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Telephone interview tips for legal locums

by Laura Smith | 18 June 2019

Legal locums are highly sought after during the summer months, as permanent employees take their annual holiday and the demand for temporary cover increases. As a result, many of our clients look for highly skilled locums that can come into their business and hit the ground running. Laura Smith, Manager and specialist legal recruiter at Sellick Partnership, gives her advice on how to impress during a telephone interview to give you the best chance of securing your next legal locum role.

Working as a professional legal locum provides a lot of benefits flexibility over the location of your work, more control over your rate, and the chance to build your skillset across a variety of sectors and businesses. Because locums often work away from home and are needed quickly, telephone interviews are a popular method of assessing the right locum for the role, and many legal candidates will be invited to start an assignment after a telephone interview and the vetting of successful references.

Here are some key pieces of advice for participating in a telephone interview to ensure you can successfully secure your next legal locum job:

  • Make sure you are in a quiet place. It sounds obvious, but if you are out and about, go and sit in your car or find a quiet spot because it is easy to be distracted whilst on the phone. Train stations, supermarkets and shopping malls are noisy and will be a challenging experience for you and the interviewer. If you are at home and there are others around you, find a quiet space where you will not be interrupted. If you are unable to be at home, why not choose a quiet corner of a coffee shop; that way you can still conduct the interview without being distracted.
  • Ensure you have got enough signal and battery charge. Make sure you have sufficient signal on your mobile phone. If you can avoid using it, even better! Have the call on a landline phone where it is far less likely that there will be issues with the connection. Also, ensure your landline phone and/or mobile have adequate battery power; landlines are often wireless and will need charging.
  • Keep cool under pressure. Time is limited but resist the temptation to talk too quickly. Be succinct and if you want to go into more detail, ask the interviewer if this is appropriate. If you have not fully understood a question, check with the interviewer to increase your understanding. This will give you more time to prepare an answer and prevent long silences over the phone.
  • Allow adequate time. Ensure that you set aside sufficient time for the interview. We have had experienced candidates who have needed to end calls prematurely due to other commitments, which does not give the best impression. Allow 45 minutes to an hour for the call to be on the safe side.
  • Dress professionally and smile. More and more interviewers are choosing to do telephone interviews via Skype or FaceTime, so dressing professionally is a must. That does not mean you have to wear a suit and tie, but make sure you look well-presented and are in a clean area of your house/office. However, even if an interviewer cannot see you, by smiling and wearing professional clothes, you will feel much more confident and this will come across to the interviewer. It is important to have good posture to assist with your sound quality, and some people find standing up helps them significantly.
  • Keep your CV in front of you. An obvious benefit of telephone interviews is the ability to review your CV whilst speaking to the interviewer. Consider keeping your CV by the phone so you are able to quickly switch into interview mode, ease into the call and help you provide relevant examples to the interview questions. This will also help to ensure that you can demonstrate your experience, and that you can confidently explain your job history and any gaps in your career.
  • Prepare your own questions. At the end of the interview, consider asking one or two questions that have not been brought up, or that you want clarification on. Think about these points beforehand and, if necessary, write them down. You should have researched the organisation prior to the call and be able to demonstrate your knowledge of both the company and the interviewer. Bring a notepad and pen to write down any points you want to come back to later, and always ask questions if you are unsure of anything they have asked you throughout the interview.

For more advice on how you can become a successful legal locum, or advice and news from our legal recruitment team, head over to the insights section of our website.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with me or a member of the legal recruitment team to discuss your needs, or view our latest legal jobs here.