What is the best way to prepare for an interview?

Written by Libby Mizrahi– Recruitment Consultant (Legal Professional) Melbourne VIC

Let’s face it, job interviews can be daunting. Usually however, we find that the anxiety we create in our minds around an upcoming interview, is a lot worse than the interview itself.   In fact, amongst most of the lawyers that I work with, those that are most apprehensive pre- interview, are equally as surprised post interview, with how well the interview proceeded. Conversely, some of the most confident lawyers are actually underprepared for interview and perform badly.

Interviews, like a lot of other things in life, are as scary as we make them. The more prepared you are going in, the better the result. For most of us, we need to look at the interview process in a new way. We need to reframe the way we perceive the interview as a chance to demonstrate or sell our unique and high level skills and experience. That’s where it can get exciting.  It’s a chance to paint of a picture of the type of person we are, discus what motivates and drives us, what we enjoy in our work, what we are passionate about and where we want to take our careers. Once we reconsider the process within this paradigm, most of that tension and anxiety dissipates and we can concentrate on the positive aspects of the process.

The number one, hands down best advice I can give as a recruiter is to BE PREPARED for the interview.  Hell, be over prepared, it will be a lot of easier pick and choose what you want to share in interview,  than to have to struggle and stammer through what may feel like an interrogation.

This includes:

  • Research the firm, partners and team

I encourage the lawyers I work with to use me as a resource. My job is to provide as much relevant info as I can on my client. This info has been gained over some 15 years and is invaluable. Lawyers should do their own research as well, scour the internet / LinkedIn and know your audience well ahead of time. You will need to know exactly why you want to work with this firm/ team.

  • Know your CV inside out and be able to sell your skills, abilities and experiences.

You need to know very convincingly how you could contribute to the firm. You need to be armed with examples of matters you have worked on and highlight of your career to date.

  • Be armed and ready to ask relevant questions.

It’s just as important to remember that the interview is also an opportunity for you to find out about the firm.

  • Don’t stress if it doesn’t work out.

If things don’t go to plan, learn from the experience and move on. Focus on doing better next time round.



That is easy to say and not so easy to do, but you can do it. Your brain is recognising this experience as stressful situation and activating the stress response, which means that your heart rate increases and your breathing rate increases.  It is vital to take long slow deep breaths to slow both your breathing and heart rate, and you will relax.

What to Bring With You

Bring originals of any documents attached to your CV- academic record, references, etc.  Also bring a positive attitude and your best manners.  Greet the receptionist.  Stand up when people come out to greet you. Shake hands (firm but not bone crushing).  Use people’s names.  Say thank you at the end of the interview.  And bring a notebook and pen.

What not to bring with you

Do not chew gum, smoke, have your mobile phone turned on, or bring a cup of coffee in with you.  See the reference to manners above!


Back to point one – relax.  Smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, will relax you and will help you engage with the interviewers.

Listen carefully and make eye contact

Concentrate on the questions being asked, so you can give your best answer. If there are two or more people in the room, don’t just answer the question to the person who asked it.  Make eye contact each time you answer a question, with everyone in the room.

Ask your own questions

In your preparation for the interview, you will have prepared some questions about the organisation or the role.  Ask questions.  This will show that you have done your research and taken an interest in the organisation.

TOP TIPS FOR INTERVIEW PREPARATION – Part 1 – Before the Interview

So you’ve had the call and you have an interview for the job you’ve applied for.  Here are our top tips for preparing for the interview and giving it your absolute best:

Read the job ad and match your skills

Read the advertisement again and be prepared to answer questions about the particulars of the job and how your skills might match up.  Think about the skills you have or things you have learned along the way that will work for this job so that you can highlight them in the interview.

Know the organisation

Have you done your research on the organisation and the person you might be working for?  Look up the organisation and find out as much as you can.  Look up the people you might be working for (if you know the names) on LinkedIn.  Prepare some questions to ask at the interview.

Call to confirm

Call to confirm the details of the time and place, and find out the names of the people interviewing so you can use their names during the interview.

Make sure you know where you are going

Work out where the interview is and how long it will take to get there. Allow extra time just in case.  Being late is not a good sign.  Make sure you have the phone number with you in case of unforeseen circumstances so you can call and explain.

Decide what to wear

Don’t leave it to the last minute to find out that  your shirt needs ironing or your best skirt  or trousers need dry cleaning.  Work out what to wear ahead of time to give the best impression.  And that goes for shoes too – make sure they are clean.