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How to successfully prepare for an interview

Posted by
20 Jan 2016
Picture the scene; your CV is glowing after hours of editing, you have applied for your dream role and the internal recruiter calls you up and invites you for your first stage interview. What is your next move?

Before the interview:
  • Internet search the office location and carefully plan your route taking into account external events such as traffic and public transport delays
  • Research the company – make a note of key facts, figures and notable people and memorise it 
  • If the company is difficult to find on the internet are there any articles about them? 
  • Plan your day accordingly – the interview may take a long time try and avoid double booking yourself 
  • Be as flexible as you can with your time – this is mostly easier said than done getting the time off can be tricky but try and make the effort to be flexible 
  • Practice your answers to the most common interview questions – there is a list on our website 
  • Practice any role playing you think might be involved – role play is becoming a popular interview technique and gives your interviewer a realistic view of how you are going to pick up any new skills/how good your current skills are
  • Be prepared for odd questions the worst one I had was (not at Sellick Partnership): If you could describe yourself as an animal what animal would it be and why? – these questions are more to test your on the spot reactions and to see a bit more of your personality 
  • Have your questions about the company ready
  • Make sure your suit is clean and presentable and make yourself look as “normal” as possible
  • Check in with your recruiter – they will prepare you and make sure that you are ready before you go in.

During the interview

  • Get to the interview location no more or less than 10 minutes early
  • Be courteous to the person who greets you – they will feedback to the interviewer your attitude towards them 
  • Body language is key – sit up straight, look keen, keep eye contact, appear confident, use open body language and smile
  • Answer the question that is being asked - try not to go off an tangent
  • Try and show a bit of your personality – we all have an interview personality but it’s the person behind that we want to see
  • Complete any task to the best of your ability
  • Do not be afraid to ask your interviewer to repeat anything you are unsure of
  • Listen to the answer they give you when you give your already prepared questions.

After the interview

  • Remember that you are in that interview until you leave the building
  • Reflect on the answers you gave and the questions they asked – did you really do the best you could have done
  • Ask yourself “if they offered me the role would I take it?” – if the answer is no have your reasons ready 
  • Call your recruiter – they will want to know your thoughts and gain feedback on your interview.

So there you have it, it might not secure you the job but at least by following this list you will have at least a fighting chance of a successful interview. Remember that just because you may not have got the role does not mean that the interview was not successful there are other factors at play and with each interview your technique will improve. Good Luck!

If you would like further tips on how to perfect your interview technique, check out our candidate resources page. Alternatively sign up for our newsletter for the latest legal industry updates…
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