Top 5 Interview Tips

By Simon Playford, Deputy President of the QLS Future Leaders Committee and QLS Representative of the Law Council of Australia, Young Lawyer Committee

Image credit: Brooke Cagle

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Interview

You scored an interview – great work! Now, you might be thinking, 'what happens next?' or 'how do I prepare for the interview?'—all totally valid questions. Below are some helpful tips on how to best prepare for your upcoming interview!

Tip 1: Do your research

The interviewer will likely ask you some questions about the company, such as 'what do you know about the firm' or 'what made you choose the firm'. So, I recommend spending a solid amount of time researching the role and understanding the firm, its practice areas and the management or senior legal team you'd be working with. More importantly, it would help if you understood the firm's culture and values to ensure alignment with your own. For in-house interviews, it's much the same, but you're better to focus on understanding the business and its operations and check out any public reports or financial statements. In addition, you can check out employer review websites like Glassdoor to gain insight into others' experiences working at that business.

Tip 2: Have examples at the ready

The interviewer will likely ask you to reflect on your skills and interests in the law and your prior experience with legal matters. They may ask you some situational-based questions too. It took me a few (terrible) attempts to get these examples down pat. So, I recommend thinking about examples that fit the role description requirements or criteria to have up your sleeve when they ask you these questions. You will need to demonstrate your breadth of knowledge and experience and highlight your keen abilities to the interviewer. It's challenging to talk about yourself, so remember not to undersell yourself and your value – you're smart and awesome, remember that!

Tip 3: Answer honestly

Balancing not underselling your abilities and not overstating your actual capabilities is very difficult to manage. The interviewer may ask you about your experience with a particular type of contract or legal matter. If you're ever posed with questions about your skills and don't have an answer, avoid faking it. Try to focus on responding honestly and indicating your level of experience and abilities. There is nothing worse than starting a role after you've said you could do something but really can't. A tip when answering scenario-based questions where you don't have or can't think of any examples is to demonstrate how you would respond to the scenario if it occurs. For instance, answering with 'while I don't have any examples that spring to mind, I would approach the scenario as follows…'. This is an easy hack to help navigate mind-blanks.

Tip 4: Have questions

The interviewer will likely ask you whether you have any questions for them. I recommend that you prepare a few general questions ahead of the interview that touch on topics that are important to you or that will set you up for success in the role. My go-to questions are around the culture within the team, whether there are opportunities to be mentored and develop skills, and whether there is career progression in the role or within the firm or business. Interviews provide a platform for both the candidate and the interviewer to see if there is alignment. So, remember that it is your interview as much as the business or firm's.

Tip 5: Be kind to yourself

Applying for roles and preparing for interviews is a time-consuming process. You may become exhausted from the journey, and it's normal to be rejected. Remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process and when dealing with rejection. You are unique, and any firm or business would be so lucky to have you on their team. If you give every application and interview your best shot, you should be proud of the effort and the lessons you've learned to help prepare you for your next interview. 

So, there you have it! My five tips on how to best prepare yourself for your job interview! Of course, these tips are non-exhaustive but have been my key takeaways in recent times.