May 02, 2019

Written By Becky Kells, Editor, AllAboutLaw

Preparing for your NQ interview

May 02, 2019

Written By Becky Kells, Editor, AllAboutLaw

Exciting times - you’ve been invited to interview for an NQ position at a firm! Once you’ve got over the initial celebratory period, you’ll need to do a bit of prep to ensure that you’re ready for the interview. If you’re just about to finish your training contract, it might be that you’ve not done an interview for a while - and interviews at qualified level are a different ball game to training contract interviews. Here’s everything you need to do in prep for the interview.

Know your CV inside out

You should review your CV before every new interview, checking that you’re able to talk about each point you’ve mentioned in extensive detail. If you’ve written about the type of work you’ve done as part of each seat, make sure you can talk in detail about specific seats, including moments where you took on responsibility as well as instances where you brought about a positive outcome. You’re never going to be able to predict exactly what questions the interviewer will ask, or which parts of the CV they will choose to ask about - but you can still prepare by making sure you know your CV inside out, and can make links between achievements you’ve mentioned in your CV, and skills you will need for the role.

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Research the firm and the opportunity

Without a strong understanding of how the firm you’re interviewing at operates - their ethos, values, specialisms and strengths - you stand little chance of making it past the interview stage. Do some research into the firm, and in particular into the department of your potential job. How do the values of the firm reflect your own? What appeals to you about the way your chosen department operates? As much as the interviewer wants to know about you, they also want to see that you’ve done your research and figured out a thing or two about them. A good way to get this across is by asking questions - a must for any interview - about the firm’s ethos. It’s a way to show existing awareness, as well as to show a desire to build on that awareness.

Check what the interview itself will involve

This will vary from firm to firm - unlike with training contracts, there is no standard way for law firms to hold interviews for NQ positions. It’s important to check logistical information like the time of the interview and the estimated length, but you should also check all correspondence you’ve received about the interview. Will you be required to complete psychometric tests - and do you do these on the day, or in advance? Is the interview going to be an assessment day, with group elements? Will you need to book an entire day off work, or just a half day? Getting these sort of details straight in your mind is a good idea - it means you’ll be less stressed once the day arrives.

Consider a mock interview

If you’ve been out of practice for a while when it comes to interviews, it might be worth having a mock interview. You could do this with a trusted mentor or senior colleague (preferably someone with interviewer experience) at your current firm. You could also do an external interview with a recruiter or agency, but be aware that you may have to pay if that is the case.

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