At RedLaw we have the privilege of working with lawyers at every level and stage of their careers. Some may have never moved firms before, and others may have not interviewed for years. A senior associate looking for their first partnership role, for example, may not have prior experience of an interview of this sort to rely upon to settle the nerves.
It’s a competitive game out there so whatever your experience level, it’s always going to be reassuring if you are given some valuable insight and advice beforehand. Why leave things to chance when you can better your prospects of success with a little homework?
So here are our top tips to ensure that you are fully prepared and stand out from other lawyers in the same interview process making you best placed for a successful outcome:
- Work with a legal recruiter: partnering with a recruiter can give you a huge advantage. Reputable, experienced recruiters meet with and have regular interaction with managing partners, heads of department, other hiring partners and HR team members at all levels. Directly from the horse’s mouth we have been told exactly what they are looking for. We have experience of putting candidates forward for similar roles. We know what factors have been key to other successful applicants’ positive outcomes, and what the pitfalls have been for the disappointed candidates. We can provide insight into the likely structure, content and themes of the interview, based on specific information we have been given, and based on previous candidate experiences. Over the years we have accumulated broad and deep knowledge of our clients, ranging from the actual culture of the firm to the personalities of the people with whom you are due to meet – useful insights that are not easily researched independently. Attending an interview equipped with this level of knowledge gives a candidate a vastly superior advantage, as you can present yourself as the best suited candidate
- Be specific and also not too specific in your prep: even if the hiring partners and/or HR team have indicated they are likely to cover specific topics, or if past experience has shown that they are prone to focus on certain subjects, it can be dangerous to concentrate your preparation only around a narrow set of themes. You may handle those particular, anticipated subjects expertly, but then struggle somewhat if your discussion drifts into other territories. It is advisable, therefore, to not only prepare for what you think may be asked, but also to prepare more broadly by giving thought to a cross-section of most commonplace “competency” themes and questions that tend to come up in some shape or form at most interviews. “Why are you looking to leave your current law firm?”, “What do you consider to be your weaknesses?” and so forth – more of these will be detailed in my next blog article
- Be proactive in you discussions: understanding what the firm is looking for in a candidate, and knowing what you have to offer, it is logical for you to be proactive and strategic in your approach. What are the top 5 ways in which you are the best candidate for the job? Write them down and decide how you can best evidence those traits at interview and bring them into the discussion when appropriate. It would be a strategic misstep if you were to finish your 45-60 minute meeting without having capitalised on opportune moments to put forward your best case due to poor planning.
We provide full interview preparation from background on the firm and interview panel to interview structure, types of questions and how best to answer them. For senior hires, we also guide lawyers on how to prepare the best business plan.