your interviewer and the potential job ahead of you. A strong posture stands out, making you look more like a leader. If you can’t sit straight, then focus on leaning slightly towards your interviewer, to show engagement.

So often candidates focus their interview preparation on preparing to answer questions that they
will be asked.

Remember, what you say accounts for just 7 % of how you communicate in your interview. How you communicate those words will be the difference that makes the difference.

Practice how you want to deliver your answers as well as what you plan to say.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help.
Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our latest guide here.

Share This Post

banner image

The 72 Hour Countdown To Your Legal Interview

  • February 5, 2019

Irrespective of whether you are moving into a new private client solicitor role or you are a superb legal secretary looking for their next opportunity, this is still a key career move; at least for now.

You actively applied for this role because you believe it will deliver you closer to your career and broader life goals.

By giving the interview process the respect it deserves, you will increase your chances of being successful and securing the role.

To truly succeed at a legal interview and confirm to your hiring manager you have the appropriate skills, traits and you are a good culture fit, you will need to be ready.

Poor planning delivers poor results.

Therefore, we aren’t talking about a quick look through their website the night before. Instead, we are referring to being fully prepared and ready by making the most of the 72-hour preparation window you need before your interview begins.

Three days is the perfect length of time to deliver you to the interview primed and ready in a calm and confident fashion.

Here is where we suggest starting.

1. Research and a Conversation With Your Legal Recruitment Consultant

In the current legal recruitment market, it’s likely that you will have found your role through a specialist legal recruitment company like Clayton Legal.

That being the case we, your recruiting partner, should be your first port of call when it comes to knowing as much as possible about the specific legal role in question and the company you could potentially join.

It is imperative to do this sooner rather than later, as this will enable you to carry out additional research as necessary, to stand out. Alternatively, this will let you know about gaps you might have that must be addressed in how you communicate your value to your future employer.

Google is naturally your friend here.

Look at any news about the sector of law you will be involved with. For instance, earlier this month I was looking at information about collaborative law and came across a post from a press release by a Bath law firm who were offering free mediation information sessions to people considering divorce, as part of Family Mediation Week.

A talking point maybe? Though your skills and experience are critical, your wider knowledge of the law is important too.

Research the company online. Learn as much as you can from the website, including all their specialisms and any bigger cases they are working on and what their plans might be.

Review all their social media profiles and anything they have published on LinkedIn’s article platform.

If the website has staff profiles and an ‘Our Story’ page, so much the better. If you can, find out how many employees they have and who is part of the leadership team.

During this research stage, you will be able to prepare good questions to ask that will demonstrate you are a serious candidate who’s done their homework. You would be surprised how many candidates don’t make an effort in this regard, and you’re likely to stand out by doing this.

If you are working with a professional legal recruitment consultant, they will be able to help you with most of this too. So, it’s critical to discuss the job description in detail and how you can demonstrate your value, which leads me onto the next point.

2. Know And Demonstrate Your Value

In today’s legal field hiring managers are looking for skills and abilities, yes; though they are also looking for the value you can add.

Imagine some of the questions you might be asked and prepare your answers that communicate how you have added value in the past. For instance, it might be a new system you initiated on creating court documents that improved the process, or the updated advice process you developed that has generated positive testimonials and referrals.

Ask your recruitment consultant to tell you what is behind the job specification and what are the crucial skills to demonstrate and communicate.

Finally, if you have a ‘brag’ file or letters of commendation or an end of year review that is positive and recent, take them with you and USE them.

It has been known for hiring managers to comment that James or Tania brought in a briefcase and never opened it!

Which left them wondering if they had missed something? No, but James and Tania missed the opportunity to demonstrate yet another validation of why they should get the role.

Remember to use everything at your disposal to position yourself as the logical choice.

3. Practical Logistics

With the best will in the world, we can all misjudge time. Double check the time and location of the interview, as well as the name of the hiring manager.

If you haven’t already been to check out the venue, prepare your route by car or train leaving plenty of time to get there in case you end up experiencing one of those annoying traffic jams that come from nowhere.

Let’s be frank, interviews are stressful enough, so there is no point adding to that unnecessarily by getting lost and certainly not by turning up late. Hint: hiring managers dislike latecomers.

Most people reading this post understand dress code and how what you are wearing does have an impact; you do, don’t you?

I will explore this briefly in a minute.

Firstly let’s talk about confidence and what you wear. I am not suggesting you head out and buy a new outfit or shoes. Instead, think about the outfit that always makes you feel good.

I have a few outfits I love, and I always wear them if I want a boost of confidence. Perhaps you have had this experience too?

No matter how many presentations you have given, or appearances in court; never underestimate interview nerves and their unexpected impact.

Finally, remember the goal of the interview is to leave the interviewers talking about your skills, attitude, and law experience and potentially how well you would fit into the team.

A fascinating fact I discovered last year is that over half of the population has a visual preference and a keen sense of smell and though we all like to think we don’t judge, we sometimes do.

The last thing you want to have your interviewers chatting about at lunch is how strong your perfume was or questioning if you smoked, or crikey how did you manage to walk in those heels?!

If you follow the steps in this post you have a template to impress the hiring manager with the depth of your knowledge in the company, and how confidently prepared you are.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are looking for your next career move, we can help.
Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would more help on preparing for your interview download our interview checklist here.

Share This Post