As the jobs market continues to improve and more opportunities becoming available, many senior lawyers who have remained at the same firm for a number of years are considering moving roles. Are you weighing up the benefits that a new opportunity could offer, or potentially considering a new challenge offshore? We offer some interview guidance for more experienced professionals.
“While the jobs market was less stable more senior professionals stayed put in their current roles, so may not have interviewed in a number of years,” says Daniel Harris, Director at Robert Walters.
“As you’ll have a wealth of experience to discuss in your interview it is worth breaking your skills down into different categories to make it easier to discuss each in turn.”
As a senior lawyer you’ll have a couple of career success stories to help enhance your personal brand and qualifications, but it’s important not to sound arrogant. Practice your stories to ensure that your answers demonstrate a positive, proactive yet honest attitude to work. If asked questions that begin “Tell us about a time when you...”, use this as an opportunity to tell a success story. If you’re not asked a similar question, interject your story when it is appropriate, but try not to over-do it.
Have you evidently strived to achieve a standard of excellence throughout your career? If you have solid examples where you’ve used initiative at the appropriate time and have been persistent in pursuing goals this will paint you in a good light to your interviewer. Accurate self-assessment skills will allow you to be objective and critical in evaluating your strengths and weaknesses.
1. Can you recall a time when you acted over and above the expectations of your role?
2. How would you describe yourself?
Can you cope well in a crisis? Being able to positively react to an unexpected scenario will position you as a strong team player as well as a good leader. What’s your problem-solving style? Do you manage your activities to minimise or avoid them? How do you behave in a crisis?
As you’ll have a wealth of experience to discuss in your interview it is worth breaking your skills down into different categories.
1. Tell me about a significant crisis you have faced at work?
2. How do you resolve conflict in the groups or teams that you are a part of?
When joining a company at an executive level, it’s important to adapt to changes in work practices quickly and positively. How effectively do you manage or avoid stress?
1. Tell me about a time when you changed your priorities to meet others’ expectations?
2. Tell me about a time when you had to change your point of view or your plans to take into account new information or changing priorities?
Are you an active listener? Do you really listen and do you hear what is actually said? Are you able to read the non-verbal messages that others communicate? Do you communicate in an engaging and convincing way?
1. Describe a situation you were involved in that required a multi-dimensional communication strategy?
2. Give an example of a difficult or sensitive situation that required extensive communication?
You may have strong verbal skills but can you influence another person to change their thinking or take some action? Perhaps a colleague has followed your advice on an issue or a new client decides to buy a service or product. At management level do you have the skills to persuade and encourage rather than coerce and punish?
1. Tell me about a time when you were able to change someone’s view point significantly?
2. Tell me about a time when you were asked to do something that you disagreed with?
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