Preparing for an Interview - Part 3
HAVE YOU GROWN OR CHANGED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS?
Are you still growing into your role? Will you continue to develop? Or, are you burned out, on a downwards trajectory or becoming disillusioned and cynical?
This is an opportunity to talk about how your people skills – colleagues and clients - have evolved.
- If you are a new graduate or newly qualified with very little experience, but your gap year is still relatively fresh in your memory, this is where you can talk about that. If you have taken on any sort of legal advice work or Maintain your focus on the job for which you are interviewing. For instance, if you are interviewing with a law firm which has a benevolent, local-community approach, and you have done lots of work within the community, this might be the main reason you have applied for this role, and this is the perfect opportunity to remind them of that fact.
- On the other hand, you might be a very experienced lawyer who is hoping to move into a senior management role. This is an opportunity to discuss ways in which you have learned to get the best out of people and motivate your team.
The interviewer here will be looking to see if you are showing signs of burn-out. This is a good opportunity to discuss how you manage stress. Address the point in detail and head-on and get it off the table.
DEADLINES, FRUSTRATIONS, DIFFICULT PEOPLE AND SILLY RULES CAN MAKE A JOB DIFFICULT. HOW DO YOU HANDLE THESE TYPES OF SITUATIONS?
The real question – how do you handle stress?
- The stress question! It serves two purposes. How do you say you manage stress - time management, people management and faceless "corporate" management? And how do you actually manage stress? This question is often asked towards the end of a long interview when you have been challenged, are nervous and are getting tired – in short, when you are stressed!
- When you are given a question with a lot of specifics – deadlines, frustrations, difficult people - there can be a terrible compulsion to address each element "like for like”. If you do, you run the risk of going rambling off, tying yourself in knots and forgetting the point of what you were saying. If you find you are doing that, it is a sign your concentration levels are slipping. Sit up straight, take a deep breath, smile, and admit you were rambling!
A "general" answer is that diplomacy, perseverance, and common sense can often prevail even in difficult circumstances. But, like all the other topics here, the real key to it is to focus on one example, give a specific answer and then wait and see if they are sadistic enough to ask you the question again.
ONE OF OUR BIGGEST PROBLEMS IS…. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS? HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH IT?
This is testing your advocacy skills - the ability to think on your feet, problem solve and give a clear and coherent answer. If you aren't confident in answering immediately - don't!
- Ask questions to get details. Break it down into simple parts. If you want to summarise these as you go along (like showing the workings in a maths problem) – do! It will demonstrate your analytical, problem-solving approach. Once you’ve really looked at the problem in detail you should be able to come up with an answer.
- If you are really stuck, explain why - show them what else you would do to try and solve the problem – who would you ask for help? Is this something that would need to be outsourced to some sort of specialist agency or consultancy?