Newly qualified interview: What questions to expect and to ask
You’ve earned the degree, you’ve completed the LPC or BPTC and you’re ready to start the career you’ve been working towards. But that’s not the end of the story. After securing some interviews, you’ll need to prepare well to ensure you’re presented at your best.
What made you apply to this firm?
This question is common and it’s a way for the interviewer to determine whether you’re seeking a job anywhere you can get it or whether you truly have an interest in the firm. Have a cogent answer ready by undertaking some research and getting to know as much as possible about the company.
What was your favourite course at university?
A variation of this question can be ‘Which course did you do best at?’, which gives the interviewer an idea of where your strengths lie. It can also demonstrate your enthusiasm for the given subject. Make sure that you prepare an answer that outlines the reason why you liked the course and what you achieved from studying it.
Describe a scenario when you have shown leadership/innovation/problem-solving skills
A number of different skills can be demonstrated with this question, such as the extent of your experience, your ability to work as part of a team, critical-thinking ability and ability to take charge. In this situation, briefly provide the context of the situation before answering in earnest. Explain the action you took and the result.
Describe an issue that’s currently affecting the legal industry
This will be a way for the interviewer to determine whether you’re keeping up to date with current affairs in relation to the law, and with any issues that a legal firm would have to contend with. Think back to the last legal news story you recall reading/seeing and re-tell this. You should also be prepared to confirm your opinion on the issue in case you’re asked.
What legal work experience do you have?
Even if you’ve outlined details of your work experience in your CV, you may still get asked this question. Confirm your most recent experience first and outline what you learned.
What qualities do you think a good solicitor needs to possess?
Think about a solicitor’s typical day and all the qualities they’ll need to do their job well. For example, a good solicitor will have to be diligent with their workload, be able to prioritise, be able to communicate with people from all walks of life, etc.
Take care with this question as your answers can be linked back to what you’ve previously said, which may give the interviewer the opportunity to trip you up and question your suitability for the role. Try to keep you cool should this occur, as it could also be a test to see if you get flustered.
What book are you currently reading?
Sometimes you may get asked a question that seems to come completely out of left field, but it has a purpose. Not only does this show your tastes, it shows you have an interest on literature and will enable you to demonstrate that you can relay details well when you are asked to explain the premise of the book. If you are not currently reading a book, think about the last one you read.
Do you have any questions?
The answer should always be ‘yes’. Use what you know about the firm to ask questions about it, such as whether the position arose because of expansion. If being interviewed by a partner, ask about their route to partnership and their experience.