You have the interview — the proverbial foot in the door — but interviews with a law firm can be stressful as this is your one opportunity to shine. You may be wondering how attorneys ace an interview. Like with anything else, preparation matters. This post will cover 4 tips for attorneys the ace the interview with the firm of their choice.
That said, let’s get the obvious out of the way first…be on time, dress appropriately, and thank your interviewers – a short email the next day expressing gratitude for the time and interest in the opportunity is proper etiquette and might get you a quick response/update on your status.
One of the top tips is to learn about the firm with which you have the interview. If you show up and can’t tell them apart from the competition, they will not be impressed. Go beyond knowing their areas of practice and get to know the firm’s story. Consider the types of cases they take and the clients they serve. Check out their website and look up key members on sites like LinkedIn. Read their publications, get to know everything you can. Don’t make an obvious effort to refer to everything you know about the firm. Of course, it is nice to sprinkle it in when applicable while showing you did your homework, but either way your knowledge will show as they inform you of the firm. The more you know, the more you look like you belong.
You don’t want to overdo it and brag, but your interviewers will expect you to sell your qualifications. Additionally, be ready to talk about your goals and how they align with the work they do. Keep in mind any goals/objectives they may have shared and confirm they align with what you are looking for in an opportunity. Prepare to explain your competency and how your skills can help the firm achieve its mission. Have a 1, 3, 5 and 10 year plan with how you’d like to grow with the firm. What is your marketing plan? Are you a part of organizations or networking groups? Do you have a referral network?
An interview subject can never be 100% sure of what a law firm will ask. However, there are common law firm interview questions. These questions can be as simple as, “Tell me about yourself.” Others might be about complex legal questions or concerning your career. If you review these questions, you can practice and prepare. You don’t want to script your answers, but it can help to have an outline of an answer ready. Good interview questions are often open ended (like a depo). You want to balance substance, style and brevity.
Many young attorneys make the mistake of being more like a cardboard cutout of a lawyer during interviews or getting overly hyped. Maybe they feel intimidated or worry about saying something that could hurt their chances. While this feeling is understandable, you must engage with the interviewers and show genuine interest. This is done before the interview through preparation, during the interview through enthusiastic engagement, and after through the thank you note. Do more than answer the questions they ask. Prepare questions you would like to ask. Sometimes the right question is the answer the interviewer needs. Express that you are excited about the opportunity and ask if there was anything needed from the role that they wonder if you can handle (wasn’t addressed in resume or interview). Your interviewers want to see that you want the job and are a proactive problem solver.
Are you considering making a move? Reach out to Pablo Markelis at P:M Recruits to hear all about the South Florida law firm market. Pablo has placed attorneys at every level (Partners & Associates from AM100 through boutique, In House attorneys (through GC at public)
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