Paul Warburton

Interview Questions and how things have changed

Interviews – what to expect and how things have changed

Congratulations, you have secured an interview and are busy preparing for the day. If you are fortunate to have secured your interview through Think Legal then you will already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from your interview, its structure and details regarding the role you are interviewing for.

However, it can do no harm to look at some of the most common questions that arise. Typical questions asked at Interview:

Why are you looking to leave your current role?

There can be many different reasons but whatever they may be, it is always best not to be overly critical of your current employer and seek to emphasise the positives in any move e.g. new opportunity, new work or career progression etc.

Why are you looking to join us?

This approach has changed these days and firms are a lot more in sales mode when meeting rather than a dragon’s den style grilling. This will often be more a means to probe your preparation by asking “what do you know about us” – the answer to that often then provides a great footing to identify why the things you are looking for mirror what you know about the firm. As ever preparation is key.

What are your financials?

This kind of questions is starting to fade particularly so the more junior the role as junior lawyers don’t always have access to that kind of information. Often this general question will be phrased in a number of ways but is aimed at understanding your chargeable & billable time targets and how you have done against those targets. Such information is not the be all and end all for clients but is a good indicator of not just how you perform but also your awareness of them is a good indicator of your commercial awareness. Wherever you can, you should have some point of reference on figures or at the very least in terms of your own utilisation and productivity.

What is your involvement in business development?

As more and more law firms look to involve their people in creating and recognising opportunities, business development is an important facet to have. Provide examples or instances in which you have introduced work or developed networks or contacts (even if at a lower level as often those people with the partners/introducers of the future). Highlight any associations you are part of and any networks you are involved in.

Talk me through “x” on your CV

Less a question and more of a request, however, your CV is the initial portal to your experience, it is inevitable that your interviewers will want to expand on the experience you have highlighted. Know your CV inside and out.

Typical questions you may wish to ask:

Why are you looking?

Roles can emerge for any number of reasons but it is useful to understand why. Is it for growth or to replace someone that has left.

How is the team structured and where will I fit?

Work aside, getting the right combination of personalities is very important so you will want to know who you will be working for and you will want to make sure you get chance to meet them.

In modern times agile working can also mean you may have work on with a range of partners and offices so it is important to understand how that will work and how you will be supervised, resourced or supported.

What are the training and progression options with the role?

You will want to know how you will be supported professionally and also what the career progression prospects may be. It is not unreasonable, depending on your level of qualification, to ask what will be expected of you to progress to associate or legal director and what the timeframes may be.

You may find that all your questions are addressed by the interviewers as you go along but don’t be afraid to re-cap or seek additional clarification should you need it.

If you are interested in a confidential discussion about your career or opportunities please contact Paul Warburton at paulwarburton@thinklegalrecruitment.com.

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