Legal Counsel interview tips

03 July 2019

If you are standing outside the office door, it’s a bit late to prepare for your interview. To really interview and impress them, you’ll need to have started preparing long before.

Legal Counsel interview tips

Learning about the Company

It’s axiomatic that you should know about the company you are interviewing with. The difference between the candidate who knows about the company and has researched challenges the company faces and the candidate who knows just the name on the door is striking.

Companies hire people to attain their goals. A candidate who has shown they will research the company and cares about it is preferable to someone expecting to waltz in on the virtue of their CV alone. Your CV got you to the interview; now demonstrate why they should hire you. Proving you have done your homework pays dividends. Moreover, it’s also good to know enough about the company to see if it will be a good fit for you. If the company is a strong proponent of oil production and you walk in with your Greenpeace sticker, there’s a possibility of conflict…

Your research should include perusing the firm’s website and relevant news stories. With Route1, we provide you with the latest articles from Lexology on the hiring client and relevant practice area, so get reading.

Why Should They Hire You?

Not only do you have to find out about the company, you have to answer that basic question: ‘Why should this company hire you?’ (or variations thereof). Have your selling points ready.

Anticipate tough questions – especially the ones that probe your weaknesses. If newly qualified, a lack of experience can be countered with a voracious appetite to plug knowledge gaps.

Ensure that you know your CV. Be ready to clarify or expand details on it. Companies are looking for not just qualifications but evidence of personality compatibility.

The Actual Interview

In-house interviews are a curious mix. You may well be interviewed by a lawyer, who will interview much like any law firm. You may be interviewed by the corporate side, who will not be as impressed with your leading law review article. Regardless, you have to show you are a good fit with the culture, style, and personnel of the firm. Technology companies have a slightly more laid-back attitude than those in the financial sector, yet even in the hippest places the legal department is still likely to be conservative.

First impressions are important. Within the first five minutes, you likely will make or break your chances. A smile and warm handshake are great, and remember to make eye contact when you answer questions. Don’t stare down the interviewer, though. Appropriate attire will be key. Be conservative. Your outfit should not draw attention to itself.

Keep your body language under control. Nervous habits should be controlled. They are very distracting. Folded arms across your chest is defensive sign.

Try to anticipate questions you may be asked, and have your answers prepared. Questions at this level often include enquiries about your knowledge of the firm; your previous careers history and reasons for moving firms; enquiries about what makes you tick and your expectations from potential employers. Questions about your strengths and weaknesses are staple fodder for interviewers. Try to turn your weaknesses (and we all have some) into strengths. For example, if you’ve have received criticism that you can be too fastidious, then this could be viewed as a sign that your diligence is a positive attribute. Ask questions of your interviewer. Questions about staff turnover could indicate the stability of the team you are pledging your immediate future to.

After the Interview

Send a thank-you note! In the note mention something unique about your interview. This will help the interviewer remember who you are, amid all the other interviewees. Send it as soon as possible after the interview.

You may get a callback interview. Even more so, this will likely be a test to answer one question: “Can we work with this person (meaning you)?” Socially and professionally, you are on trial. Can they trust you to take over a part of the company that is important to them? Can they work with you in a stressful situation? Your actions, answers, and questions will provide the answer. For that callback interview, really prepare. You’ll likely be grilled much more deeply, and you will want to have much deeper knowledge of the company this time.

If you’re looking for Legal Counsel opportunities nearby you, review your live job matches with Route1 today!

Route1 is an award winning marketplace for legal talent. For any questions, please contact our Engagement Team or visit our Contact Us page for more information.

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We have big ambitions to permanently change the way people hire and get hired, both in the legal and other white collar sectors, using GDPR compliant, content-rich, value-added recruitment techniques. We place transparency, charity, and candidate control at the heart of our model.

Route1 was founded in the UK in 2015 and is headquartered in London. Our founders and investors include experienced lawyers, digital entrepreneurs, recruitment consultants and HR professionals.

Route1 is an award winning marketplace for legal talent. For any questions, please contact our Engagement Team or visit our Contact Us page for more information.

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