Nov 23, 2018

Written By Jan Hill

Qualified law interview coming up? 7 tips to help you seal the deal

Nov 23, 2018

Written By Jan Hill

You’ve finally sufficiently impressed some graduate recruiters with your application for a qualified position, but your job isn't quite done: you’ve still actually got to get the contract. Don’t let a bout with nerves or lack of preparation ruin your chances.

1. Stay flexible

The two most popular legal specialisms in the UK continue to be commercial litigation and corporate law. To increase your chances, look outside these competitive areas and consider other areas of law, such as general commercial litigation and regulatory litigation, which are generally less competitive but will give you strong skills that will transfer into the corporate area when the time comes. You should also know that the legal sector is no longer focused solely on London – other hubs, such as Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Leeds, also offer excellent work at top-level firms.

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2. Pre-interview preparation is key

You’ve worked hard to get this far, so don’t let up now. The night before the interview, thoroughly read through your application, CV and covering letter – you’ll almost certainly be asked questions about the content. Make sure you have some new examples in mind to expand on the content you’ve already written. Also familiarise yourself with the route to the interview or assessment centre, and give yourself plenty of time for travel on the day of the interview.

3. Your interview begins when you walk through the door

Always assume that you’re being evaluated from the moment you walk through the doors of the firm until you leave the building, because it’s very likely that you are. Be confident, positive and polite to everyone you meet – the receptionist, trainees, lawyers and partners – to make a lasting good impression on as many people as possible.

4. Be conscious of your body language

Actions speak louder than words, and your body language should always give an outward impression of calm and composure, even when you’re confronted with a challenging question. Deliver your responses in a professional manner, avoiding one-word answers and rambling life stories. Your interviewer will be looking for someone who communicates clearly, maintains eye contact and looks engaged throughout the interview.

5. Remember the little things

Although they may not seem that important, little things like a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview, nervous habits like saying ‘um’ too often, and your appearance will add up to how you are perceived overall. Another little thing sometimes overlooked by those being interviewed is their ability to talk about something other than law. Questions that seemingly have nothing to do with the job are often used to test your ability to think on your feet, the quality of your clarifying questions and as a way to find out more about you as a person.

6. Ask some questions of your own

Near the end of the interview, your interviewer might ask you whether you have any questions for him. Coming prepared with a few questions of your own or be ready to add a follow-up question to something that came up during the interview. This will make a good impression, demonstrate that you took time to prepare for the interview and show that you paid attention as it progressed.

7. Don’t forget to smile

As stressful and tenuous as a qualified law interview can be, try to remember to smile, at least once in a while. It will help you relax, stand out from the crowd, build a positive rapport with the interviewers and hopefully land the position you are interviewing for.

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