Are you a new attorney on the hunt for your first job? Or perhaps an established one searching for a new partner or a fresh start? No matter your situation, interview skills are life skills. It's important to be prepared when faced with a life-changing circumstance such as this--so check out this advice on how to ace any interview that comes your way.
Do your research! Check out the firm's website and educate yourself on their work, values, history, and any other important information you can glean. Showing that you are interested in your potential employer will leave them with a good impression and prove your enthusiasm for the job. Plus, you won't be blindsided by any unexpected questions that test your knowledge!
Along with researching potential firms or partners you could work with, take a moment to think about what interview questions might come up. Indeed has a helpful list of questions you may face when at a law firm.
Stay up to date on the latest in court rulings and news in your field of work. Luckily, PBI has a number of on-demand CLE programs to help you do just that. New attorneys will even receive a discount!
Finally, don't forget to celebrate your strengths! This interview is mainly about you, after all. Write down a list of your many accomplishments on paper, then keep them at the back of your mind during the interview. Focus on your positive qualities and what you can bring to the table.
Prepare a list of questions. As you research, keep a paper and pen on hand so that you can jot down any questions that cross your mind. You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. If you are blanking on what to ask, here are a few basic questions to help get you started...
How long have you worked here?
What's your favorite thing about your job?
What are the biggest challenges you face?
What's a typical day or week like for you?
Why is the former employee leaving this position?
If you'd like to brainstorm even more questions to ask, a quick Google search will load you up with all sorts of ideas. The Muse has come up with a whopping 51 questions to ask in an interview. However, important tip--don't ask that many questions unless you want to overwhelm your potential boss. Come up with a small list of questions that are most important to you.
Arrive early. You should leave for your interview at least fifteen minutes ahead of time in case the unexpected occurs during your travels. The same basic advice goes for virtual interviews, but in this case, make sure your laptop is charged and up to date (and definitely make sure Zoom is installed if you haven't used it before now)! Do a test run to make sure everything is working properly and then you can await the arrival of your interviewer.
Dress like a pro. They say dress for the job you want, not the job you have. You should always choose a professional, polished look no matter the type of interview. Make sure your outfit is classy, comfortable, and that you feel confident in it (the three C's!). If you'd like more specific advice, The Jub has a recent article on what to wear and what to avoid when putting together your appearance.
Be yourself. This should really go without saying, but you should always be honest about your qualifications. You want them to take you as you are, after all. Make sure you are listening carefully to each question and think through your answer before speaking. Finally, take a deep breath and try to relax! You got this!
If you are extremely worried about making mistakes, check out this list of the most common interview mistakes to avoid on The Balance Careers.
Put a positive spin on everything. Nobody likes talking about their flaws when they're making an effort to sell themselves, but sometimes the question about your weaknesses may come up. However, you can always pair your weaknesses with strengths. For example, perhaps you work slowly, but it's because you are a thorough perfectionist who pays close attention to details! Or perhaps you're not the most powerful leader, but you excel in group settings and can get along with anyone!
Something outside of your realm of knowledge or experience? No problem! You're a quick learner! Bring enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge, but most of all, try to end every sentence on a positive note.
Practice makes perfect! Interviewing is like an art form. The more you interview, the easier it will become. You'll be selling your skills like a pro in no time at all.
However, interviewing can be an emotional rollercoaster that can sometimes drag on for quite a while. You may get your hopes up for a particular job, only to have them dashed. Don't let that get you down and definitely do not take it personally. There are many factors that are at play when it comes to the hiring process. If you experience failure, just pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and say it wasn't meant to be. There will be something else for you on the horizon so long as you keep running towards it!