What do I need to know when going along for a legal interview?

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Having an interview has got to be one of the most nerve-wracking things you can undergo as a young person setting out into the world. It’s not just the risk of rejection but there’s also perhaps the bigger fear simply of being caught out or worse being made to feel really foolish in one way or another. But if you follow a few simple rules then it would be holped that you won’t go far wrong.

Make yourself presentable
It might sound obvious but make sure that before the interview you’ve made an effort with your appearance. That doesn’t mean taking in the very latest in whatever’s in fashion. But it does mean making sure you look smart and keen to do the job.

Be yourself
Now okay, if you’re obnoxious, loud and arrogant this might not actually count in your favour. But for the most part it will. Lawyers have to deal with extremely sensitive issues on a day to day basis and so people will be looking for someone who is not only hard working but is also sincere and careful. So you don’t have to charge in showing off with witty one-liners and the like. Instead try and relax and show them who you really are.

Answer directly
Despite lawyers’ reputation for over-complicating anything that#’s put in front of them, in fact their jobs a lot of the time is about communication. The key to this particular skill is to be clear and direct. So don’t waffle on and on but keep to the point. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re asked to argue something consider trying to limit the points you have to make to three and maybe even two. For example, “That’s a very interesting question. I’d suggest that the answer is so and so for two reasons…etc”

Related to the last point is the fact that there will be certain questions which are more than likely to come up and it really doesn’t make any sense at all if you haven’t spent the time preparing for these questions. That doesn’t mean that you learn the answers by rote and sound like a parrot when it comes to giving the answers out loud. But it does mean that you spend time thinking about what you would say and perhaps making some bullet points to help order your thoughts. For example, there might be general questions such as ‘Why law?’ or ‘Why do you want to be a solicitor?’ Then there are the specifics such as ‘Why us?’ and ‘Why a particular area of law’. Try and think of as many of these such questions as you can and then think through the answers for all of them.

This might not always be possible but if you can get a friend to give you a mock interview it’s very likely to help calm your nerves when you go along for the real thing.

There are probably plenty more ideas which might help but the big ones which stand out are preparation and presentation in all its forms. Try as hard as you can to relax and be yourself and then here’s to hoping it goes okay on the day!

July 16, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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