I remember my first legal interview. It was with an international law firm based in London and I was so nervous I could hardly speak. The reason for my nerves was lack of confidence in my ability to perform in an interview. Also, I didn’t have any experience of legal interviews, so I didn’t know what to expect. I hope that the interview advice provided on this page and the “before the interview” page will help to reduce your nerves by making you more informed and suggesting some useful guidance and providing insight.
Key considerations at interview
– Preparation. If you thoroughly prepare for an interview you are halfway there. Consider potential interview questions you may be asked and know the firm!
– Keep your answers punchy- don’t waffle. Even though you have lots to say on a particular topic or issue, try to keep your answers punchy and concise. This will ensure the interviewer remains engaged and attentive to your responses. If you think you are talking too much, you probably are!
– Answer the question. Ensure you answer the question, not the question you wish the interviewer had asked. If you are unclear of the question, politely request clarification of it.
– Think about your body language. Consider how you are sitting at the table and try to ensure you don’t fiddle with anything. This will detract from your answers and may also distract you.
– Don’t forget to smile. Law firms want to employ trainees who are friendly and personable to accommodate teamwork and great communication skills. Therefore don’t forget to smile at your interview.
– Dress appropriately. My advice is if in doubt be more cautious. Therefore, if it is a choice between a beige summer suit combination or a safe dark suit, go for the dark suit. Or, if you are considering 4 inch heels as opposed to a pair of shoes with a 2 inch heels, go for the 2 inch heels.
– Demonstrate your preparation through insightful questions. You can demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge about the firm by asking questions. Note that this is plural and not singular. Asking one question about the firm you may spend two years of your life with isn’t sufficient (unless you are only limited to one which is unlikely).
– Be polite. Bad manners is inexcusable at the best of times let alone at an interview. Therefore, wait to be seated before taking a seat, remember to say please and thank you and ensure you are polite.