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Interviewing for a legal locum position can be different to attending an interview for a permanent vacancy. Our clients often need legal locums at very short notice so the recruitment process can be short and intense with legal teams often requiring quick turnarounds and alternative interview styles such as telephone or Skype. Legal locum candidates therefore need to be prepared for every eventuality.
Here are our top tips for preparing and performing well during an interview for a legal locum job.
Legal locums are highly sought after throughout the year, generally covering for increased absences around peak times, higher workloads and periods of legislative or business change. As a result, many of our clients look for highly skilled locums that can come into their business and hit the ground running. It is therefore essential that you are able to convey your skills and impress at every locum interview you attend.
Interview tips for legal locums
Be prepared for a quick turnaround: speed is always important when you are trying to secure a legal locum job. Our clients generally want locums to start ASAP so will need to interview very quickly. It is therefore beneficial to have some time set aside that you can be available to interview, be that face-to-face or over the phone. If you are not able to interview quickly, you run the risk of the client choosing an alternative candidate.
Ensure you have a copy of your CV close to hand: as a legal locum you will likely have a vast employment history that the client will want to know more about so it is important you do not forget any important details. You might therefore want to consider keeping your CV by the phone or taking a copy into the interview with you to help you provide relevant examples to questions the interviewer might ask you. 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.
Keep cool under pressure: time is limited, but you need to 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 or in the room.
Telephone and video interview tips for legal locums
Our clients often need legal locums to start assignments quickly, sometimes within a matter of days so face-to-face interviews are not always an option. As a result our clients are increasingly using both telephone and video interviewing as a quick and effective alternative, so we regularly advise our locum candidates on how to deliver a successful interview via Skype or on the telephone.
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.
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.
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.