I keep coming across LinkedIn and Twitter ‘Top 5’ this and ‘8 ways to’ do that so I thought I would try one of my own in relation to interview advice.
I have worked in recruitment for more years than I care to repeat here and even as interview techniques, technology and economics have changed I find there are certain pieces of advice to interviewees that remained the same over those years.
This should be a no-brainer and you should always gather as much information about the company/firm and role as possible, but it is surprising how unimaginative people are with that research even in this age of information overload. Checking out the company website and the job description should be the bare minimum. Find out what else the internet and industry publications have to tell you. Have they been making headlines, sponsoring events or launching new products or services?
If you are meeting partners check them out on LinkedIn and read some of the articles they have written recently. This will give you a great insight into what they are interested in even within their own discipline. Ask around as well. The legal profession is tightknit and there are often only a couple of degrees of separation. Anecdotal knowledge is often more useful than the official party line.
2. Do your homework on yourself
Obviously you should know your CV back-to-front and be prepared to answer questions on any aspect of the professional or personal experience you have included. But once again it goes further than that.
Think about your strengths and the characteristics that you want to get across to your interviewer. Even the best CV is often quite dry and it is hard to demonstrate how hard you work, how diligent you are or what you are passionate about, for example. A useful exercise is to think of five things you want the interviewer/s to know about you when you leave the room that they didn’t know when you first walked in the door. Then think of examples to back them up.
For example you may be particularly good at dealing with the thorniest clients, so make sure you can quickly recall an example of when you have successfully turned a difficult situation around.
You will be surprised how easy it is to draw these stories and examples in to your meeting. It will also help you feel confident and prepared.
3. Be yourself
Too often candidates build a picture in their own mind of who the role will go to, but it is important not to try and fit into a pre-conceived pigeon-hole if that is not who you genuinely are. Not only are they likely to see straight through the pretence, but more importantly you don’t want to land in a role that doesn’t suit you and where you don’t feel able to be yourself.
My final piece of advice is to address the nerves that naturally go with an interview, particularly when it is for a ‘dream role’. It helps to remember that when a company/firm is recruiting it means they have a problem they are hoping to solve. The problem is an often costly gap in the team and when you walk through the door for that interview they are praying you are the person who will fill that gap for them and be the solution to the problem.
I hope that is useful and best of luck with getting the job offer you want!