How to Handle Interview Questions Like a Pro
Posted by Mark Bailey
While the following list isn’t exhaustive, it will serve as a good starting point when it comes to the kinds of questions you will more than likely be asked in an interview. Where possible, we will always advise you as to what questions may arise before your interview. 1. What do you know about us? While this may seem like a simple question, the number of people we speak to on a regular basis who are unable to answer this will surprise you. Do your research. A great way to answer is to give a very brief overview of the area they specialise in and, how the legal team or particular department fits into the company or firm’s plans. If you have researched the interviewers you are meeting, you can tailor your answers to focus on their expertise and experience. 2. Why are you interested in us? While you may have answered what the company does, do not confuse this with why you’re interested in them. Employers want to understand what it is about their organisation specifically that appeals to you. Simply telling them you are interested in the sectors they are involved in, for example, is not going far enough. What is it about this company or firm that sits apart from their competition? A great way to show interest in a potential employer is to relate your interest in the work they do back to your work history and personal experience. 3. Why are you looking to leave? Be honest. While it is never wise to be overly-negative towards your current employer, if there are certain things you’re not happy with, you need to ensure you don’t end up in the exact same situation in your next role. Most negatives when phrased correctly can be framed as a positive. For example, if you’re unhappy because you haven’t had a promotion in several years, a much better way to answer this is to discuss the lack of opportunity for you in your current job to develop and take on more responsibilities. 4. Where else are you interviewing? Most people will ask simply to get a better understanding as to what timescales you’re working to. If you’re interviewing at several places, it’s better to keep all parties involved on the same page; it gives each organisation a fair opportunity to complete their process with you in a particular timescale. Furthermore, if and when an organisation misses out on hiring you, as long as you were honest throughout the process, you may well have the opportunity to revisit the role/organisation in the future should the chance arise. 5. Does your current employer know that you are looking? In the majority of cases, this is likely to be a no. However there are a number of reasons a current employer may well know this; the most common reasons tend to be due to a change in role, lack of opportunity for progression, an office move, the need for a new challenge if one cannot be offered or redundancy. If you are able to have a conversation with your employer, that’s great - if it’s a positive conversation at least you will know you are leaving for the right reasons. Potential employers will be impressed by such a positive conversation with your current employer, so do not be put off discussing this in an interview if the circumstances around it can be seen in a positive light. 6. What questions do you have for us? Ensure you have paid enough attention during the interview to ask related questions about the role and organisation. Having done your research beforehand, if you feel something has not been covered in the interview, ask for clarification. As well as the interviewers testing you, this meeting is your chance to discuss your responsibilities, the wider team and culture of the organisation, so make sure you leave the meeting with a good understanding of this. Matters to avoid are questions about salary, working hours, perks and a breakdown of the benefits package. While they all play into our decision making, you do not want to distract from the reason you’re sat there. These conversations can be had via your recruitment consultant and the HR department. Always make sure you have asked enough questions to know how you would feel if they were to offer you the job. Here at Pro-Legal, our consultants have a great deal of experience preparing candidates for interviews, therefore if you would like a confidential discussion on any of the points raised above or the market generally, do please get in touch.