Top interview questions for lawyers
15th July 2014
Preparing for interview questions is never an easy task, where predicting what your interviewer will ask and what answers they will want to hear is guesswork at best. While it would be impossible to fully prepare answers to every interview question that may arise throughout the course of the application process, there are some helpful hints and interview tips and typical question types that tend to come up in most interviews that you can prepare your answers for.
Following on from this previous article on How to prepare for an interview in the legal sector, this article will go into further detail on what you might expect from interview questions for the legal field.
Why you want to work in law
What made you embark on a career in the legal profession?
This is a question that tends to pop up in most interviews for law careers as the interviewer will be keen to see how passionate you are about the profession as passionate workers tend to be hardworking and enthusiastic employees. So in this situation, try to give a good example of why you wanted to gain a career in law. Perhaps a relative was a lawyer and they inspired you to pursue a career in the legal sector yourself, just try to link your answer back to why you would make a great employee for this particular interviewer.
What skills and personality traits do you have that you think will make you great at the job?
For this question try to reference the specific role itself. Whether you are going for board and company secretary jobs or a solicitor position, it is important to think about what skills you can bring to the role that would make the interviewer want to hire you.
Your understanding of the role
What do you think this role will involve?
This question can often appear as one of the trick interview questions that employers use to narrow down their candidates, yet it is an important one to think carefully about. Here you want to highlight what you want to get out of the role and you will also want to clarify the harder aspects of the role, making it clear that you anticipate hard work and enjoy a challenging work environment. This will be the opportunity to present the interviewer with a candidate who is ready for anything.
Your understanding of the company
What drew you to this particular company/firm?
An employer will always ask interview questions that relate to your knowledge of the company. Here you will want to highlight your particular experience and knowledge of the firm, focusing on the positive aspects that drew you to applying for a position there. This is also a good area to ask questions at the end, as showing whole-hearted interest in the company will illustrate that you really want the position and will work hard for the company. Try to highlight your knowledge of the company with recent acquisitions or other such news that will show that you have been keeping an eye on their progression and have been interested in their work for a considerable amount of time.
Who are our competitors?
Here they will want to know what you understand of the field and where you can offer innovative solutions and ideas that can help them grow as a company and overtake their competitors in areas where they are not as strong. You never want to appear as though you think another company is better than them, rather highlight where you think their competitors might be taking the edge and how they can get ahead.
What did you learn from your time in education?
Interviews are all about further showcasing your skills and experience that your CV either hasn’t mentioned or offered sufficient detail on. When speaking about your education you will want to illustrate how you learn and what skills and experience you gained, with specific examples, that can better the company and role you are applying for.
What are your strengths/ weaknesses?
These are the type of interview questions that tend to occur in every interview situation. Whether a competency based interview or an informal interview, the company will want to know what you think you are good and bad at in a working environment. You want to appear honest and realistic in this area, whilst offering a weakness that you are either proven and experienced in compensating for, for example time management, or a weakness that isn’t really a weakness at all.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
This type of interview question is all about realising your drive. Most firms will want to employ ambitious and driven people who will work hard in order to get further up the job ladder. If you can still see yourself working at the company in this time frame but in a higher position then be sure to tell them that as a part of legal job recruitment is to realise someone’s individual working goals and see how they best fit into company ethics.
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