Preparing for an Interview - Part 3
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS – WHAT DO THEY REALLY MEAN
PART 3: Exploring your maturity and how you apply yourself
HOW HAVE YOU GROWN OR CHANGED OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS?
This is an opportunity to talk about how your interpersonal and communication relationships with colleagues and clients have evolved. It also gives you a chance to discuss how you are growing in your role; if you are feeling challenged or perhaps burned out or becoming disillusioned.
- If you are a new graduate or are newly qualified with very little experience, discussing gap year or other work experiences may be relevant.
- Any sort of role or work you can connect to the job you are discussing is relevant. For instance, if you are interviewing with a law firm with a benevolent, local-community approach and you have done work within the community - this may be what attracted you to this position.
- If you are an experienced lawyer 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.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE DIFFICULT PEOPLE, DEADLINES, SITUATIONS AND FRUSTRATIONS?
Interviewers like to know how you manage stress. This question is often asked towards the end of a long interview when you may be getting tired and feeling a level of strain.
When presented with a question with lots of specific references – deadlines, frustrations, difficult people etc – the temptation may be to start to provide a high level of detail. This it is a sign your concentration levels are slipping. Sit up straight, take a deep breath, smile and admit you may be going into unnecessary detail.
An example response could be:
- To answer the question more generally and discuss the traits needed to deal with a situation.
- Suggest diplomacy, perseverance, and common sense can often prevail even in difficult circumstances.
- Provide one example, give a specific answer and then wait and see if they want more information.
YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH A PARTICULAR PROBLEM AND HOW 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. Take time to pause and answer when you are ready.
Some suggestions to answering these questions are:
- Ask questions to get details. Break it down into simple parts.
- Summarise these as you go along as this will demonstrate your analytical, problem-solving approach.
- Once you have really looked at the problem in detail you should be able to come up with an answer.
- If you are stuck, explain why. Demonstrate what else you would do to try and solve the problem and who would you ask for help or to whom you would suggest outsourcing the problem.
Explore other interview questions:
Part 4: Are you right for this position?