As I completed my two years stint at a law firm right after law school, I started contemplating a move to another litigation firm. I shared this with a friend to which she said “finding and switching to a new place is in itself a job”, will you be able to do two jobs together? I did not understand what she meant until I started looking for a new place to work.
I applied to various places and got the opportunity to give interviews to highly accomplished individuals including Delhi High Court Judges, famous criminal lawyers, and law firm partners. Every experience was unique and distinct. Each interview was unique, and the focus varied from one interviewer to another. Some valued knowledge, others attitude, and a few were simply looking for obedient assistants.
I understand that interviews can be a daunting and exhausting experience and a few can be fun, but with the right preparation, you can increase your chances of impressing the interviewer and grabbing the job. Here are some tips that I have learned from my experience.
RESEARCH ABOUT THE PLACE/FIRM/COMPANY
Do thorough research about the place you’re interviewing with. Read major sections of their website, social media profiles (LinkedIn), and any recent news articles about them. Try connecting with people already working there and get to know about the place and people. This will help you understand their values, mission, and culture, and prepare thoughtful questions to ask during the interview. I personally thoroughly read the website, and LinkedIn profiles of partners and go through their interviews available on Youtube.
PRACTICE YOUR RESPONSES AND REVISE YOUR CV THOROUGHLY
Practice answering common interview questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Whenever the first question is thrown at you, it is a golden opportunity to decide the direction of your interview. Start with all the things you are good at or the things you want to talk about. Personally, I start ‘about myself’ with finance, market investments, and travel. It gives leverage to give a good impression. It diverts the initial discussion of 5-10 mins on your strong areas. You must prepare for behavioral questions by thinking of examples from your past experiences that demonstrate your skills and abilities. Never underestimate the power of revising your CV. One must be thorough with all the points mentioned in the CV. The technical and knowledge testing questions in the interview are based on what is written in the CV and it is least expected from the candidate that she must be aware of what is written in their CV.
Please get a well-fitted and comfortable suit or formal attire for the interview purpose. Comfortable clothes that fit well can give you a confidence boost that will show in your body language. Dress appropriately for the job you’re interviewing for, as your attire can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer. Well-fitted and comfortable clothes fill you with confidence that can be easily observed in your body language. For example, my friend got a job offer while he was interning at a big law firm. He made sure to wear sharp and well-fitted clothes. Though he was good at his studies and was punctual, his dress style made a huge impact. He was able to impress the partner with his looks and got the job without going through the recruitment process.
BE ON TIME
No matter which profession, punctuality takes you a long way and everyone appreciates this quality. It signifies that you are reliable and respectful of the interviewer and your time. So, plan accordingly to arrive early for your interview. Despite your best efforts, if you are still running late, make sure to drop an email to the interviewer and seek accommodation from him.
SHOW ENTHUSIASM AND CARRY A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
Carry a genuine smile and enthusiasm on your body for the position and the company during the interview. Speak positively about the things you know about the company and express your eagerness to contribute to their progress. Pay close attention to your body language during the interview. Sit up straight, shoulders back, make eye contact, and smile. This will show that you are confident, engaged, and interested in the conversation.
ASK YOUR QUESTIONS AND FOLLOW UP AFTER THE INTERVIEW
When you are given an opportunity to ask questions regarding the company, ask all the relevant questions such as the firm’s expectations from you, working environment, timings, and firm policy regarding holidays, etc. After the interview, send a thank-you email or note to the interviewer. This will show that you appreciate their time and are still interested in the position. Don’t send this email if you do not want to join the place.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but with the right preparation, you can walk in feeling confident and ready to impress. By researching the company, practicing your responses, dressing professionally, being on time, showing enthusiasm, paying attention to your body language, and following up after the interview, you’ll be well on your way to acing your next interview. Good luck!