find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Polishing up your interview skills

Polishing up your interview skills

Emily McCarthy

Whether you’re applying for your first job as a graduate lawyer, or you’re a senior lawyer with many years experience, job interviews can be daunting experiences, writes Emily McCarthy.

Whilst you can never really be certain about what the interview will entail, or completely eliminate nerves, there are steps you can take to ensure that you present well and maximise your chances of landing the job.

Some simple tips for securing your next role.

1. Don’t be late…but please don’t be early!
Turning up half an hour early is almost as off-putting as arriving half an hour late. Your interviewer can interpret this as you assuming they have nothing better to do that day except interview you. If you’re early, grab yourself a coffee and relax. This will help to lessen your nerves and put you in far better stead for your interview than feeling awkward sitting in a waiting room for 30 minutes.

2. Don’t ‘sell’ yourself
An interview is largely about assessing whether or not there is a cultural fit. Especially when interviewing lawyers, it’s usually immediately obvious from consulting a CV whether someone has the right experience and technical skills, but a face-to-face interview is about whether or not you’ll fit in socially and culturally. Don’t be a salesperson about how great you are – it can make you sound desperate. The interviewer will decide whether you are the right person – you telling them that you are won’t convince them.

3. Stop thinking about it as an interview
Yes, we know it’s an interview, but try to think of it as just a meeting. A meeting is an exchange, you’re both asking and answering questions, as opposed to you being tested or put on the spot. If you think of an interview as a meeting, you’ll be less nervous and better able to answer questions more clearly and confidently, which is far more appealing to your interviewer.

4. Never assume the interviewer knows what you are talking about
This is particularly relevant for lawyers who are being interviewed by non-lawyers, which is often the case when it comes to in-house positions. Don’t assume that saying you’ve drafted many ‘convertible notes’ or that you are a ‘derivatives specialist’ means much (if anything) to the interviewer. However, take care to not be condescending either – no one likes a ‘know it all’. Try to not use jargon or overcomplicate things; be helpful and explain what your role entailed.

5. Review your CV before you walk in
We tend to think that we know our careers back to front, but an interviewer will want to know details. You’ll look unprofessional if you can’t remember the time period you worked at a particular firm, or the kind of work you did there. A quick refresh of your CV (and likely an update) can be incredibly worthwhile.

Emily McCarthy is a lawyer and HR manager at lexvoco

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Polishing up your interview skills
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Dec 15 2017
Timing ‘critical’ in unusual contempt of court ruling
A recent case could have interesting implications for contempt of court rulings, according to a Ferr...
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...