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Preparation for the interview can make the difference you need to get the job

 
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Interviewing Skills

TR Grace has the following suggestions for you to review before your next interview:

THE TELEPHONE INTERVIEW

  • Prior to the phone call, research the law firm/company’s website at length.  Know the reason why you would like to work at the particular law firm/company.
  • Have a list of accomplishments and pertinent skills in front of you and know why are you a fit for the job. If you cannot articulate this, you may not get to the face to face interview.
  • Schedule the interview at a time and number where you can be alone and talk freely. Land lines are better than mobile phones whenever possible.
  • Be sure to have your resume in front of you so you can follow along with your background as they ask you questions.
  • Answer questions as directly as possible. If you do not know, say so. Be candid, friendly, cheerful and courteous. Confident but not cocky. If you sense that the other person wants to do lots of talking – let them. People like others who are interested in hearing them talk!
  • At the end of the interview, try to get a face to face interview. Ask what is the next step before hanging up the call.
  • If you can, find out from the interviewer what they feel your strong points and weaknesses may be. This way, in the face to face interview you can reemphasize the strong points and address any perceived weaknesses.

  THE FACE TO FACE INTERVIEW

  • Prior to your visit, educate yourself about the law firm/company.  Visit their website and write down several questions that come to mind. Look them up on Google. Know the reason why you'd like to work at the firm/company.
  • Double check the directions to the interview and know the name of the person to ask for when you arrive. Arriving 10 minutes early is a way to ensure you will not be late and will give you time to fill out any paperwork, if needed.  
    • Your hair should be clean and combed. Nails should be clean and trimmed.  
    • Turn off your cell phone.  
    • Don't assume that whoever greets you is the receptionist. The interview starts with whoever greets you.
  • Practice your interview skills out loud and/or with a friend.
  • Traditional business suit is the appropriate interview attire, regardless of office dress code.
  • Firm handshake upon arrival and positive attitude throughout interview.
  • Be enthusiastic and friendly. Listen more than you talk (no single factor is more important in determining success in an interview).
  • Look people in the eye when talking or listening to them.
  • Reinforce your professionalism and your ability to communicate effectively by speaking clearly and avoiding "uhs", "you knows", and slang.
  • If present salary is asked, furnish accurate information. If they ask you what salary you want, the only acceptable answer at this point is "I am open to any fair and reasonable offer".
  • Do not criticize or come across as negative about your present or past employers or co-workers. Stay professional and avoid personal information.
  • Always go to an interview prepared with a thoughtful question about the firm/company. 
  • Let the interviewer know that you are interested and excited at the prospect of working for them and ask what the next step will be.
  • ALWAYS SEND THANK YOU NOTES (email is acceptable) to each person who interviewed you and reference something particular about your interview with each person. Make sure to ask for each interviewer’s Card so you have accurate spelling of names and email addresses. 

  WHAT TO EXPECT IN AN INTERVIEW

  • “Tell me about yourself.”  - Give a concise, descriptive, and informative summary of more current and relevant career information.
  • “Why do you want to work at XYZ Law Firm/Company?  - This is where your website and company history homework pays off. Give examples of specifics that you have found on their site, or past projects that you enjoyed that apply.
  • “What is your proudest accomplishment/ What are your greatest strengths?” This is your turn to brag a bit, but not to the point of being arrogant. Give at least 2 examples, and offer references that can attest to your work. The more specifics you can offer, the better you look.
  • “What would you classify as an area of improvement, and how would you go about achieving those improvements?” Try to pick something that won’t affect the success of your interview and something that is not a job requirement, and that is not easily improved upon. Many candidates choose something that is indirectly related to the role so that it doesn't affect your interview success. For example: "I realize this position requires a great deal of litigation software experience and you work with software "x". I do have experience with litigation discovery software, but up to now, there has not been a requirement for me to learn "system x". I can pick it up very quickly as I do with all software programs. At this time, I would have to say an area of improvement would be the learning curve on your particular software system."
  • “What is the salary you are looking for?” It is always best to leave the door open and answer with something such as, "I would be happy to see your best offer. I am fairly flexible when it comes to the compensation since I am looking at everything including the firm/company, the position, the growth potential, the benefit package, etc. Salary is just one piece of the pie and if you think I would be a good fit for the position, I am SURE we can come up with a figure that works for both of us!"
  • “Why you are leaving your current job?” Be honest, very concise and direct, but don't slam your employer or boss. They want to hear that you are leaving on good terms since it can easily be them on the other end of the equation if they hire you.
  • “Why should we hire you for the position?” Summarize, detail, sell yourself, and ask for an offer! Give technical reasons rather than personality reasons why you are the best candidate.
  • Questions you may want to ask (choose 1 or 2)
    • Why is this position open?  

    • Where do you see the firm/company in 5 years?  

    • What makes you successful, and different from your competitors?  

    • How long have you (the interviewer) been here, and what do you like most about your position, and the firm/company?  

    • What qualities would your ideal candidate have? Listen, and make sure you later bring out some of the qualities you have which match what you heard)  

    • How do you feel my qualifications match your needs?

 
     
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