The Legal Interview Example Questions

It’s difficult to predict what questions will be asked by employers at a given interview. They often change depending on the role, the interviewers, the lawyer and on the day itself. One of the reasons that lawyers choose to apply to roles through us is that we can provide insight into, and advice about, the likely format of each interview. We take care to ensure that none of our lawyers are caught by surprise.

As a guide you should be thoroughly prepared to speak at length about:

  • Your current role
  • Your legal skills
  • Your actual legal experience
  • The areas of law relevant to the employer
  • The market relevant to the employer
  • Why you are leaving your current employer or left past employers
  • Anything written on your CV
  • Your academics and subjects studied
  • Your goals in the short and long term
  • Your past employers
  • Your management skills
  • Your interpersonal skills
  • Your personality
  • Your marketing and client skills
  • Your commerciality
  • Your salary expectations and any restraints
  • Your current budget and performance against budget
  • Your referees
  • Your interests outside work
  • Specific opportunities you foresee working for the employer
  • Your work habits
  • Strengths on your CV
  • Weaknesses on your CV
  • Business plans you would like to make known to them or explore
  • Your notice period

You should also want to know about the employer’s:

  • Current business plans
  • Budgets
  • Clients
  • Fields of expertise
  • Culture
  • Management style
  • Future opportunities
  • Long term plans
  • Team structure and organisation
  • Attitude to further education or training
  • Leaders and key people

If you have thought through most of the issues listed above you will find that you are in a good position to answer questions likely to arise at an interview.

While lawyers and most interviewers ask simple questions focusing on the issues above, you will also need to ensure that you are not taken aback when asked “behavioural based questions” by an HRM. These are questions that aim to predict your future behaviour in situations by assessing your reactions in past or hypothetical situations. These questions usually take that format of:

Can you tell me about a situation where you were put under extreme stress. What happened to cause the stress? How did you deal with the stress? How did the situation resolve?

To answer a behavioural question like the one above, you will need to think of an appropriate situation that fits the scenario, explain what happened and what steps you took to manage the stress and how it resolved. Give your answer logically and don’t be too concerned if it takes time to come up with an example. Most importantly, make sure that your example demonstrates your effectiveness in the situation.

Other areas that often arise in similar form relate to the following behaviours;

  • Organisational skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Public speaking/advocacy
  • Leadership
  • Conflict
  • Pressure
  • Time management
  • Dealing with subordinates/superiors

While graduates and junior lawyers are often faced with a series of such questions, senior lawyers may be asked them as well. In our experience of conducting interviews, however, it’s the senior lawyers who answer such questions the worst! So, take time to consider what your strengths and negatives are and feel free to ask our consultants to suggest what likely questions may arise with respect to your past experience and CV.

It’s important to bear in mind that the truth is always the best starting point when responding to such questions! Conversely, if you try to be someone you’re not, the employer will likely pick up on it. Essentially the employer is trying to get to know the real you before making a decision on whether to hire you.

The best advice we can give is that you be yourself in an interview, prepare thoroughly and relax for it. While the lead up to an interview can be stressful and particularly busy, the actual interviews are usually friendly, relatively informal and enjoyable for most lawyers.

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